UEC Junior and Under-23 European Track Championships schedule
Published: 21 July 2014
Written by: Scott Hobro
Video: Simon Powers
Matt Rotherham hopes a strong showing at the UEC Junior and Under-23 European Track Championships can earn him future selections with the Great Britain Cycling Team.
The 20-year old is one of 17 British riders selected for the event in Anadia, Portugal from 22-27 July.
And Rotherham, the team’s only male sprinter in the under-23 category, is intent on delivering a good performance.
“It's great to get out competing and this is quite a good opportunity for me to get out there and show what I've got,” said Rotherham.
“I've been there as a junior twice so it will be nice to go back. I raced a bit in Germany this year but this will be the first major competition so I'm looking forward to racing.”
Rotherham, a member of the British Cycling Olympic Academy Programme, won three medals as a junior at the competition in 2012 - gold in the kilo plus silver medals in the sprint and keirin.
He will contest the trio of disciplines again and highlighted the kilo as a personal favourite. The event is not currently part of the Olympic programme having been removed after Athens 2004.
“To me, the kilo is the epitome, it gets all the Olympic values of higher, faster, stronger, that kind of thing,” Rotherham said.
“It's man against machine against the clock and to me, that's such a good event. It's not the easiest by any stretch of the imagination but you can get it all out there. I do it all because I enjoy it all.”
Despite a lack of competition time, Rotherham has been encouraged by his figures in training at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester.
He now hopes to convert those numbers into a positive outcome in Portugal.
“We watch the times in training and they seem to be getting better every time,” he said.
“There's some promising stuff in there and I hope to go out there and hit some personal bests and stuff like that. In training we are constantly analysing and seeing how it's going so hopefully I can bring the goods out.”
More medals in Anadia would enhance the Bolton-born rider’s odds of a UCI Track Cycling World Cup debut in the 2014-15 season.
Further elite international racing would in turn aid his 2016 Rio Olympic desires with robust competition in Britain’s ranks.
“If at some point I'm going to get into that Olympic team I've got to start getting the races,” Rotherham said.
“But at the end of the day it's all a case of meeting my training targets, training hard throughout the winter and hopefully I'll get some good training and end up with some races.”