With the Commonwealth Games set to hit the international sporting stage, Ross McLean catches up with cyclist Jack Pullar who will represent Scotland at the showpiece event.
BOLTON-LE-SANDS cyclist Jack Pullar insists competing at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow will represent a significant step in his development, second only to an Olympic appearance.
The 24-year-old secured a place on the Scottish Cycling Performance Programme last year and duly met selection criteria at various British Cycling Spring Cup events.
Eligible through his father, Pullar will now represent Scotland at the upcoming Games and form part of the six-man road racing team alongside the renowned David Millar.
The former Madison Genesis rider was National Hill Climb champion in 2012 and recently contested the Pearl Izumi Tour Series as Starley Primal finished eighth in the overall standings.
And despite the Commonwealth Games set to elevate his career, Pullar – in only his second year as a professional – insists he has not yet had the opportunity to assess any personal targets.
“It’s definitely a career highlight to date and the challenge is going to be amazing,” he said.
“It’s a home Games and while not on the same scale as London 2012 it is still going to be memorable. I simply cannot think of anything I’ve done which will come close to it.
“It’s not just a cycle race but a ten-day sporting party which features some of the best athletes in the world.
“I haven’t really had a chance to think about my own aims. There has just been so much buzz about the whole thing I haven’t had time to sit down and work out what my goals are.
“But I’m sure when I speak to the team, there will be a plan in place for us and then I can work out personal aspirations from there.
“There is just less than a month to go and I feel good. I’ve been ill the last few weeks so an enforced break from the bike has probably come at the right time.”
Team mate and star turn Millar, who now represents Garmin-Sharp, has won four Tour de France stages as well as five in the Vuelta a Espana and one at the Giro d’Italia.
He was crowned 2007 British national road and national time trial champion and is the only British rider to have worn all Tour de France jerseys and one of six to wear the yellow jersey.
With Millar spearheading the Scottish glory bid, Pullar is in doubt about the role expected of him when he and his colleagues hit the open roads of Glasgow.
“David Millar is retiring this year so it’s going to be his last Games and one of his last races,” he added.
“It is only in recent years that British cyclists have become really good on the world stage and he was pretty much the first rider that did much on the road beforehand.
“He’s had the yellow jersey in the Tour and other massive achievements like that and it will be pretty special to ride alongside him.
“In terms of the road race itself, there are three or four of us whose role will be to effectively work for the team.
“It sounds quite weird that you’re going into something like the Commonwealth Games to work for somebody else.
“But there are six people in one team fighting for a medal so somebody has to do it and he is a much higher calibre of rider.”
While the glitz and glamour of the Commonwealth Games is his principal focus, Pullar wants to harness the momentum gained from featuring on such a stage to fuel further success.
A future win in the Pearl Izumi Tour Series features prominently on his wish list as does regaining his National Climb title in October.
“The Tour Series is growing in emphasis and I will be looking ahead to next year,” he said. “I’ve still got a few Premier Calendar Races left this year.
“I want to win the Hill Climb Championship again so hopefully I can train hard for the Games and take some form from Glasgow into some of these events.”