Victoria Pendleton, Queen Vic as the cycling community fondly call her, is a double Olympic medal champion specialising in sprint, team sprint and keirin disciplines of cycling.
The cycling superstar has won a record of nine world titles and pretty much dominated the sport between the years of 2005 and 2012. A true darling of the sport world, Pendleton was adored by all and rocked the community even further when in March of this year she announced her intentions to become a jockey!
Why the change?
The aim of Victoria’s new game is to compete in the Foxhunter Chase at Cheltenham Festival in 2016 and whilst she claims this isn’t a glory-seeking act, the Olympian did tell The Telegraph that “just to be able to step up to the start line and not be out of place…will be something”.
Pendleton has always been one for trying something new and even went on the hit show Strictly Come Dancing and shimmied her way through 8 weeks before being evicted.
Along with Strictly the athlete designed her own range of bikes, qualified as a personal trainer and even got married in attempt to fill the saddle shape void in her post-retirement life.
When all this failed to provide sufficient post-retirement stimulation, the famed cyclists switched saddles entirely. Understanding the pressure to compete at a high level and succeed once more, Victoria knew returning to the bicycle saddle was not the answer to her troubles and it is exactly that understanding which has thrown Queen Vic into the saddle of an entirely different kind.
What is Victoria’s plan?
In attempt to compete at next year’s Cheltenham Festival, Pendleton has teamed up with one of horseracing’s greatest, Paul Nicholls, to bring back a little bit of sporting structure to her life.
Unfortunately, the cyclist is already facing a few hiccups along the road to equestrian glory. Whilst most of the jockeys she’ll be riding alongside have been around the sport and animals nearly all their life, Pendleton has no experience with horses, let alone racing them.
Her petite stature and need for speed will hopefully take her places in the intensive programme she started in early March but only time will tell whether she can turn her hand to this new sport.
We have to say, hats off to the girl! She’s tackling this pretty daunting task head on and in a matter of just 12 months the world champion cyclist will put her fame behind her and start a new sport from scratch.
She’ll risk her sporting integrity and build up an array of skills and knowledge before eventually obtaining her jockeys licence which will lead her to Cheltenham Festival.
If anyone can do it then we guess a two time Olympian can!
In her talk with The Telegraph Pendleton boldly promised she’ll “give it her best shot” and that’s all anyone can ask.
Good luck Victoria!