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Having won gold medals in both swimming and track cycling, Jody Cundy was one of the leading lights in the Paralympic Team GB at London 2012. We caught up with him to hear about 2012’s highs and lows

Congratulations on your bronze medal at the Paralympic Games – you’ve amassed quite a collection during your career, does one in particular stand out for you? Quite a collection indeed, and over five Paralympics there have been quite a few stand outs, but my personal favourites are the gold I won in Sydney 2000 in the 100m Butterfly, and my Beijing kilo gold in 2008. Sydney was amazing as I retained the title I won in Atlanta, and the Beijing gold was special as it was my first Paralympic medal after changing sports, and the time was impressive back then too.

London 2012 – what was the highlight of the Games for you?

Riding with a wall of noise following me round the London Velodrome during the qualifying for the 4km Pursuit. The noise was amazing, and after what happened in the kilo the previous day it was pretty special. I could do that every single day, it was an amazing feeling.

How did competing in front of the home crowd affect you? Loved every second of it, from them chanting “Let him race” before the kilo, to that amazing wave of sound that followed every GB rider. They really did give you that extra boost when you needed it.

You were infamously denied a restart at the starting gate in the Velodrome ahead of the C4/5 1km time trial – have you been able to put that behind you? I’ve had to put it behind me – if not it would end up consuming me, and I’d never be able to look forward.

How do you both mentally and physically prepare for the Paralympics? I try to deal with it as just another event, which is sometimes hard to do with 6,000 people watching and shouting their support for you, but I do so many laps in training, and it’s trying to remember it’s no different to the training I do for it. Physically, I work in cycles, with different parts of the year dedicated to the specifics of my event. As I get closer to competition I start to bring all the parts together, so come race day I’m ready. I want to be sat on the start line knowing no stone is unturned, I’ve done everything. Race day is just that, riding the perfect race.


And what’s going through your mind when you’re in the starting gate? It’s always the same – I try to take myself back to those training sessions where we do start after start after start.

What does a typical training day involve for you?

It depends on the time of year and the type of training I’m doing. When I’m in full track training mode usually I’ll do gym or a road ride in the morning, and then in the afternoon I’d be on the track for three hours with the GB squad, working through flying efforts, starts and other elements that make up my event. Other days would include lab sessions, turbo sessions and more road work.

Do you have any particular tips or tricks you’d care to share on how to get the most from your body on a bike? Not sure I have any particular tricks to speak of, but I try to cover all aspects of

“ The highlight of the ”

Games was riding with a wall of noise following me round the Velodrome

my event in training, so when it comes to racing there are no hidden surprises as to how I feel on the bike or how my body reacts to a certain effort.

What sort of setup and bike do you use for training and racing? On the track I’m fortunate enough to ride British Cycling’s UKSI track bike, which is pretty amazing. On the road I use a Giant TCR Advanced SL.

How has competing as a Paralympic athlete changed for you over the years? For a start we’re more recognised now. When I first competed in 1996 the amount of coverage the Paralympics got was pretty minimal, but with every Games since this has increased until we got to London. The build-up coverage was equal to or even more than we’d ever had, and that was before the flame had even been lit. During

the Games, it was massive, and the public really started to recognise Paralympic athletes and their sporting achievements.

How is your cycling team, Para-T Cycling, going?

The team has been pretty quiet this last year, but individually we’ve had some amazing rides from the Para-T riders at the World Championships and Paralympics. We managed to win four national titles, three world track titles, and two Paralympic golds. In 2013 we’re going to get in a bit more racing domestically and in Europe, and hopefully we’ll have some riders at the Para-Cycling World Cup round in Segovia too.

What are your plans for 2013? I’m actually working on another team project for 2013. I’m helping to put together a UCI track trade team, and will be racing alongside Matt Crampton and David Daniell at World Cup events this year. We’re currently looking for partners and sponsors that can help make it a reality. But to be able to race at able- bodied World Cups will certainly continue to push me to bigger and better things, and also give the other guys more chance to race, something a lot of riders feel like they miss out on. It’s all very well training, but if you don’t have something to train for, motivation can be pretty tough with no end goal.

What words of advice and encouragement do you have for aspiring cyclists? I’ve always had the mantra to give 100%, 100% of the time. Whether that’s the reason I have 11 World and five Paralympic titles to my name, I’m not sure, but I’m sure it’s helped. Also, if you’re working towards a goal, then you need to be able to take something from every training session, knowing that something you did in that session made you a better rider. As with every small improvement, you get a step closer to your specific target.

And finally, where’s your favourite place to cycle?

I love the Sa Calobra road in Majorca – the snake-like way the road twists and turns, it’s just one of those iconic looking roads that begs to be ridden.

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