Velodrome joiner recalls Chris Hoy brush with law

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HE is the golden boy of British Olympics, whose hard work, dedication, and clean-cut image make him the perfect role model for aspiring sports stars.

But now one of Sir Chris Hoy’s cycling buddies has recalled how the six-times Olympic gold medallist once had to talk himself out of a tricky situation with police after the car he was in was pulled over by while heading back to Scotland. Robert Scott, 31, who works at Meadowbank velodrome to keep the surrounding boards in tip-top shape, was with the Scottish cycling hero in 2001, three years before his first gold in the Athens games.

Sir Chris was driving Robert home from a cycling event in Manchester when they were stopped by the boys in blue after arousing suspicion.

A smiling Robert recalled: “Chris was driving us back up to Scotland in his black BMW. We both happened to be dressed in black and wearing black woollen beanies.

“Our equipment was piled up in black bags in the back of the car, which in hindsight must have looked rather suspicious, and the police pulled us over to question us.” Fortunately, the pair were allowed to hit the road after a cursory inspection. “It was tense for a minute,” laughed Robert.

Both Robert andand his dad, fellow Meadowbank worker Tosh, 66, have known Sir Chris for a number of years and are now hoping he can use his powers of persuasion to rescue the Edinburgh velodrome.

The cyclist – described by Tosh as “a total gentleman” – has in the past called for fresh investment in the under-threat facility, which is facing an uncertain future.

Robert said: “It would be a shame to see a facility of Meadowbank’s stature and history [come to an end]. I think it would be fantastic to keep that going, to refurbish it and maybe pop a roof over it.”

Tosh, a former national road manager for Scottish Cycling, backed his son’s plea.

He said: “Because the velodrome is open to the elements it needs almost constant upkeep. The wood, which is imported from west Africa, expands when it’s wet and shrinks when it’s hot, which means we travel up here from [our home in] the Borders at least every three weeks to ensure all is as it should be.

“Any damage to the structure could have very serious consequences for someone using the velodrome. At the speeds these cyclists go, someone could very easily lose their lives.”

The velodrome was constructed for the 1970 Commonwealth Games, which took place in Edinburgh and saw local cyclist Brian Temple pick up a silver medal. Tosh said: “I’ve been looking after the velodrome since 2000, though my son has now taken over the business – I’m just a labourer.”

THE WONDER OF WIGGO

Robert’s run-in with the police was not the first time he found himself in an odd situation with a member of cycling’s elite.

He explained: “A couple of years later, there was another big cycling meet in Ireland. A few of us went out on the town and I ended up doing karaoke with Bradley Wiggins . . .”

Wiggins has been on a meteoric rise in the last few years after taking a break from cycling following the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. In 2012, he won the Tour de France and the time trial at the Olympics. He has since been awarded the Vélo d’Or award for best rider of the year, the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award and a knighthood.

Also famed for his fashion sense, Wiggins was apparently more conspicuous on this particular evening because of what he was not wearing.

Robert went on: “We sang You Can Leave Your Hat On, and if I remember correctly there was a bit of stripping involved . . .”

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