Famous Last Words: Matt Barbet

The ITV Daybreak presenter and the cycling fan talks about pre-ride nerves, climbing Alpe d’Huez and challenges he’s planning to tackle in the future

I always get nervous before a big ride. I’ve done a few sportives and semi-competitive events now and although I’m not an out and out racer, I think that you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t feel slightly nervous when you’re waiting on the start line.

>> Save up to 31% with a magazine subscription. Enjoy the luxury of home delivery and never miss an issue <<

I don’t get similar feelings when I’m about to go on air. I’ve been sitting in front of a camera long enough to not feel like that. Appearing on television is my work, cycling is my passion.

I rode the Etape a couple of years ago when it finished on Alpe d’Huez. I was middling mediocrity for it – I came home in six hours or so. My time up the Alpe was very slow. It was 36°C, and just like Chris Froome, I hadn’t eaten enough that day. I bonked on about the seventh hairpin. More recently, I’ve ridden London to Paris, and Tours to London, which were for the Right to Play charity.

I’m eying up the Maratona in Italy. I’ve heard great things about that. There’s a ride in the States called Ride Oregon, which is a beautiful state and around 600 miles across seven days, which I’ve also got my eye on.

The ITV studios are on the South Bank, but I don’t actually ride to work for a couple of reasons. I get up at 3.30am each morning, and my bosses would worry that I wouldn’t turn up, or I’d be late if I punctured.

What I tend to do is ride after work. If my daughters are in nursery and my wife is at work, I can get out for a good three to four-hour training ride. I aim to do that twice a week. I’m also a weekend warrior; I normally head out on Sundays.

When I was young I watched the Tour avidly on television. I can vividly remember Stephen Roche winning the race in 1987 – it’s funny that Phil Liggett is still the voice of cycling all these years on.

I actually moved away from cycling for a long time, and I ran the London Marathon four years ago. I found it hurt too much, and I decided I was probably better built for a low-impact sport like cycling and I took it up again. I ran the marathon in 4-12, and I was aiming for 3-45. It all went belly up around 17 miles in. It feels like unfinished business, but RideLondon went some way to satisfying that itch.

This article was first published in the September 5 issue of Cycling Weekly. Read Cycling Weekly magazine on the day of release where ever you are in the world International digital edition, UK digital edition. And if you like us, rate us!