ALTHOUGH he has been named on the 12-strong shortlist for BBC Sports Personality of the Year, Sir Chris Hoy will not be at the ExCel in London on 16 December for the show.
Like the other Scot in contention, Andy Murray, he will be training in sunnier climes – in Murray’s case in Miami, in Hoy’s at his traditional winter base of Perth.
“Not Perth, Scotland,” he clarified. “Australia.”
And, despite winning two gold medals at London 2012, bringing his total to six to surpass Sir Steve Redgrave, Hoy admitted that he cannot see a repeat of his 2008 SPOTY success. “I don’t think my odds are that great this year,” he said, before going on to explain that Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins has his vote.
“Bradley has to be the frontrunner,” said Hoy. “It’s tough on Andy Murray because what a year he has had. I have so much admiration for Andy and another name that really stands out for me, for personal reasons, is Katherine Grainger.”
The Glasgow-born rower is the third Scot on the shortlist.
“I’ve known Kath for several years,” explained Hoy, “and I know the adversity she has been through and the disappointments she has bounced back from. One of my highlights in London as a spectator was seeing her finally win an Olympic gold medal.”
When Hoy was named Sports Personality of the Year in 2008, after his three gold medals in Beijing, he was the first cyclist to have his name etched into the silver TV camera trophy since Tom Simpson in 1965. Now, astonishingly, Wiggins could become the third in five years, and the second in a row after Mark Cavendish last year.
“It is incredible to think that,” said Hoy. “As a cycling fan, it is amazing to see the sport you love doing so well. I hope Bradley wins, but I don’t want to put the cart before the horse. You wouldn’t be surprised if someone else did win, given all the success we’ve had this year, but I still think what Bradley achieved at the Tour de France, as a one-off sporting achievement, is the best thing we’ve ever seen in the UK.”
Hoy was in London to launch his own range of bikes, in partnership with Evans Cycles, the 90-year-old independent retailer. It is a project he has been involved with for 18 months and he insisted it will extend far beyond simply
having his name on the bikes.
Hoy intends to be fully involved in the development of a range initially comprising three road racing machines and four town bikes, with the first models in Evans’ shops in May.
Hoy will be able to devote more time to the project after his competitive retirement, but he remains undecided on when that will be. It could be February or following the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, or even later, if he decides to follow the Games with another attempt at the world kilometre record, which he hinted is a possibility, with Mexico the likely venue.
“By spring next year I’ll know whether I’ll compete in Glasgow,” said Hoy. “After the camp in Perth, racing in Rotterdam [in early January] and getting back into training in Manchester, I’ll very quickly know. If you’re having injuries and the body’s breaking down and, if the data tells me I’m not where I need to be, then I’ll know.
“The only way I’ll be there is if I’m in good condition. I’m not going for the tracksuit because I wouldn’t want to take the place of a young Scottish rider and deny them the chance of competing in a home Games.”