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Interview: World Champion Dani King
8th July 2011
Report: Andy Whitehouse
Photo: King has risen rapidly through the Women's 1st Category Road Rankings
From missing a maths lesson at school to World Champion, Horizon Fitness RT/ Pendras Ciclismo's Dani King has certainly made her mark in women's cyclesport over the last few years. I caught up with Dani recently before she won the bronze medal in the National Women's Under 23 Championships held at Newcastle.
AW: Firstly many congratulations on a rather successful year so far, did you envisage quite how well things would be going for you?
DK: Thanks, no not at all, it's happened so quickly for me. This time last year I had glandular fever and it was the worst time of my life and then within a year I become World Champion! It's amazing. I'm just getting my head down now to give me the best chance of getting to London.
AW: Apeldoom must have been an experience for you? The media were suggesting that Team GB had picked an unknown rider to compete at that level but you were delivering the numbers when it mattered, so were you confident that a team place would be there for you?
DK: Riding the World Championships was an unbelievable experience, I didn't know I was riding until three days before the event and even then I knew a ride wasn't 100% guaranteed. I was on the start line when it really sunk in I was riding. I was producing the right numbers so I believe I deserved a place on the team, however I couldn't have done it without Wendy (Houvenaghel) and Laura (Trott) who were awesome. Then to win a gold was a dream come true. The bronze in the scratch was a bonus and made those championships so much more special for me.
AW: So your selection was certainly justified?
DK: I went into the scratch with no expectations at all but wanting to get stuck in and hopefully come away with a result.I was buzzing after that week and its given me more fire in my belly to give it everything to the run up to the Olympics.
AW: You are doing your Olympic selection no harm at all with such good results, is London a dream of yours?
DK: London is a dream but I really believe it's an achievable one. I'm just going to carry on doing what I'm doing, training hard and doing everything I can to make me the best team pursuiter I can be.
AW: The Johnson's Health Tech Series has proved a popular event this year running alongside the Halfords tour series. Horizon Fitness RT won the overall title from the Motorpoint girls who pushed you all the way, were you confident Horizon would come out on top?
DK: The Johnsons Health Tech Series was a great event which I think can only get better. It has improved women's racing in the UK and I was really happy to be part of it. Horizon Fitness worked amazingly as a team which ultimately showed in the results.
Since I spoke to Dani she has taken bronze in the Women's National Under 23 bronze medal recently after a fine sprint win at Capenwray.
DK: I used the Capenwray race as training for the Nationals. I was satisfied with the bronze with no real specific training for it.
AW: Women's cycle racing has developed so much over the last few years, the quality of riders and racing, what do you put that success down to?
DK: I put it down to role models and more opportunities. Girls like Lizzie Armistead, Lucy Martin and Katie Colclough have proven that UK women can get on professional teams and achieve amazing results. I also think events like the Johnsons Series help increase participation in women's event and having them run alongside the men's racing shows spectators that women can race just as well as the men and it can only get better.
AW: What do you like to do to chill out when you're not on the bike?
DK: I love spending time with my friends and boyfriend just chilling out, shopping and going to the cinema. I'm living with Becky James so we get through some serious chill days which consist mostly of lying on the sofa in our PJs watching Gossip Girl or 90210!
AW: Did you really miss a maths lesson to try out for the talent team?
DK: Yes I did. British Cycling came into my school at Hamble and asked if any of us wanted a try out on the school field. I thought it would be fun and defiantly better then a maths lesson so I ended up beating all the boys.
AW: Something about Dani which people may not know?
DK: My dad competed in two Winter Olympic Games competing in the biathlon skiing and he is my inspiration.