How did you first get into cycling?
My mum did triathlon, and Cannock Chase, the mountain bike centre, is two minutes’ ride from our house. When I was little, everyone went mountain biking, and I couldn’t wait to join them.
You were a good swimmer too?
Yeah, I swam at county level and won my fair share of races, but only until I was about 12. I’d swim three times a week, but the coaches wanted us to train six times a week, starting at 5am. It got too serious for me; I wanted to enjoy riding my bike.
You’re still racing cyclo-cross, despite your focus being road?
Yes, but mostly just to keep my riding fresh and fun. I took nearly two months off my bike after the road Worlds, to recover ready for competing at under-23 level. So I raced the CX World Cup in Zolder [Boxing Day] and the under-23 race at Baal [New Year’s Day], where I finished 23rd, and the National Cross Champs in Shrewsbury, where I finished sixth.
Why did you choose Groupama-FDJ over other offers?
I don’t love the track, so wouldn’t want to spend a whole winter riding track [with British Cycling]. Going to FDJ means I have the opportunity to do a bit of cross, ride my mountain bike and do different things, keep it fresh and enjoy myself a little bit more. I just felt that for the type of person I am, FDJ was the best place in the world.
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