ABERGAVENNY cyclist Ffion James is hopeful that putting most of her eggs in the cyclo-cross basket can lead to more impressive results over the coming years.
The Welsh star represented Great Britain at this year’s U23 Cyclo-Cross World Championships, with an eleventh place finish offering plenty of encouraging signs for a rider who still has more years to come at this level.
That’s a challenge James, the younger sister of Olympic silver medallist Becky and para-cycling track world champion Rachel, is looking to go into head on.
Everything is now gearing up to when the World Championships next come around in February but, with a plethora of competitions to come before then, James junior is confident more success can come her way.
“The cyclo-cross was the biggest thing for me this year, I’m making more and more of a switch from mountain biking, and I’ve got another few years at this level,” said the 19-year-old.
“I’ve always done and liked mountain biking, I realised I enjoyed Cyclo-Cross more and was better at it so it made sense to focus on that, it seems to be paying off so far.
“It’s hard to put all your focus to both, the seasons roll into each other but it’s not always a seamless transition. I am still doing some mountain work, just not as much.
“My sisters have been really good for advice, I look up to them for all the achievements they’ve got and they’re great role models, nice ones to be able to have right there for you.”
James’ path to the top has also been helped by being part of the SSE Next Generation programme a couple of years ago.
That saw her receive crucial funding to be able to reach the next level, with workshops, training and tips from top athletes helping her to bridge the gap from junior to senior cycling.
That’s something the teenager believes has been invaluable in her development, hoping others can follow in her footsteps in order to reach the top of their sport.
She added, “I remember it being a massive help for me and so important, the funding allowed me to do things I probably wouldn’t have otherwise been able to do and race in events that I wanted to.
“Cycling is such an expensive sport when you add up the racing, the travel, entering competitions and the like, so the SSE Next Generation was a massive help.
“I’m lucky in that I do something I really enjoy, however good at a sport you are there is no point in doing it if you are forced into it, so I’d encourage people to try something and stick with it if they love it.”