The McLennan Arch looks a most likely venue to host the riders start ramp for the cycling time trial of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. This Glasgow Green landmark will provide an atmospheric launch site for the riders as they tackle the unexpected course, it could also provide a little shelter if we get some ‘unseasonal’ rain in Glasgow in late July.
31st July is the date, with riders competing between 10am & 3:30pm to avoid any clash with rush hour, on what are normally some very busy roads. The official route hasn’t been confirmed yet, but if you click on the map you’ll see a PDF file that’s been lurking on the Scottish Government site for some time.
1. The Start & False Flat (to km7)
On leaving Glasgow Green, the riders will turn right onto the Saltmarket, passing Billy Bilsland’s bike shop on the left, which will be doing good business that day. We head north to meet the Gallowgate at Glasgow Cross, a stones throw away from one of Glasgow’s main shopping roads, Argyle Street. Heading east along the Gallowgate until a left turn just before the Forge Shopping Centre, then it’s north over Duke Street & onto Cumbernauld Road, where the riders should be able to start settling down into a rhythm. This takes us onto the boulevard of the old A80, which is slightly uphill all the way, could fool a few riders as it looks like a big fast road. As we cross over the M8 & reach Hogganfield Loch the most likely scenario is to take a sharp left turn onto Royston road.
The course will have been steadily rising to this point, from a start at sea level, we’re now at the highest point of the course after only 7km, peaking around 100m. So hardly a flat TT for these guys, which may rule out riders such as Michael Hutchison from a medal & allow the World Tour riders to shine. It will guarantee a fast finish. The road previous to the sharp left we just negotiated is mostly covered on the return stretch, there are some long fast shallow descents back into Glasgow Green. A rider could easily blow themselves to pieces on this initial sector of the TT, it will require a measured ride & a curtailment on the big event enthusiasm for some.
2. The Lumpy North Segment (to km17.5)
Following Robroyston road round, we eventually come to a big roundabout, with a hopefully well traffic controlled large Asda. The road rolls past housing estates & into open countryside for the next few km’s, with views over the Campsie Fells to the left through your visor. This is quite a sticky up-and-down road, still not ideal for the big gear testers, you can expect plenty of retired clubmen to be on these small slopes, enjoying a Thursday out on the bike with their pals & watching a great event unfold in front of them.
The sweeping bends & small inclines lead the way to suburban Lenzie, where we take a left turn, followed closely by a right turn onto the fast Lindsaybeg Road section. Which takes us up to the additional segment I expect only the men to ride.
3. Men Only Segment (to km24.5)
On a small rise, we turn left onto an uncategorised road called Burnbrae Road, this is a sudden change for the riders, we move from wide fast roads, to technical single track farm roads. This is getting quite interesting now. I’m assuming that the different distances the men & women ride will be decided by the inclusion of this segment for the mens TT only.
This section consists of some short, but relatively steep (for a TT) inclines, guaranteed to steal some strength from the legs. If I managed to avoid work that day, I’d watch the men’s event on this section, preferably on the steepest sections, you’re sure to witness some pain.
As we continue & skirt Moodiesburn, the roads return to the wider, more open roads we saw on segment 2. The terrain hasn’t stopped rolling yet, it’s still a hard time trial. We detour through Chryston & then head north again to reach the point we originally turned left onto the segment.
4. The Stepps (to km28.5 for men, to km21.5 for women)
We turn left onto a smaller road again, this is more of what we’re used to so far, rolling hills & lots of changes in direction. The wind may become an issue for pacing strategy, there really is very little consistency of direction, which should create a worthy winner, this is a proper time trial. We speed towards Stepps & the A80 once more, to return at ‘full gas’ to Glasgow for the finale.
5. Big Gear to Glasgow (to km 38.5km for men, to km31.5km for women)
This is where you’ll be hanging onto to the biggest gear your legs will manage, all the way to Glasgow along Cumbernauld Road & following the same route we climbed on the way out to Hogganfield Loch in segment 1.
This is going to be a very fast final segment, when we return on The Gallowgate in the city centre, we detour from our original route & turn left onto Moir Street, then onto London Road. This takes us into Glasgow Green, past the Peoples Palace & to the finish. I’m assuming we’re using the same finish as the road race (& last years British Champs) as it will be ‘dressed’ for the event anyway.
The Gist Of It
This is a very interesting course, not what we would have expected, especially since what was imagined to be the trial-run was near Stewarton last year. The road is constantly changing gradient & direction, there’s a really good mix of different types of roads. While the road race course showboats Glasgow landmarks, the time trial course shows a different side, it looks to have been decided more on sporting terms than blatant marketing. It’s a bold move, but to me, it looks like a very good choice, viewers around the world watching the events will get their glimpse of the mountains from afar, it could be good TV. I’m giving this a thumbs-up, although, I don’t really know if it’s the real course, we should find out in the near future, but it looks highly likely.
What’s certain is that a UK style motorway tester won’t win this, it looks like a route for a World Tour style rider. I’ll put my neck on the line here & go for a podium of Scotland, Wales & Australia. I’ve got a feeling David Millar & Gerraint Thomas will do very well in this type of course & event.
Additional Info: 1 – Another proposal HERE