EDINBURGH Road Club cyclist Ben Forsyth has told how Chris Froome’s successes in the Tour de France inspired him to become the new British Youth under-16 circuit champion.
Ben, from Musselburgh, defied heat and a challenging course along Blackpool’s North Promenade to finish first by 0.07 seconds in a 50 kilometre event previously won by Mark Cavendish, former world champion and BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
Said Ben: “After hearing the news about Froome and the Sky guys in the Tour ... I was determined to have a good race!
“My 25-lap race coincided with Froome having just taken the yellow jersey and that was a boost because I am a big admirer of what he has achieved.
“To know I am the first Scot in over 60 years to win the under-16 title was really pretty special.
“I can trace some of my success back to being invited to compete alongside Sir Chris Hoy at a Scottish Track Championship event in Glasgow’s Thunder Drome last November.
“The experience of competing in front of a big crowd that day gave me a lot of confidence.
“Even so, in Blackpool I got in with the leading group and when we still had eight or nine laps to go I was just hanging on. I saw two guys go off the front and the three of us managed to attack .
“I was shaking with nerves at the bell as I chucked my bottle to the side and tightened up my shoes. I was starting to think ‘what if’ entering the finishing straight, I had a burst of energy and then – I just couldn’t believe it!
“I wasn’t expecting it because my form had not been that great – my aim was to stay in the bunch and towards the end I suspected we were going to be caught. But it never happened and I just felt so strong.” After competing at the Thunder Drome Ben told the Evening News of his preference for being outdoors rather than inside.
“I’d love to be a professional cyclist and at the moment I get most pleasure from being on the roads and tackling hills.
“I really enjoy the adrenaline rush from racing and the way it keeps me fit,” he said.
Interestingly, Cavendish also started as a track cyclist before going on to be voted the Tour de France’s best sprinter of all time by L’Equipe newspaper. Ben, who was in Reading at the weekend contesting an omnium final, has his next challenge in the Errigal International Youth Tour of Donegal from August 3-5.
The event includes two open road races and a criterium round the centre of Letterkenny.