Josh Andjelkovic is a civil engineering student at Loughborough University, and is spending the summer racing for UC Briochine in France. He talks to Adam Tranter about the lifestyle of a Brit abroad.
What are your plans after university?
I would like to come back to France and race for a few seasons and see where it takes me. I?d love to live here, whether it be because of my bike or not, but I think my French will have to improve for that. Hopefully racing and living here will help!
How did you get into cycling?
It was quite a long process really. My uncle took me on a ride, when he came to visit us when we lived in Belgium, on my auntie?s bike, when I was 15. That opened my eyes and I loved the speed and freedom from the start, but I was massively into my rugby at the time. The bike just became another tool for fitness in the off-season. It wasn?t until I was 17 that I decided to make it more than that. I joined my local club, Congleton CC. My fourth ride with them was 100 miles into North Wales and here I am now.
What are your goals while out in France on your break?
I didn?t really set myself any before coming, as I had no idea of the level and the style over here. All I wanted to do was improve as a rider. I?ve found my feet pretty quickly ? my first race I struggled to finish, and now I?m regularly in the main selection before it gets really grippy towards the death. The team seem really pleased with my progression and so am I. I think, with a bit of luck and some smarter riding, I could podium in a first cat race, which would be amazing for me. At the same time, I?m really enjoying riding for the team and just being useful.
Tell us a bit about the team
I?m racing for UC Briochine, based in St Brieuc. It?s a DN2 squad and has the usual set-up over here. We also boast having Johan Le Bon in our ranks, who is the current junior world road race champion.
What support do they give you?
Well, I get taken to all my races, I?m given free kit and all my entries are paid for. I think I?ve turned into a posh rider here; they don?t even let you carry your kit bag. When I turn up to a race pretty much all I have to do is get changed and put my numbers on. When I get back, my bike will be stickered up with useful information, such as where the climbs are on the course.
How is the lifestyle different?
It?s pretty much the same as at university, without the lectures. The people in general over here seem more relaxed than in the UK. Everything is a lot more chilled out and everyone is really friendly, which helps.
What?s your daily routine?
I try to get up for 9am and be on the bike by 10am, unless the weather is meant to be really good in the afternoon, in which case I?ll ride then. I don?t actually train that much here as I?m racing so hard and often. I?ll eat when I get back and stretch off. Then it?s downstairs for internet time; MSN, Facebook and forums! I probably snack again at around 4pm, and then have dinner at 8pm. I?m in bed by 11pm, unless I?m racing, in which case 10pm.