Ongoing transfer speculation linking them to Team Sky were the furthest thing from the minds of Bradley Wiggins and Ben Swift at the Manchester Velodrome on Saturday night as the pair went head to head in the latest round of the Revolution Series.
And it was three-time Olympic gold medallist Wiggins who emerged victorious, marking his return to the track by claiming victory in the Devils Scratch race ahead of Swift, with Luke Rowe third.
With the Revolution Series switching to a new team format this season – hailed as a success by organisers, with fans getting behind the teams they have chosen to support for the season – Wiggins’ win helped his team, the Slicks, overhaul Rob Hayles’ Forza side to go into the Christmas break top of the table on 18 points.
It was a successful night all round for the Slicks, whose captain, Craig MacLean, took victory in the Keirin after a gripping race, while Luke Rowe won the 15km Scratch event, although the team was edged out by the Rollers in the final event of the evening, the Italian Pursuit.
Other winners on the evening included Ed Clancy and Andy Tennant, who claimed the 1km Madison Time Trial race for their team, Tempo,
Earlier in the evening, Matt Crampton, had emerged quickest in the 200m Time Trial with a time of 10.310 seconds, although later in the evening he was edged out by Ross Edgar of Dynamo in the Sprint Final.
The Sprint Time Trial was notable for the guest appearance of former Olympic skier Alain Baxter, who is targeting a place in the Scottish cycling team for next year’s Commonwealth Games in Delhi, and who on his first competitive outing on the boards covered the distance in 11.607 seconds, suggesting that he certainly has the raw potential to realise his ambition.
Beforehand, Baxter had said: “As you know it’s the first time in competition with a real crowd and a proper set up but I’m only doing the flying 200 but as long as I can get a time posted and see where I’m standing against these guys, is all I need to know really.”
The evening also featured a supporting programme of Future Stars races competed by some of Britain’s best young male and female track cyclists.
With two rounds left, the Slicks lead the table, but only by the narrowest of margins – they are tied on 18 points with Team Forza, but sit in first place by virtue of having recorded more individual wins. The Pacers are third on 13 points.
The next round is at the Manchester Velodrome on Saturday 16th January, and tickets, as well as full details of the Revolution series, are available from the Revolution Series website.
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.