Peloton Watch
  British track sprinter Rosie Blount ready for new challenge of medical school  
  September 15th 2015  
  British track sprint cyclist Rosie Blount, a member of the British Cycling Olympic Academy Programme announced earlier this month that should we leave the programme to take up a place studying medicine.

20-year-old Blount has been cycling competitively since she was sixteen. "Initially I started as a way of improving the bike leg of my triathlons which I did from age 7, said Blount. "I quickly got hooked on it and enjoyed racing all the disciplines as a youth, and discovered my strength lay in sprint cycling.

In 2012 Blount claimed the 500m time trial national title in 36.305secs and finished third in the sprint. 2013 and a move to the Olympic Academy Programme before her international debut in 2014 and a bronze medal in the team sprint at the Under 23 European Track Championships. The past 12 months have been a new challenge for Blount as she raced as a senior at the European Championships in Guadeloupe and a month long stint racing in the United States in June this year.

Despite moving on to new challenges Blount is full of praise for the support she has received "I want to thank everyone that has helped me at British Cycling and as cheesy as it sounds my family, for their support in whatever I do."

PelotonWatch: You joined the British Cycling Olympic Academy Programme towards the end of 2013 how important a step was this for you?

Rosie Blount: Really important, and very exciting. I joined the academy programme in 2012 but I was still completing my A levels at the time so trained at home, with the occasional track session with the squad. I moved up to Manchester October 2013, which was a big step up - both in terms of living away from home & having the training load of a full time athlete. Getting on the squad gave me the chance to train on the track 3x a week which I'd never had, along with having access to some of the best coaches, support staff and kit in the world which was kind of surreal.

PW: Bronze medallist in the team sprint at the Under 23 European Championships in July 2014 what does this result mean to you?

RB: The U23s was my first international competition so it was awesome to medal with my teammate Katy Marchant. Although a little part of me is still gutted we didn't get silver, as in the final we posted the second fastest time. Still it is my best result, in my favourite event and it's always nice to share that with a good mate.

PW: You were then selected for the Elite European Championships in Guadeloupe in October what was it like racing against some of the best in the World?

RB: Hard! Them girls are fast! And the weather in Guadeloupe is somewhat unpredictable. But those championships were an awesome experience. It was really cool being part of the team at a top-level competition and getting stuck into the racing, even if I was slightly out of my depth.

PW: You spent June this year racing in the US with Dannielle Khan what was the experience like and how did the racing go?

RB: America was brilliant. Danni and I were out there on our own for most of it so it was nice to be independent and look after ourselves through the training and racing. We also got chance to hang out with riders from around the world like the New Zealand & Dutch team which was fun - sometimes at more major competitions inter team socialising is limited to evil glares... The racing was good though, there was a tough women's sprint field so it was hard getting through the rounds - with it being such a strength based sport the older girls often have the advantage of more years in the gym behind them, but it was a great learning experience and we got chance to try some endurance races out which was a fun (although my lungs might not agree...)

PW: Announced you are leaving the Olympic Academy Programme and going to medical school. What was behind the decision?

RB: Whilst I've given it my everything, I've not made the progress that I wanted/needed to over these last couple of years. I'd make headway in some areas, like strength in the gym, but then not in others. I had a couple of setbacks along the way like breaking my thumb just before National Track Champs last year, and unfortunately it never came together to get the results. My coaches knew that I had a place at university that I'd eventually lose, and having discussed it we decided it was time for me to move on.

PW: Was it a difficult decision to make?

RB: It was a difficult decision to make as I love being part of the squad and have been lucky enough to do what I love everyday as a job, so ideally it would have turned out differently (and I'd be the fastest cyclist the world has ever seen...) However I was fortunate to have a place at Leeds Medical School, which I'd applied for during sixth form & have been able to defer up to this point - and medicine is something that I'd really love to do - so whilst I'm gutted about leaving, I'm also really excited for that.

PW: In your two years with the Olympic Academy Programme what is your best memory or achievement?

RB: The U23 and Senior Europeans are up there, I also have really fun memories from training camps in Cottbus & day to day jokes with the team.

PW: And the biggest challenge you faced?

RB: Living the athlete lifestyle. I soon realised the hardest part of being a full time athlete is nailing the recovery - so eating right, sleeping lots and putting your feet up between training. It can get a little dull, especially when everyone else your age is out partying every night, but then we were provided with Sky+, which is a good deterrent for never leaving the sofa.

PW: What are you going to miss most?

RB: The team. I've made some great friends up here in the sprint and endurance squads and it will be weird not training/chilling/eating protein pancakes with them everyday.
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