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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Chris Hoy, the kilo Guy

By Steve Thomas

Chris Hoy at the World Track Championships
Photo: © Mike Gladu
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After a blistering season that finished up with a Commonwealth Gold in the Kilo and two World Track titles in both the Kilo and Team Sprint, Scottish fast man Chris Hoy has taken his winter sabbatical, and is already back on the boards and preparing for bigger things.

Cyclingnews: Quite some year with all of that gold jingling around. What were personal highlights?

Chris Hoy: The worlds were amazing for me, I knew I had a possible medal ride in me, but to win was fantastic. Even so, the Commonwealth Games title was my real season high. It was my first ever-solo gold medal, and was one of the few occasions I get to represent Scotland. Plus I beat the Olympic Champion on the way.

CN: You already had Olympic medals and world titles in the team sprint, yet few outside of the track centre knew your name, was this part of the reason for going solo?

CH: I think I was just looking for something different to do. After Sydney I decided I'd like to focus on something else. I'd been training for the team sprint for so long, but the kilometre appealed, and it didn't interfere with my team sprint preparations. It's great to win alone, but it's even better to have a team to share things with.

CN: So what are we going to see next from the flying Scotsman?

CH: I definitely think the kilo is my event. It's purely man against the track. There are no outside influences, which really appeals to me. I will continue in the Olympic sprint too. But who knows, maybe after Athens I'll feel like a change of direction - theoretically there's no reason I couldn't turn to the team pursuit.

CN: Is Athens (2004 Olympics) the next big target?

CH: For myself and the whole squad Athens was always the target - Sydney came a lot earlier in the plan, and was a bit of a surprise. I'd like to go primarily for the kilometre, and then the team sprint. After that, who knows - I've always planned on going until Beijing (2008). The Olympics is definitely the ultimate for any athlete.

CN: What's your pre stardom cycling history?

CH: I grew up in Edinburgh, raced BMX from age 7-14, competing all over the world. I seemed to stop improving, and felt like a change. I then joined the local cycling club, started time trialing, road racing and mountain biking. After this I got on the track at Edinburgh, and found it really suited me. I took a while out at university, but decided I wanted to give it a real go and took my chances and went for it full time.

CN: At that time all of this must have seemed a boyish dream away, who and what inspired you to see it through?

CH: Graham Obree made a huge impression on me. I got to share a room with him at the worlds once. He taught me to believe in myself. He did everything against the odds, through self-belief. He showed me that if you want something bad enough, and are prepared to work for it then you can get it - people laughed at him when he said he was going for the hour record, but he did it. People also laughed at my plans, but I believed and got there.

CN: It's mid winter in Manchester, what are you up to?

CH: After the worlds I took a holiday, let my hair down some. Over the last few weeks I've been putting in a lot of road and gym work - now its back on the track, maintenance work. I've had a late call up for the Open Des Nations, after that it's off to Australia for 3 months of training - my favourite time of the year, escaping the British winter!

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