• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Laura Trott putting pedal to the medal in Glasgow

'There's a few aches," says Laura Trott, rubbing her elbow gingerly as though to emphasise her point.

Double Olympic champion Laura Trott has ambitions of adding to her haul of track medals in Glasgow this summer.
Double Olympic champion Laura Trott has ambitions of adding to her haul of track medals in Glasgow this summer.

"A few bruises as well." It may well have been more severe given a crash during Friday's third stage of the inaugural women's Tour of Britain caused the double Olympic champion to be taken to hospital with suspected concussion and in a good deal of pain.

It was of little surprise to close acquaintances of the 22-year-old that she was back on the saddle the following day. "If you miss a stage, you're out," she says nonchalantly.

It should be disclosed that the five-time world champion much prefers the constancy of the track over life on the open road. Yet her participation was about more than mere times and placings. It was an act of sisterly solidarity in a fight for equality and attention.

Cycling as a sport has emerged only recently into the limelight. As a spectacle, the Tour de France has a storied past but an infamous currency and it would take the accomplishments of two men, Chris Boardman and Chris Hoy, to pedal out of the shadows before British Cycling created a peloton of over-achievers.

This month's women's Tour was just five stages long but Trott does not downplay its significance. "The way it was organised, the way everything got put together, was really good," she says. "Having it on telly was a massive step. Because it was the first time, it could only be 500 kilometres anyway and that's why it was so short."

She is convinced that the competition will continue to grow from such a modest beginning. "It can grow from this. And it makes me happy it's happened here in Britain," she says. "There was so much talk about having a women's Tour de France and it being three weeks long. For us to go 'we'll start it off, and do it on a small scale', that was great."

The value of being so visible in the eyes of the public is immeasurable. Velodromes are limited by seating capacity but the roadside has no such constraint. On a visit to Stirling, where Prudential - they are sponsors of August's RideLondon - are based, Trott evangelises about providing the public with open access, particularly to those who they might only be able to cheer from afar at the Olympic and Commonwealth Games.

"It's not like football where, when they go to train, they're in their ground," she says. "You can't play alongside them. Whereas I have the public riding next to me, even training with me. That makes it quite appealing. And events like RideLondon get people out."

Trott might yet take to the streets in Glasgow prior to defending her London title. At the Commonwealths, she has designs on medals in the scratch race, the points event and the pursuit on the track at the Emirates Arena. "Possibly the road race too, if I get selected," she adds.

It seems unthinkable that Team England would not provide an invitation. Trott went to Delhi four years ago as one of many British cyclists despatched for experience, a Games deemed expendable by the established elite but providing an ideal proving ground for the next generation.

Seventh place barely hinted at what would be accomplished almost 18 months later in what proved to be an Olympic experience beyond her wildest ambitions. "In 2010, all I could think about was Rio in 2016 and just using London for experience," she says. "Then it would be maybe the 2020 Games where I'd get a gold medal. For it all to fall on my plate at a home Games was a dream come true. To win two gold medals there, it was incredible."

Two, three, or perhaps four more in Glasgow would be a nice addition to a collection stashed away for safekeeping in her mother's house. While the sprinters within the Manchester-based British set-up must juggle their aspirations with those in the world championship, for endurance specialists like Trott and in-house rival Katie Archibald, the priority for 2014 is clear.

It promises to be an Anglo-Scottish scrap to remember: Queen of the Pursuit against the pretender to the throne. Archibald, just 20, has catapulted herself to the forefront and will be a worthy adversary. "Katie really is phenomenal," acknowledges Trott.

"I think she'll be amazing. It could be me versus her for the omnium spot in Rio. And to think that 18 months ago, she didn't even ride a bike and she's already world champion. That's incredible."

As the conversation is concluded, Trott is ushered off to offer insights into her approach to cycling and competition before she can finally recuperate for the summer toils ahead. Her gospel of going above and beyond will find a receptive audience. Presented with a stage, the instinct is to proceed and convert lest an opportunity to make noise should slip away.

n Laura Trott is the Prudential RideLondon ambassador. Visit ridewithprudential.co.uk

Contextual targeting label: 
Sport

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

233576