Olympic dream setback for cyclist Chris Pritchard

Chris Pritchard has vowed to come back stronger after his accident
Chris Pritchard has vowed to come back stronger after his accident

SOUTH Normanton cyclist Chris Pritchard hopes he can get himself back on the track to success after being knocked off his bike in a road accident.

Track sprint cyclist Chris (28) enjoyed an extremely successful year in 2010, representing Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi and finishing third in the National Keirin Championships - where he beat the majority of the British sprint team.

But after being involved in an accident in Broadmeadows during a training ride a few weeks ago, he has missed some vital training and competition.

Chris said: “It was the day before I was supposed to go to Moscow to compete there.

“A guy turning right cut straight in front of me and there was nowhere I could go - I just hit the side of his car and went flying.”

Chris luckily did not break any bones but the impact was enough to wind him and bruise his ribs.

The accident meant that he missed the race in Moscow and one in Scotland, and although he is due to go and compete in Germany this weekend, he expects the lack of recent training to affect his performance.

Chris, however, has vowed to get back to his best and is off to America later this month for an 11-week track racing season, before competing in the National Championships in September in front of Great Britain team selectors.

And although Chris says that medalling at the next Commonwealth Games in Glasgow is his main aim, the London 2012 Olympics are of course still on his mind.

“London may be a bit too close,” he said.

“I am looking to Glasgow as my big target but if I happen to be in the right form, fitness and I perform, I am ready to go to London if they say I am needed.”

For Chris, the main obstacles for his cycling career are a lack of funding and not being part of the British Cycling academy.

The nearest cycle track is at the Velodrome in Manchester and not being in the GB team, his access to the track is limited, meaning most of his training has to be done on the road.

In 2009 he had the opportunity to train with the team alongside cycling greats such as Sir Chris Hoy, but he has not been offered further support from them.

“I am racing against the world’s best riders but I am not getting the funding and support that they get,” said Chris.

“It’s a big disadvantage but I am hoping if I keep plugging away, they can only say no a certain number of times.”

Chris, who has only beencompeting for three years, is always looking for support to help cover the costs of training, racing and equipment.

“The biggest barrier that’s holding me back is getting funding,” he said.

“I know how much talent and potential I have got but I can’t get it out there because I have not got the funding to get out there and get the equipment I need.”