Peloton Watch
  Anna Christian has her eye on Rio Olympic selection in 2016  
  January 12th 2016  
  After claiming the British junior national title in 2013, Anna Christian made her debut at a major competition at the Commonwealth Games the following year and turned professional with the then Wiggle Honda squad in 2015.

A broken collarbone and wrist in November 2014 interrupted Christian's start to 2015. Despite the early set back Christian who combined her season with British Cycling Olympic Academy in addition to Wiggle Honda went from strength to strength.

With a season including a mix of UCI races in Europe as well as domestic racing in Great Britain, from spring classics to criteriums, to a World Cup at GP de Plouay-Bretagne and a hilly stage race at La Route de France it has given Christian a great introduction in to the professional peloton.

After impressing at the 2014 UCI Road World Championships and Commonwealth Games, Christian has her eye on making the British team for the 2016 Olympic Games. With the current depth of talent in Britain and the small team size she is aware of the challenge of the task. Christian who has re-signed with the now Wiggle High5 squad for 2016 is hoping for a strong start as she puts her name forward to selectors.

PelotonWatch: How old were you when you first started cycling and why did you take up the sport?

Anna Christian: Cycling has been something I've done since I can remember! I started young at around the age of five at the youth Isle of Man cycling league (run by Dot Tilbury). From there the enjoyment started and I got more involved, I started to go away to the national races with the Manx youth team, and it went from there into the junior races and onto senior.

PW: Competed at the Commonwealth Games for the Isle of Man in 2014 finishing top 20 in both the time trial and road race what was the experience like?

AC: I loved the racing at the commonwealth games and I was really happy with the results I came away with. Being my first games and big international races I really didn't know how I'd do. It was great to get stuck into the road race. It was good to be apart of the Manx team, which is always a laugh with everyone.

PW: Earned a contract with Wiggle Honda for 2015. What did it mean to turn professional with one of the top women's teams?

AC: I was really happy to turn professional with Wiggle Honda. They are a great team with such experienced riders and staff. So it was the perfect environment for me to develop and learn as a rider. It's great to see how much they've grown and succeeded as a team over the past three years, and become world number one for 2016. I remember when the team was first set up and I really looked up to the Wiggle girls as inspiration, so it's cool to be apart of that now.

PW: Broke your collarbone and wrist in November 2014. How did this impact your preparation and start of your 2015 season?

AC: Breaking my collarbone and wrist at the end of November set me back in my winter training by a lot more than I thought it would. I was off the bike a lot longer than I wanted to be (five weeks in the end). I went out to Majorca when I could ride on the road again, and came back with a bad knee, which was another set back. I therefore started the season further behind than I would of liked to have been with a lot of catching up to do.

PW: Didn't race a lot in 2015 was it always the plan to ease you in to racing at the highest level?

AC: I did a mix of racing in Europe with the team and racing in British national races last year. They gave me a mixed programme, with a lot early season. I was happy to do whatever races they raced me in, as I guess it's always adding to experience. This year I'm hoping to do a few hillier races suited to me.

PW: Got a mix of racing though from spring classics to a World Cup in GP de Plouay-Bretagne and a hard stage race in La Route de France. Happy with your programme?

AC: Yes, the team gave me great opportunities to ride these races in my first year. I've taken so much from them and hopefully in the future I can go to these races looking for a result.

PW: Raced alongside and against some of the top names in the sport. How important do you think that experience is going to be for the future?

AC: Wiggle-High5 is full of the top names in women's cycling. It's great to call them teammates and learn from them. Being the youngest on the team, it's nice that they are such humble people and it's never intimidating to ask them for advice.

PW: Spent 2015 based in Wales with the British Cycling Olympic Academy while racing with Wiggle. Different environment how did you find it?

AC: Going on the to British Cycling Academy and stepping up to the professional ranks with Wiggle-Honda was a huge step and a big change for me in 2015. I went on to the programme with a clear focus on the road, and although it's a road and track programme they were good for letting me predominately do the road. I found it a change coming from the Isle of Man where there are so many people to go out training with to going out by myself for road rides most of the time. I also had a new coach and a different training routine than I had the previous year.

PW: You have re-signed with Wiggle High5 for 2016 why did you want to remain with the team?

AC: When I was offered an extension to my contact I didn't hesitate to say yes. It's a great supportive team with amazing sponsors. I'm really looking forward to another year racing in the black and orange!

PW: Had a team camp at the end of 2015 how did it go and what are your goals for this year?

AC: I really enjoyed the team camp. It was held in Calpe, Spain, I've never been there before - it's an amazing place to ride a bike. The roads in that area are amazing with some challenging climbs, which I loved. It was great to all get back together again for some training. Also with the new riders on the team joining, it was good to see them before the season. It's always good to get away from the wind and rain for a bit and get some rides in shorts and jersey!

PW: 2016 is an Olympic year and with a hilly course is selection something you have your eye on?

AC: It would be a dream to make Rio and with it being a hilly course, I do have my eye on it. The British team is going to be a hard team to get on to. Hopefully with a race programme with hillier terrains, and being back on the Isle of Man with the same training and mindset I had in 2014, I can make an impression on the team.

PW: What is the biggest challenge you faced and the most important thing you learnt in your first year as a professional?

AC: My biggest challenge was the intensity of the racing. Last year as my first year as a professional I lived away from home, so I learnt how to do the washing!
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