World Mountain Bike Championships interview: Oli Beckingsale

Will and Marc chat to the British cross country rider and Olympic medal hopeful

Well it's day two for us here in not-so-sunny Val Di Sole (Valley of the Sun!) and the rain has poured down all day making downhill practice a real challenge on the already technical track.

Dan Atherton of team Animal Commencal, had a crash and was taken to hospital with a broken collar bone, which is a massive blow to the Great Britain team given his current form.

Back at the team hotel, Marc and I took time out to interview Great Britain cross country rider Oli Beckingsale, fresh from a fine career best ninth place in Fort William World Cup a week ago and now looking ahead to the Olympic games in China at the end of August.

Will and Marc: So, great result last week. Any special preparation that helped your result that you can use again here or just one of those days when everything went right?

Oli: After the early World Cups in April I took some time off racing and missed the European Champs. To be honest I trained my nuts off in preparation for FortWilliam and this week. We went out to the French Alps and put in some hard work, hopefully it's going to pay off.

What's the cross country track like here at in Val di Sole and do you think it suits your strengths?

It's a typical mountainous cross country track, real steep climbs and technical rooty descents. This makes it tough to recover as you have to maintain the effort. It makes for a real hard race. I like it. The more steep climbing the better.

You're having a great season so far, you must be happy with your form in Olympic year?

Yes, last year wasn't the best so it's good to turn it around and get some results. You always work hard through the winter and it's a boost to your confidence when things start going right. So far everything is going to plan!

So what's your schedule between now and China?

After World Champs I'll take a week off the bike and take a rest then it's off to Spain for a training camp and heat preparation ready for Bejing. Then it's back home to defend my National Title, where I'm looking to make it six [in total] and four in a row.

Is it harder to do all the travelling these days with your young family back home?

It's hard this year, super-busy schedule for all of us but I guess there aren't many jobs where you get three months off in October, November, December!

You've been racing quite a few years now and the international results have come for you as you've matured. Do you see any of the current up-and-coming riders having the staying power to make it to the top level as you and Liam Killeen have?

There is a good group of young riders, with an excellent support structure from British Cycling. They have the opportunity to live like professional cyclists from a young age. This will either make them or break them I guess, as with that lifestyle comes the pressure of having to get results and maintain them to keep your place.

Ok Oli, what's it like for you hanging out with the British team this week?

It's good, it's cool to see all you guys from other disciplines and catch up. Hopefully when the downhill guys bring home six medals on Saturday it will give me a boost to pull my finger out and perform on Sunday.

Good luck Oli, we'll be rooting for you Sunday and all the best for China, don't let those track boys take all the glory...

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