In the wake of the gold medal haul in London last summer, the appeal of cycling has been on the increase. In addition to the number of people taking to two wheels in recent months for both leisure and commuting, evidence of the interest in becoming part of cycling as a sport at the highest level is also becoming more and more apparent.
One such example is ex- Great Britain heptathlete Katy Marchant. Twenty year old Marchant from Leeds used to train with Toni Minichiello (most famous for coaching Olympic champion Jessica Ennis) and was working with him for three years as a full-time athlete prior to transferring to cycling.
“I recently went to Newport on an Olympic Development Programme training camp, now I am starting a proper track programme which will incorporate, track, gym work, dynamic training as well as road rides,” Marchant said.
“I have done a lot of gym work in the past. I am really enjoying it so far, I moved over to Manchester a month ago and it’s been really good. I like the more structured approach here than in athletics where it was every man for himself to be honest.”
The crossover came after Marchant’s coach, Toni Minichiello started to use Wattbikes as a supplement to the traditional type of training that his athletes were doing.
“In athletics, Toni began to add Wattbike sessions to our training regime to try and help with lactic acid tolerance, in order to aid our 200m,” Marchant explained.
“I was producing a lot of power on the bike so my coach Toni spoke to Matt Parker [former British Cycling Head of Marginal Gains] who suggested that I ask for a trial on the velodrome. I was put on a four week test to see how things went and at the end of that, they asked me if I wanted to be part of the British Cycling Academy.”
Marchant has already set her ambitions high for a newcomer and now aims towards selection for the upcoming Under 23 and Junior European Track Championships in Portugal starting on 9 July.
“I have spoken to Iain Dyer and the plan for now it to focus on selection for the team sprint. I am aiming for the European U23 and junior Track Championships this year. After that, we’ll see how it goes based on my performances under race conditions, I guess.”
This will be the first time the 20 year old has been involved in track cycling at a competitive level but she is certainly no stranger to full-time competitive sport, having recently competed at the IAAF world junior athletics championships in Barcelona last year.
She was ranked third in the country for her age in 2012 and has confirmed that things are already looking good for her on two wheels.
“Before this, I used to mountain bike and ride on the road with friends but I wouldn’t say I was a cyclist”, she confirmed. “Things are already looking good on the bike; I feel I am transferring a lot of my power onto the track.
“A lot of people can produce it on the Wattbike but struggle to transfer it. My times on the track are looking quite promising already which is nice.”