09 August 2020

Sportsister Meets Track Cyclist Becky James

June 9, 2014

Women’s cycling has enjoyed a meteoric rise of late. With the women’s tour attracting thousands of spectators, and the Commonwealth Games fast approaching, it’s set to light up our screens once more.


One woman who will be looking to do just that on the track is Becky James. The welsh superstar will be taking on the sprint and the 500m in the Chris Hoy Velodrome, and is hoping to win gold for her home nation. Sportsister caught up with her to talk all things Commonwealths, racing rivals, Rio and of course baking!

Hi Becky, not long to go now until the Commonwealth Games, how are your preparations going?

Things are coming together well, I had a little break after the world championships in March and then I’ve just been getting back into training since then. I’ve had a road camp in Majorca which is nice as a change of scenery with some nice weather is always good!  Now I’m back in Manchester training hard and looking forward to Glasgow.

What does your training involve between now and Glasgow?

We’ve got a big block of training through May and into the middle of June, then we go for a training camp in Germany and do a bit of racing to get our race speed up. To win gold in Glasgow would be a dream come true but I’ve just got to keep on working hard, focus on my performance and hopefully do the best that I can possibly do.

You’ll be riding for Wales in the Commonwealths, how exciting is that?

It’s so good to wear the welsh jersey, its a shame it’s only once every four years but it’s come round so quick since Delhi and I can’t wait to get the kit back on. It’s really nice for my family to see me representing Wales, they’re all very passionate and proud of being welsh, as are all welsh people and they’re a great bunch of fans to have behind you!


Who do you think your main rivals are going to be in Glasgow?

Obviously Anna Mayes is a big rival, she makes the Commonwealths a very big target and then obviously the english girls with Jess Varnish and Vicky Williams. There’s going to be some really tough competition out there. There’s also a lot of youngsters coming through in Team Wales, Elinor Barker is definitely one to look out for and I think there could be a few surprises as the next generation come through and make their mark.

How is it racing against people who are normally your Team GB teammates?

It’s a strange one, I feel like saying: ‘I’m racing against the Brits’, but I’m actually racing against the english girls, and I think I’ll find it a bit odd when I’m there!  But you’ve got to be professional and over the years since I was 15 I’ve raced against Jess so whilst you do get used to it, it still is a bit weird.

You’ll be racing in the sprint and the 500m events at Glasgow, but not the Keirin as it not in the programme, how do you feel about that?

It’s a shame that there’s only the two events, but I’ve just got to accept the races that are on the programme and get on with racing them. We were hoping that it would be equal for these games and we would have the same events as the men, but it hasn’t happened so afterwards we’ll keep pushing to try and get more events for women.

It is going to be amazing though, I can’t wait for the home crowd. When I’ve raced in world cups in front of crowds in Manchester it just boosts you on that little bit more and it’s pretty cool.

You come from a family of cyclists, does that make life easier when juggling training and competing with a home life?

Having a family that is immersed in cycling is a huge benefit. They really know what I’m going through and everyone is so much more understanding so it’s great. It’s the same with George, [North, welsh international rugby player and Becky’s boyfriend], he knows what I put myself through with all the training and it’s nice to have someone who is so understanding.

Do you have to make a lot of sacrifices to fit in training and competitions?

I don’t really see myself as making sacrifices and not having a ‘normal’ life. I do this because I love doing it and it is my job, and I’m so lucky to do it as my job, so I don’t think of it as a sacrifice.

It’s clear from your Instagram and twitter account that you’re a keen baker…

Haha yeah I am. I love baking, it’s a great way for me to relax and take my mind off bikes, and competitions, and I take all my bakes into the track which hopefully makes me popular in the team!

Women’s cycling has received a lot of attention recently with the women’s tour, would you ever be tempted to move to the road?

No! I don’t think I’m built  for the road, I’m much more for the sprinting and have no plans to move over to the road. A lot of my training is gym based and focused on building muscle , so if I did ever move back onto the road I would have to lose a lot of weight and lose a lot of that muscle and stop the baking, so I don’t plan on doing that anytime soon!

The women’s tour was amazing though, seeing how much support the girls got out on the roads everyday and just how many people had turned out to watch a women’s road race was quite special.

Finally, after missing out on London 2012 are your sights firmly set on Rio?

Definitely. My big target is Rio and it always will be after missing out on London. I’ve just got to take it one step at a time and keep building towards 2016, treating everything else as a stepping stone.

It’s like at the world championships earlier this year, I was disappointed not to win gold but I know I didn’t really have the form or preparation that I had had the year before. It was a good experience because it made me realise how much I want it, and now I’ll use that disappointment as a drive to keep working hard and work myself back up to gold.

You can’t always be on the up, everything can’t always go perfectly, you’re going to have setbacks and you just have to accept that and keep going.

Beth Shine, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine

Support SSE Home Nation ambassador Becky James and her team mates ahead of the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games by tweeting #GoWales, and by doing so help fund the next generation of athletes in your community. Follow @SWALEC to keep up to date.



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