Former Olympic skier Alain Baxter will make his track cycling debut at the Revolution track meeting at Manchester velodrome next Saturday, December 5, taking part in the 200 metre time trial event.
Baxter, who was controversially stripped of a bronze medal in the 2002 Winter Olympics for failing a dope test, retired from skiing earlier this year but has since set his sights on returning to Olympic contention as a track cyclist.
Illness ruled the Scot out of appearing at the National Track Championships last month, so now Revolution will provide the arena for Baxter’s track racing debut.
Baxter will compete against eight other riders in the 200 metre time trial, racing as a special guest rather than for one of the Revolution teams. He faces stiff competition in the shape of Jamie Staff, Craig MacLean, Ross Edgar, Matt Crampton and Roberto Chiappa.
“Revolution will be my first competitive race, so it’s a bit like entering the unknown,” Baxter commented. “But I’m really excited about it. I’ve been training hard at the sprints and was really disappointed about having to pull out of the Nationals. This will be my first chance to discover how I measure up against the pros.”
While Baxter may be an unknown quantity going into his first race, he shouldn’t come ill prepared. His coach, Dave Clark, has previously worked with fellow Scots Sir Chris Hoy and Craig MacLean, and it was MacLean who pointed Baxter in the direction of a change to track cycling.
“I’ve known Craig for quite a while,” says Baxter. “We grew up not far from each other in Scotland and our families know each other. When I decided to retire from skiing, Craig encouraged me to get involved with the athlete transfer programme at the Institute of Sport and, as I’ve always done a bit of cycling, it just went from there.”
When asked about going up against MacLean in the time trial, Baxter laughed. “It’s going to be pretty interesting going head-to-head with Craig, he’s an awesome sprinter. There’s no doubt about it, I’m up against a world-class field at Revolution. I’m just going to give it my best shot.”
Bradley Wiggins will also make a return to the boards at Revolution, his first appearance at a track race since the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
Tickets and further information on the Revolution track meetings can be found at www.cyclingrevolution.com
Wiggins returns to the track for next Revolution