“Can you hear that rain?! It’s worse than in the UK!” Marc Beaumont laughs down the phone to me from his New York hotel room. He’s in Diabolo doing some mid-season testing before the World Cup season finale at Windham. Sure enough, I can hear the rain thudding against the window.
The 25-year-old’s win at the previous round in Val Di Sole, Italy, seemed to come as a surprise to pretty much everyone including himself. “I would be lying if I said that there were no dodgy moments in my final run,” he chuckles, “It just all came together – I rode my own race. Crossing the line, I was so surprised that I was in the lead. There were seven riders to come and I thought I might be on for a podium. When Gee came round the last big left I knew that I had done it!”
His previous win had come at a rain-ravaged Vigo in 2007 and was written off by too many people as a one-off result due to the horrible conditions. “It was amazing to take the win again,” Marc says, “I was stuck for words it seemed so surreal. It’s great to be back on the top step – it proves to everyone that I am capable of doing it too.”
The win in Italy has so far capped an impressive 2010 for the Shropshire-born rider. Beaumont currently sits sixth in the overall standings going into Windham and the season closing World Champs atMont St.Anne, Canada
“I’m concentrating on the World Cup finals first,” he says, “After my win I have bumped myself up the standings so I’m looking to hold onto that and finish with a solid overall first and foremost.”
“The Worlds will be amazing, though – it’s such a prestigious track with so much history. I’ve been successful there before so who knows? I’ll certainly be up for it.”
The World Champs is different to any other race and sees riders banded together under the banner of their respective national cycling federations as opposed to their usual factory allegiances.
The riders stay together, eat together and generally exist under British Cycling stewardship for the entirety of the race weekend. Beaumont was selected again for the British team but has opted out of the camp. “It will be a little different this year, definitely,” he says “I’ve opted to stay with my team, instead of British Cycling.”
It’s a move he feels will be beneficial to him – “I don’t want to change my routine,” he shrugs, “We have a great atmosphere in the team. Me and my mechanic Mark get on really well and it’s fun to hang out with them. The Worlds is a strange race anyway, with the funny schedule and small practice sessions. I figure I’ll try it this way this year.”
On the topic of team GT it’s worth noting Marc’s almost complete eclipsing of his big name team-mate, Mick Hannah this year.
The Aussie returned to the sharp-end of the World Cup field last year with a stellar run to four podiums and a third at the Worlds. In 2010 Hannah seems to have struggled to re-kindle the form. Indeed, at the time of writing he sits 18th overall, 12 spots behind Beaumont.
“I just don’t think he has got the dice rolling yet,” Marc admits evenly. “He rode really well at the US open – he was the fastest qualifier, then he flatted in the finals. His World Cup didn’t get off to a good start with an average race in Maribor.”
“He got it going good in FortWilliam, though, with a 5th place. I think the courses really suited him last year. He had a good start to the year and kept it rolling – with good results come confidence and then it’s easier. You can’t write him off, though, he’s definitely one to watch out for atMont St. Anne
. He’s really strong and that could play into his hands.”
There’s a definite kinship with the quiet antipodean though – “I really enjoy riding with Mick. We had good fun riding together at the press camp this year. I must admit though at the races it can be difficult as we work very differently as far as line choice and approach to our practice sessions go. In the evenings we will talk about the track and help each other with bike set-up though.”
Marc was a one-time protégé of the now World Champion Steve Peat in his younger years and he’s still feeling the benefits, “Peaty was a great help to me at the start of my career especially with getting me to World Cups, he made it really easy for me to learn,” he says, “I will still call him if I need some help on a contract or something like that these days. Steve is a cool guy – I always have fun when I hang out with him.”
One of the most talked about DH bikes in recent history is the GT Fury carbon race machine. “I have the lightest and best looking bike in the pits – it doesn’t get better than that!” Beaumont laughs, “It’s really an awesome bike. We’ve kept changing it over the last year and a half, just little things here and there angles, bar heights and so on. I feel really confident on it now and it’s working just how I want it.”
Physically Marc is working pretty well this year too, he’s known among the pro ranks for taking his training pretty seriously. “I work closely with a local personal trainer, Steve Hulland. We work it through in six-week blocks,” he says, “I really enjoy my training, it’s a fun part of my job and is obviously really important when you’re trying to achieve good results.”
Does it vary much in the off-season? “I do a mixture of things outside of the season – it becomes much more about cross-training and having fun. I play a lot of squash, go swimming, circuit training, golf, indoor climbing, then XC and road miles and, of course, the gym. I like to keep it varied.”
World Champs and World Cup Overall aside, though, Marc’s contract with GT is almost up and he’s one of the big name potential movers and shakers in the off-season. “We’ve started negotiations but nothing is set in stone yet,” he mulls, “They have a great team structure here and everything is in place for me to be successful, we’ll have to wait and see really.”
However the season ends, you can bet your house on Marc being back in the hunt come 2011 hungrier than ever.