A MINUTE WITH: JONNY BELLIS
The latest in a long line of champions from the Isle of Man, Jonny gave up hopes of playing rugby for England in favour of chasing dreams of glory on his bike.
You’ve had a pretty amazing year?
Yes, it’s been good, coming away with two European titles on the track, a bronze medal in the Under-23 Worlds road race, and then two national track medals.
Has it surprised you?
Yes and no. I knew I had potential to do quite well but didn’t expect it to come so early on.
Is it down to hard work?
It’s just doing what you’re told, being organised and living the right lifestyle. It all pays off in the end, if you’re patient the results will come.
When did you start cycling?
I was one of those guys that did lots of sports when I was young. At 15 or 16 I was really into my rugby, I played for Cheshire and had trials for England as a scrum-half. But living on the Isle of Man, it became difficult to travel over for weekly training sessions and then games at the weekend. My uncle Mike [Doyle] had been a professional rider, he said I should give cycling a good go and he would help with my training.
It moved on quickly from there?
He gave me a training programme, I got my first decent bike, rode my first serious race — the first round of the National Criterium Series — and won it. I won more and more and it’s continued from there.
The 2012 Olympics have to be a target?
Hopefully I’ll be there. Beijing is a bit too early, but who knows? The big aim in the next couple of years is to turn professional on the road and hopefully come back for the London Olympics.
What has been your best moment?
Definitely what happened in Stuttgart. You get quite used to winning medals on the track, but the road is different.
And your worst moment?
I tend to push anything like that to the back of my mind.
Do you have any sporting heroes?
I used to look up to Martin Johnson when I played rugby for the way he captained the England team and, on the bike, everyone’s choice is going to be Lance Armstrong.
Who would you most like to meet?
Jessica Simpson. I have a bit of a thing for her, a lot of the lads take the mickey out of me for it. Whenever she pops up on MTV I can’t stop myself from watching.
What was the last movie you watched?
Probably Gladiator — it’s a favourite of mine.
Your favourite music?
I like a bit of everything, but when I’m on the bike I like a bit of trance. I like Godskitchen and I’m into Timbaland’s new album at the moment.
What would you be doing if you weren’t cycling?
I’d be at university, studying something involving sport.
Any advice for youngsters coming into cycling?
Anything’s possible. Give it your best shot, be committed, and if you have the talent the results will eventually come your way.
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