IT seems life admin is unavoidable even when you’re an Olympian cyclist competing at the elite end of your sport.

Anna Shackley has progressed so fast in recent years that she’s had no choice but to grow up quickly to handle the major lifestyle changes that have accompanied that.

Moving away from the relatively cosseted sanctuary of the GB Senior Academy team, the 20 year-old chose to sign with the noted SD Worx road racing team last year and is now competing on the Women’s World Tour. And while her career continues to enjoy a steep upwards trajectory, it did mean a lot of growing up in other areas of her life.

“Last year was quite a big step up for me,” says the Milngavie rider. “I didn’t really race in 2020 because of the pandemic so I effectively went from junior up to world tour level. It was quite a big jump.

“I was basically living out of a bag and travelling everywhere. I was based in Girona for a bit but mostly just going from hotel to hotel the rest of the time. Now I’m trying to move properly to Girona although I’ve been saying that for a while – it’s proving to be quite difficult.

“I felt with all the travelling last year I had to become an adult quite quickly! I was constantly looking at all the restrictions for every country, especially the ones who had banned UK passengers and you had to find some back way to get entry. It was tough but it was a good experience.”

After the season opener at Strade Bianche, Shackley and the team are back in Italy for today’s Trofeo Alfredo Binda. Competing for Worx will be her biggest commitment in 2022 but she is hoping to also compete at the Commonwealth Games where she believes Scotland will be a force to be reckoned with on road and track.

“I believe the team selection is soon so that will be nice to represent Scotland again,” she adds. “It’s an exciting time for Scottish cycling as we’ve got a lot of good riders coming through. I started out with the Scottish programme before joining the British one and it’s a really nice community. They’re all really supportive. So we could have quite a good team for the Commonwealth Games.

“Jack Carlin went to the same club, Glasgow Riderz, as me when we were younger. He’s a few years older than me but my dad used to coach him quite a bit and it’s nice to see him doing well. Watching him winning Olympic medals was great to see.”

Shackley’s own Tokyo endeavours did not lead her to the podium, finishing 18th in the individual time trial with a DNF (did not finish) in the road race. Despite that, she was happy just to pull on a Team GB suit and hasn’t ruled out doing so again in Paris in two years’ time.

“It’s a strange thing that I can now say I’m an Olympian as I don’t think I ever really thought that would happen,” she admits. “It was a bit different with the pandemic and it not feeling like a proper Olympics so I didn’t see the village but I did have other good experiences.

“It’s weird that it’s only two years until Paris so hopefully if I make it that will be a more normal Olympic experience.”

The year before will see Shackley competing at the 2023 UCI combined world championships in Scotland, the first time all 13 cycling disciplines will be held in the same country at the same time.

“I think it will be a really exciting opportunity. I did Yorkshire worlds when I was a junior but it’s not a home worlds compared to this. This is basically my back garden!

“I remember Glasgow 2014 quite well as the velodrome had just opened a few years before that. I had been quite a big part of going there with Scottish Cycling as I live only half an hour ago so I remember the races there.

“I also watched the 2018 Europeans in Glasgow as the time trial went past my house. I could just walk out my door to see it.

“The Scottish cycling community is quite small so you all know each other or know of each other. It will be nice for the mountain bikers, the track cyclists and the road racers all to be together at the one time. Quite a lot of the time you feel like you’re in your own little bubble so this will be nice to open it out and have all the different disciplines together for the first time.”