Sir Chris Hoy says the prospect of Scottish athletes taking on Great Britain team mates competing for the ‘Auld Enemy’ England will add extra spice to this year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Hoy, Great Britain’s most successful ever Olympian with six gold medals, has also triumphed twice at the Commonwealth Games, winning the Kilo at Manchester in 2002 and four years later in Melbourne in the team sprint.
The 37-year-old retired last year so will not compete in Glasgow this summer in the velodrome that is named after him, but he is an ambassador for the Games.
"The Commonwealth Games are unique for British athletes because it's the one chance to compete for your 'home nation'," said Hoy, quoted in the Daily Record.
"For me, particularly Manchester in 2002 and also Melbourne four years later, we trained as a GB team up until maybe only three or four weeks before the event then went our separate ways.
"It was funny because your team mates for three-and-a-half-years are all of a sudden your rivals.”
Hoy has first hand experience of that – the Scot partnered Ross Edgar and Craig MacLean in 2006 when they beat fastest qualifiers England, represented by Matthew Crampton, Jason Queally and Jamie Staff, to win gold.
"In particular, I remember the team sprint in Melbourne when it was Scotland and England in the final and to line up against your usual teammates knowing what was at stake: the pride, the bragging rights and, obviously, the medals,” he recalled.
“So to beat the English team was fantastic."
He added that he hoped some of the sporting world’s biggest stars would head to Scotland for the Games, which take place from Wednesday 23 July to Sunday 3 August.
"I think it's crucial to the success of the Games when the big names turn up and support them,” he said.
“And, apart from anything else, it's still an amazing feeling to win a Commonwealth Games medal for your home nation, and for athletes like Usain Bolt, Mark Cavendish, it's still a big deal for them to be Commonwealth champion.
“As far as I'm aware, Usain Bolt has not won a Commonwealth Games gold medal yet [Hoy is correct – ed].
“So for him, I'm sure he wants to be here and take the medals back to Jamaica."
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.