2012. Highlight every month on your calendar in red, white and blue. This the year British cycling pedals from the shadows into the spotlight.
It’s the year in which the legs of Cav, Wiggo, Hoy et al, the strategy of Brailsford and Sutton, and the tireless work of a multiltude of enthusiasts pays off, and life on two wheels becomes the norm, or as Cav famously told the millions watching him accept the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, the year cycling goes “mainstream”. We’re doing our bit by bringing you predictions for what could be tumultuous year from those at the sharp end of the sport and cycle industry throughout January.
What better time than to seek the views of Ian Field? As weeks go, the last seven days have been ones to savour for the Kent native. On Sunday, he fulfilled a 10-year ambition by becoming national cyclo-cross champion, and today was unveiled as a member of the 14-strong squad that will represent Great Britain at the cyclo-cross world championships in Koksijde, Belgium at the end of the month.
Now a resident of Belgium, where he shares a house with seven-time women’s national champion, Helen Wyman, Field competes in the world’s toughest races in a bid to prove himself against the best, taking a break from a relentless cycle of training and racing to pen a column for RoadcyclingUK.
Here are Ian’s thoughts on 2012: British cycling’s greatest year.
What are your goals for 2012?
“My first goal was to win the national championship. I really want to get around the top 20 at the world championships. I was in the top 20 in the world cup on an identical course. I’ve shown I can be in that ball park.”
Is 2012 the year that cycling becomes truly mainstream in the UK?
“I’m not sure if cycling is yet mainstream but it’s a heck of a lot more popular even than when I started. When I was growing up, a lot of people said: ‘Cycling – Chris Boardman.’ It was just one man. But now, even Joe Public is taking more of any interest because we have got a lot of talent in Great Britain.”
What bridges does cycling still have to cross in 2012?
“I think with the steady progress of people getting involved, and membership going up year on year, and more people racing, it’s going in the right direction. A lot of people talk about making drastic changes but I think gradual progress is leading to a good future. I think it’s better for cycling to gradually grow and become part of the culture. It’s going in the right direction.”
What is your advice to anyone bitten by the cycling bug in 2012?
“Just enjoy it. Don’t take riding too seriously, and don’t take yourself too seriously. Ride with your friends and make it a social thing. If you enjoy it, you’ll improve more quickly.”
Can Mark Cavendish win the Olympic road race?
“I hope so. It would be great for the country. I saw what Jason Queally did for cycling when he won in Sydney. Now people are looking to cyclists to win medals and move us up the table. I think Cav can do it. We saw how good the team was at Copenhagen. Although the Olympic course has got Box Hill however many times, I’m sure Cav’s a good enough climber and there’s a long way to go after.”
Watch Ian ride to victory at the National Cyclo-Cross Championships
More Road Cycling Videos