Jody Cundy is the latest Olympian to be added to the roster for season 10 of the Revolution Series track league, which kicks off at Manchester Velodrome this weekend.
The 34-year-old didn't place in the C4-5 Men's 1km time trial at the Paralympics back in August, a discipline he was expected to win, after what appeared to be a malfunction of the start gate. Officials didn't allow him to restart the ride leading to some infamous and not-safe-for-work scenes at the velodrome. However, he bounced straight back with Bronze in the C4 4km individual pursuit - riding the first 1km faster than the winning time the previous day - and he's looking forward to competing in the world's only elite track cycling league.
"The interest in cycling at the moment is sky-high, especially in Great Britain as we've dominated on the road and track," Cundy said. "The Revolution Series is also a brilliant way for fans to experience cycle racing live for the first time. There are sell-out crowds, frantic racing, the chance to see some of the best riders in the world along with a lot of promising young riders, all potential stars of the future. It's the perfect blend of action to ignite anybody's interest."
Cundy will ride in one of 12 elite teams at the Manchester Velodrome as the 10th season of the Revolution Series begins. He'll be competing against team pursuit Gold medalists Ed Clancy (Rapha Condor Sharp) and Steven Burke (IG-Sigma Sport), while British Time Trial champion Alex Dowsett will ride for Team Sky. Maxgear return to defend their title while Team Raleigh, IG-Sigma Sport and Endura-NetApp debut at the Revolution.
"The chance to race in able-bodied events really drives me as there is always someone better than me to race against," Cundy said of the track series. "That takes me out of my comfort zone and helps me raise my game. It's great to race people head-to-head and really get stuck in. Testing myself against Ed Clancy, Andy Tennant and Stephen Burke will be exciting, especially when you know how fast they are in a team pursuit. Hopefully I'll be up to the challenge but it's formidable for anyone. Especially for a sprinter like me in an endurance racers' world!"
Cundy sounds like he's come to terms with the disappointment of the 1km. "The Bronze really is a medal that means more than just a Bronze to me, there's such a story around it, and the way I won," he says. "The bronze helped exercise a lot of demons from the previous day's disappointment, especially when I rode the first 1km quicker than the winning time in the kilo, though I hadn't even gone flat out. The kilo for me feels like the one that got away but I hope to bounce back stronger and make amends in at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio - possibly at the 2014 Commonwealth Games too. Every time people have talked to me about London the response has always been the same, they've been very supportive... some have said I was restrained compared to what they'd have done. Which I have to say is slightly worrying!"
Although the Revolution series is a welcome opportunity to mix it with some of the best riders in the world, Cundy's focus is firmly set on 2014. "The next few months are a bit of a strange one, as we don't have a track World Championships to work towards in 2013, so it's all about 2014, which is pretty hard from a motivational point of view," he says. "But it gives me time to experiment with a few things and enjoy riding my bike. I'll start with building base fitness, to build the foundations for Rio. I'm just going through the review process at the moment and working out what worked, what didn't and how I can improve. I've got a lot of ideas, and its now about putting those into place and building the support network around me. It would be great to have a few more races in 2013, but the races need to be put on, and in a post-Paralympic year that's always going to be a difficult ask, especially as Para-Cycling is a minority sport compared to our Olympic counterpart."
ITV4 will show Revolution Series Round 1 highlights next Wednesday, 31st October at 8pm and the show will be available for catch-up in ITV Player.
Revolution Rounds 1-3 are sold out but tickets are still available for the fourth and final round at the new Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow on 2nd February 2013
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.