A MINUTE WITH: SAM HARRISON
The Welsh 15 year old did not register on the cycling radar until Talent Team coach Stuart MacDonald spotted his potential. Now the Cwmcarn Paragon rider is on the Olympic Development Programme
Sam, can you list what you have achieved in such a short career?
Well, I’m National Pursuit Champion, National Points Champion and I’m second in the Youth Circuit Series.
You managed to get within a whisker of the national record, didn’t you?
I was a second off it in the pursuit. I did that at the National Youth Track Championships, which was at the end of August.
What got you interested in cycling?
One of my mates used to race down at the Newport Velodrome and I just thought I’d give it a go and see how it went. I was spotted, got on the Talent Team and took it from there.
So was it a case of just giving it a go and you were hooked?
Yes, I gave it a go and found that I just loved it.
You are now on the Olympic Development Programme. How did that come about?
I had a letter saying I was not on it but then Darren [Tudor, BC’s ODP endurance coach] rang and said I had a place for next year and so I was happy — really happy. It was a big shock.
Does that mean that 2012 is now well and truly in your sights?
Well, yes, hopefully.
What have your parents thought about it?
Well, they have been great. They help me out a lot by transporting me everywhere. Everywhere I need to go, they are there, so that’s good.
So what is your usual, regular day? What do you do?
Well, my routine revolves around school because I’m still there. I’m taking 11 GCSEs — quite a lot! Hopefully, I will do quite well in my exams.
So it is difficult to fit things in?
Yes, it actually is with cycling and my schoolwork.
What is your ambition, then? To be a pro?
Yes it is, to be on a pro team. I need to get on the GB Academy next and then, hopefully, progress to a pro team.
What did you think about when you won your first title?
I was totally shocked. I had never been in a position like that before. I thought I would give it a go [individual pursuit] because I was targeting the points race and I was really pleased to get it. I still can’t believe it.