Beckingsale aims for a rare treble after injury woes
BRISTOL cyclist Oli Beckingsale is celebrating a remarkable double after adding the National Cyclo-Cross Series to his National Mountain Bike Series title – despite breaking his hip only 17 months ago.
The three-time Olympian, who lives in Backwell, missed out on appearing in London and representing Great Britain at a fourth Olympic Games as he was battling back from an injury that left him having to learn how to walk again.
But he has returned to form in spectacular fashion, clinching a National Cyclo-Cross and National Mountain Bike Series double that had not been achieved since 1995, when Barrie Clarke took both titles.
"I broke my hip in August 2011 and I was going for Olympic selection at the time, so it scuppered that," said Beckingsale.
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"But I had a lot of help from local businesses to get myself back, with (personal trainer) Andy Wadsworth and the Bristol Physiotherapy Clinic being particularly supportive.
"From there, I managed to get back to win the mountain bike series and then complete a double, with the National Cyclo-Cross title."
Beckingsale went into the final round of the six-stage cyclo-cross series in Derby last weekend with a two-point lead over his nearest rival Paul Oldham – and secured a third-place finish in the final race to take the title.
"Since I came back, I have enjoyed it more than ever," said the 36-year-old.
"I have been racing full-time for 15 years but having hurt myself, and having had to learn to walk again, getting back to a similar level I was at before is a different type of achievement. In some ways, it is even more rewarding."
Beckingsale, who has a full, professional contract with Endura for the coming year, will aim to secure a hat-trick of titles when he competes in this weekend's one-day National Cyclo-Cross Championship in Bradford. However, he has acknowledged the challenge that will be posed by Belgium-based cyclo-cross expert Ian Field in Sunday's hour-long race in Yorkshire.
"I do a bit of everything – mostly mountain biking – but he is a cyclo-cross pro," said Beckingsale. "It is a massive sport in Europe, particularly in Belgium and Holland, and it is raced on park-style circuits, whereas I prefer going up big hills.
"It would be fantastic to complete a treble this weekend, particularly as the double I just achieved hadn't been done by anyone since 1995."
In addition to his achievements on his bike, Beckingsale has recently set up a cycling centre – www.bwcycling.co.uk – based at Brunel Lock in Bristol.
The treble Olympian has teamed up with fitness trainer Wadsworth to provide "the complete cycling experience" that offers everything from bikes and accessories to a workshop, fitness testing, a sports clinic and personal training.
He added: "It's quite a bit more than just a shop and it's keeping me busy. It's there if someone simply wants to come and buy a bike, right up to using our expertise on cycling and fitness."