The Cycling Academy, a new team and project based in Scotland with the objective of creating Scotland’s first World Tour rider in over 25 years, has bolstered its leadership team with the last Scot to do this, double British Champion and Eurosport Commentator, Brian Smith.
Joining as Pathway Director, Brian brings more than 30 years of experience of top-level road racing as a World Tour Rider, Director, Agent, and Commentator. He was the last domestically-developed rider from Scotland to compete at the top level of men’s professional cycling. In 2021, the UK has 27 World Tour cyclists but no Scottish riders, despite recent success in other disciplines.
The Cycling Academy Team Director James McCallum commented: “At the start of this project, we realised there is a 25-year gap since Scotland produced a domestically developed World Tour cyclist. Brian and David Millar (who grew up in Hong Kong) are in fact the only World Tour Scottish riders since the glory days of Robert Millar in the 1980’s. Brian built a world-class palmares including two British Championships, before getting involved in many aspects of the professional sport. On and off the bike I always considered Brian to be the epitome of professionalism in sport, so it’s a huge achievement to have him support the work we’re doing.”
Brian, currently a key member of the British Eurosport team, noted: “I’ve been supporting cycling development in Scotland for a long time, with the Endura Team and Braveheart, a cycling charity which funded rider development. I was a little surprised when The Cycling Academy pointed out the 25-year absence of Scottish developed riders in the pro-peloton but immediately liked the ambition and professionalism of the team. I’m now looking forward to supporting the next generation of professional cyclists from Scotland, developed by The Cycling Academy”.
Brian was born in Paisley and remains a loyal member of his local club Johnstone Wheelers. Before turning professional, Smith rode for the French amateur team Athletic Club Boulogne-Billancourt. He won the professional men’s race at the British National Road Race Championships in 1991 and 1994. He also competed for Britain in the 1996 Olympic road race and represented Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in 1986, 1990 and 1998. He won the Grand Prix Midtbank in 1994 whilst riding alongside Lance Armstrong at Motorola.
After racing, Brian began commentating for British Eurosport in 2009, bringing viewers expert insights in team strategy at the world’s top bike races. He also joined the Endura Racing cycling team as general manager in 2011. Following Endura’s merger with the German-based NetApp squad at the end of 2012 to form NetApp–Endura, Smith was initially appointed to the role of assistant general manager before becoming the team’s Business Development Manager. In July 2014 team MTN–Qhubeka appointed Brian Smith as general manager. Brian also participated in the formation of the Cervélo Test Team and founded the Braveheart Cycling Fund, which was launched in 2003 to support young Scottish racing cyclists.
The Cycling Academy’s Director of Business Peter Ellen said: “In order to bridge the 25-year gap, one factor we noted was missing was a pathway which connects young riders to top level road racing. In parts of the UK, like Wales and Yorkshire, riders have peers who they can follow through the ranks, but this has not been the case for Scottish road racers in recent years. Adding Brian’s mentorship, guidance and connectivity has immediately elevated everyone’s ambitions for our team and the project over the coming years.”