26 July 10:25 (BST)

Britain's FERGUSON banking on local knowledge to reach mountain bike podium

GLASGOW - Local hero Grant FERGUSON is ready to ride a rocky road to mountain bike success for Britain at the Glasgow 2018 European Championships.

The Peebles cyclist has prior knowledge of the Cathkin Braes course after finishing fifth when he competed for Scotland at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Now FERGUSON is chasing a medal in a British vest, although on a slightly different course. The addition of a rock garden adds an extra degree of difficulty.

"On a natural mountain bike trail there will be rocks of all shapes but this one is mostly man-made, so they have added the rock garden this time, which makes it more technical," 24-year-old FERGUSON said.

"Some guys will just opt to go right over the rocks. There are a few other changes, but it is a fast, sweeping course and one that I like. I've ridden it a few times and having that knowledge will be an advantage.

"I'll have plenty of family and friends coming to watch me compete, which is always good. You do appreciate that support.

"It was great to compete for Scotland at the Commonwealths in Glasgow and now having the chance to race in a British vest is an honour. I've just won my sixth national title in a row so I'm happy with my form."

FERGUSON came ninth at the Commonwealth Games in Australia in April, but knows it is the dominant Europeans who will provide the toughest of competition on 7 August, with Switzerland's European champion Florian VOGEL in the field.

"Mountain biking has really taken off in Britain over the last few years, but it is huge in Europe," FERGUSON said. "Some of the top guys might be missing, as their focus will be on the World Cup meeting [Mont-Saint-Anne, Canada] a few days later, but it will still be an elite field.

"I've had some mixed results in the World Cup this season, but I've not done a Europeans for a few years, so I'll be going out there to do my absolute best."

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