WHEN Jack Carlin returns to his home velodrome in Glasgow today, it will immediately evoke one of his fondest memories of his cycling career to date. 

Six years ago, as a fresh-faced teenager, Carlin burst onto the international scene with victory in the team sprint at the Glasgow World Cup and despite picking up World, Olympic, Commonwealth and European medals since, that first international victory remains one of his sweetest and is a significant part of the reason he’s so happy to compete in Glasgow whenever he can. 

“It’s nice to be back on the home boards,” the 24-year-old says.  

“The World Cup in Glasgow was my second-ever elite competition and to this day, it’s probably my favourite cycling memory. So being back, I’m more excited than anything.” 

Paisley-born Carlin honed his craft in Glasgow’s Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome and he is back for the prestigious Track Nations Cup, which takes place over the next four days. 

Carlin, along with his fellow Scots and Olympic medallists, Katie Archibald and Neah Evans, will be the stars of the show and Carlin admits that having done no international racing for three months, he can barely wait to pull on his skinsuit in anger once again, lining up in the team sprint and individual sprint. 

“Everyone’s looking forward to some good international racing and I think this is the first time since the Olympics every nation is going to be racing at the same time,” he says. 

“I’m not in absolutely top form, or at my most fresh, but the team is looking good. We’ve got a lot of youth in the team and we’re in a good place and this is a good one to get us ticking over for the year.  

“We’ll have the crowd behind us too so it’ll be good.” 

Carlin’s talent has never been in doubt having picked up silverware at World, European and Commonwealth level in the past six years. 

However, on his Olympic debut in Tokyo last summer, he proved he was able to perform on the greatest stage of all, returning home with a brace of medals; silver in the team sprint and bronze in the individual sprint. 

He admits though, having had such an intense build-up to those Games, extended, of course, by a year due to the pandemic, meant the often-experienced anti-climax following the Closing Ceremony hit him like a ton of bricks. 

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a bit of an Olympic comedown,” he says.  

“The Olympics was even more than what I expected, especially with all the uncertainty in the build-up and so afterwards, you do feel “what now?”  

“You have to build back into it and the motivation is starting to comeback  - I think I’m getting that love for it back.” 

One thing that has helped Carlin’s motivation has been his new coaching set-up. 

In Tokyo, Jason Kenny became Britain’s most successful Olympian ever, wining his seventh gold medal. 

In the aftermath, though, he announced his retirement and was unveiled as GB’s new sprint coach meaning Carlin had to adjust to being coached by his former teammate. 

The transition for both though, says Carlin, has gone incredibly well – so far at least. 

“It’s been, surprisingly, very smooth and so far, it’s been a very positive experience,” he says.  

“Obviously being a teammate of Jason, I know him well and he’s starting to set down the ground rules for everyone – he’s got high standards in terms of what he expects and so far, it’s been good so long may that continue. 

“The group has a very good dynamic and Jason coming in has just pushed that forward. Jason is still the leader, as he should be considering what he’s done in the sport.” 

This week’s Track Nations Cup is the start of a busy few months for Carlin, with one of his major targets Birmingham 2022, which is now only three months away. 

The Commonwealth Games are Carlin’s sole opportunity to represent Scotland and, all going to plan, he is likely to be fighting some of his GB teammates for medals in both the individual sprint and the keirin. 

Having picked up a silver medal in the former four years ago, Carlin is in no doubt he will head south with a view to upgrading that this time around. 

“My expectations are always high – I don’t go to any race to make up the numbers,” he says.  

“I got silver in Gold Coast with not the best run-in so this time around I’ll be looking to do better. 

“Obviously you want Flower of Scotland playing over any other anthem but I won’t be upset if the other guys are winning medals too.” 

The start lists in Glasgow over the next four days boast some of the sport’s hottest talent, with many of the world’s very best riders on show. 

GB’s Laura Kenny, Joe Trueman and Charlie Tanfield will be in action while from a Scottish point of view, Carlin, Archibald and Evans will be joined by a women’s sprint team consisting of Lusia Steele, Iona Moir and Lauren Bell, with Ali Fielding alongside Carlin in the men’s team sprint.