Britain’s newest Pro-Tour professional debuts for Footon-Servetti-Fuji. His training home is Spain, though, where he’s fluent in the lingo and likes the lovely ladies, too.

“If I lost my contract, it would be difficult to go back down to the amateur ranks – it’s just so much better as a pro. But I’d still train on the bike – once you’ve done it for so long, it’s in your blood and you just can’t get it out of your system. I did triathlon before – that’s where it started – but I just loved riding the bike.”

“I do worry about my weight. I’m working on it at the moment, trying to cut down, and I’ve lost
three kilos in two weeks; I’m only two kilos away from where I want to be at. At 70kgs, I can’t be a pure climber, but I’m also a time triallist.”

“The longest I’ve ever been away from home is six months, just racing and training in Spain a few seasons ago. I’m fluent in Spanish and it’s the only place I like to go for training, but I’m still English and I try to spend as much time as I possibly can there. It can get a bit lonely on my own.”

“In hindsight, I’d have taken up cycling a lot earlier, at 14, 15, and tried to get into the Academy squad in Italy. But I didn’t, so I had to make it on my own [in Spain] when I was a lot older. It’s been four years, and that made me as a person: it was really challenging, but I adapted to their culture and have come out of it a lot stronger.”

“My ideal night out wouldn’t be going out partying: it’d be taking an attractive girl, maybe a model, on a date, having a really nice meal and then going to bed too late! Since I came back from Spain in November, I haven’t been out partying once. On New Year’s Eve, I was in bed at 11! But even if I wasn’t a cyclist, I don’t really enjoy trashing myself.”

“If I wasn’t a cyclist, I’d be a skiing instructor, as I really enjoy being outside in the mountains. I always love meeting up with people afterwards, it’s a good social atmosphere.”

“The biggest influence on my life is my father as he encouraged me to take up cycling. My dad’s a very successful guy, and he has taught me that if you really want to do well, you have to sacrifice a lot. I’m a lot more dedicated and focused because of him. In terms of cycling, watching Lance Armstrong in the Tour de France really inspired me.”

“Lance Armstrong is the greatest cyclist ever, then Miguel Indurain. He was such a natural talent and is an absolute legend in Spain – a beast on the bike, but very gentle off it.”

“I’ve no pre-race superstitions as it affects your performance. In life, you make your own luck.”