Ciara Horne Interview

 

We had the pleasure of catching up with Ciara just after the World Championships and we talked to her about winning, losing and being part of the BC set up

 

GB Team Pursuit squad: L-R Katie Archibald, Laura Trott, Elinor Barker and Ciara Horne

 

Ciara’s first athletic endeavours were as a swimmer and she showed real promise before a shoulder injury forced her to rethink her sporting endeavours.  She initially turned to triathlon and was an almost instant success, finishing 8th at a Junior World Cup – her first competition and shortly after that it became clear that her strength was on the bike leg and so she decided to focus on cycling. 

 

For Ciara, 2014 was her breakout year, she was selected to join the all-conquering team pursuit squad and with them she has netted two World Cup wins and a European Championship title.  She also make the selection to be part of the squad that went to this year’s World Championship in France and now she had her sights firmly set on Rio.

 

She might be the new kid on the block in the GB squad, but we have had the pleasure of knowing Ciara for a few years now.  As a competitor she is a consummate professional and one of the nicest people you could hope to meet, so it is our pleasure to talk to her and understand what life is like as part of the most successful team in the GB squad.

 

 

BE: It is so impressive that you completed your physiotherapy qualifications whilst also competing all over the world – how hard was that to manage?

 

CH: It was very difficult but thankfully I had an incredible team behind me helping me throughout. Birmingham University were really supportive, allowing me to extend placement weeks in order to get the number of hospital hours in required for my degree and they ensured I was based in a hospital setting close to home to reduce time travelling.  Equally my coach at the time, Darren Tudor, was very understanding and we ensured that the balance was achieved.

 

 

BE: How did you manage to break into the GB squad? 

 

CH: I had a trial with the squad in May 2014 and thankfully that was successful.  As a result I moved Manchester in August that year.  I had a bit of a set-back in June when I crashed and broke my ribs right before the Commonwealth Games, so there were no results for me at the games for me but thankfully the trial had gone well and that was enough.

 

 

BE: How easy/difficult has it been fitting into such a successful team?  Have you felt like the “new girl”? 

 

CH: It hasn't been easy physically because all the girls are exceptional athletes and I have had to really try and step up in order to keep with them!  But in terms of feeling like the "new girl", I can honestly say I haven't felt like that.  I knew the girls pretty well before I moved to Manchester and had previously visited regularly to see my boyfriend (sprinter Luj Oliva), who is also on the squad.  So I was pretty familiar with a lot of people and in truth everyone has made me feel very welcome which made the process a lot easier.

 

 

BE: You have been competing internationally at the UCI World Cups for a while now, originally as part of the Welsh USN team, is it different being part of the British Cycling set up?

 

CH: I don't think that it is that different between Team USN and BC; both teams are very professional about how they perform and consider all the marginal gains.  The obvious difference is that I am now fortunate enough to be able to compete in the Great Britain skinsuit which is a huge honour and something I will never take for granted.  Consistency is crucial.  For me, remaining healthy and avoiding injury are key.  Last year I had plenty of setbacks and missed a lot of training through injury.

 

 

BE: I’m guessing it’s all about Rio now – how real does that feel to you?  Do you feel like there is lots of competition within the squad for the places?

 

CH: Everything the team does is aimed at performing in Rio.  For me, to compete at the Olympic Games would be a dream come true and something I am working exceptionally hard towards.  There are a lot of girls in the fight for the team pursuit spots.  Dani King is currently focussing on road commitments with Wiggle Honda but she will be back.  Equally, the British Academy girls who are based in Wales are all big talents with big futures and they will also be aiming at getting on the team too.  Ultimately, there are a lot of girls fighting for four spots and I certainly want to do everything I can to get one of them.

 

 

BE: Winning the European Championships must have been a huge buzz – how do you celebrate your success?

 

CH: I didn't get a chance to celebrate as a few weeks later we were off to Mexico for a World Cup!  Although I did have a lovely meal out with my family and boyfriend.

 

 

BE: How has losing the Team Pursuit title at the World Championships this year affected the team and what is the mood in British Cycling now that the championships are over?

 

CH: I think that as a team we are hungrier than ever to achieve gold next year at both the Worlds in London and in Rio at the Olympic Games.  The Australians performed exceptionally well at worlds but we have to stick to our plan and focus on ensuring we continue to get stronger as a team for next year.  Overall, the mood in the BC camp is great, we are off on a training camp to Valencia and have all been cracking on with a hard block of gym and road since the world championships. 

 

 

BE:  Who are your biggest fans and why?

 

CH: My parents.  They are always there for me.  They have taught me very important life values and my brother and sister of course!  They have always encouraged us to work hard and chase our dreams.  

 

Their advice is "the harder (and smarter) you work, the luckier you get".  They also encouraged me to get a good education and complete my degree which I'm so glad I did.

 

 

BE: Do you have any role models from cycling or other sports? 

 

CH: Sir Chris Hoy; I read his autobiography and learnt so much from that.  He is a true legend in the sporting world and defines sportsmanship.  Paula Radcliffe and Kelly Holmes are equally sporting legends who I have found inspirational because they have overcome injury after injury – they have both refused to give up on their dreams.

 

 

BE: Do you have a little luxury that you allow yourself track centre?

 

Hmmmm...... Recently, Joanna Rowsell's heater from home as it was so cold!!!!

 

Thanks Ciara and we will follow her progress with interest as we head towards the next summer Olympics in Rio next August.

 

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