Kelso cyclist Oscar Onley hoping to get back in saddle abroad soon

The arrival of coronavirus in Scotland a year ago followed by Britain’s exit from the European Union at the end of 2020 might have put a couple of spokes in the wheels of aspiring cyclist Oscar Onley’s plans to compete overseas, but he’s now hoping to hit the road within weeks.

Monday, 22nd February 2021, 5:02 pm
Updated Monday, 22nd February 2021, 6:51 pm
Kelso's Oscar Onley cycling in France last year (Picture: Gus Sev Photographe)

Though it’s far from a racing certainty yet, the Kelso 18-year-old is setting his sights on taking part in a contest on the continent early next month.

Onley, signed up by Development Team DSM, a German outfit based in Holland and competing on the Union Cycliste Internationale circuit, said: “I’m currently stuck at home in Kelso due to travel restrictions, but I’m hoping that I can get to Europe for my first race on March 7 in Belgium.

“When I do make it across, I will be living in Sittard in the Netherlands at the team’s centre for the majority of the year.

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Kelso cyclist Oscar Onley in training in the hope of being able to compete overseas later this year

“It’s not been an ideal winter’s training, having to miss two team training camps in January and February and with the winter weather disrupting my training a little.

“As a first-year under-23, there is no pressure on me to perform this year, with the main focus being on getting to learn the way of working in Team DSM. However, I still want to get a few results, with my aim being on taking part in the mountainous races in France towards the end of the season."

Onley, given financial backing by Borders organisations including ClubSport Roxburgh last year and in 2019, started out with Kelso Wheelers Cycling Club at the age of 10 before progressing to junior-level competitions with the Dundee-based Spokes Racing Team.

That led to opportunities to compete in mainland Europe, catching the eye of the French-based AG2R Citroen under-19 development team and being signed up prior to being added to Team DSM’s roster and moving up an age range.

Oscar Onley being presented with ClubSport Roxburgh's award for junior sports personality of the year by David Lang in 2019 (Photo: Alwyn Johnston)

Onley, ClubSport Roxburgh’s junior sports personality of the year for 2019, was due to move to the Netherlands last month then meet up with his new team-mates at a training camp in Spain, but those plans were thwarted by the double whammy of Covid-19 and Brexit but he’s now keeping his fingers crossed that he’ll be able to get back in the saddle in earnest before too long.