Exmouth cycle star Will Tidball targets Olympic glory

PUBLISHED: 15:16 10 October 2018 | UPDATED: 15:16 10 October 2018

Will Tidball in track action. Picture klementdesign UCI

Will Tidball in track action. Picture klementdesign UCI

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Exmouth cycle star Will Tidball has made a giant stride towards his ultimate ambition of winning Olympic gold with the news that he is one of 25 riders who will step up to train with the Great Britain cycling team’s senior academy programme and senior squad for the 2018-19 season.

Will crossing the finishing line. Picture klementdesign UCIWill crossing the finishing line. Picture klementdesign UCI

Opportunity knocks for the 18-year-old, who has worked so hard to get where he now is – resident in Manchester and working full-time with the rest of the GB cycle squad.

Will, whose family home is in Exmouth, started riding at the age of eight months on his trundle car and by the age of two was comfortably executing 360 degree turns on his ‘bunnie-bike’.

He entered his first off-road cycling competition when he was three and moved to cycle speedway at the age of six. Within two years he had become national champion at cycle speedway – he went on to retain the title through until he was 14!

In 2016, Will obtained a coveted place on the Elite GB Olympic Development Squad as a junior rider. Will also became National Points Champion and currently holds the trophy previously won by Bradley Wiggins in 1995.

Will Tidball in the thick of the track action. Picture klementdesign UCIWill Tidball in the thick of the track action. Picture klementdesign UCI

Now, of course, Will has moved up to Manchester and, speaking to the Journal just before he made the move, he said: “When I got the call-up I was delighted and relieved. I’ve worked for the past two years to get to this position and so to be selected really is a dream come true!”

So, now that he has to up sticks and move from his Exmouth home to live and train in Manchester, how does he feel? He says: “Of course, I am going to miss my family and I keep being told it’s ‘cold up north’! I will also now have to be cooking my own food, which is going to be a challenge. On the plus side, I will be sharing accommodation with three other senior riders and I am sure they will be able to ‘show me the ropes’.”

As for the change of environment, it was a sudden and sharp shock to the system, as Will explained, saying: “My first week in Manchester involved fitting in a full 23 hours of intense training, which is a big step up for me. There’s also lots of desk work learning about nutrition and how to fuel my body to get the most out of it.”

So what’s been his greatest motivation thus far in terms of the cycling? Will says: “My main inspirations probably have to be Bradley Wiggins, who made me want to become a track and road cyclist, along with my family, who encourage me to graft hard and have always been great champions of the harder I work then the result will be forthcoming.”

A young Will Tidball. Picture CONTRIBUTEDA young Will Tidball. Picture CONTRIBUTED

On his general riding, Will adds: “I’ve been riding a bike for longer than I can walk. I was always trying new tricks and just having freedom and fun.”

So, what about any downtime and relaxation when he has time away from the race track or the classroom? Will says: “Right now cycling seems to be full on and almost taking up every waking second. However, I do also enjoy surfing and skating along with the occasion swim. I used to play rugby, but sadly the body for rugby isn’t similar to that of a cyclist so I had to make a decision to stop.

“As for relaxing, I’d have to say I love spending time with my family and meeting up with friends and I also really like visiting new places and trying new things.”

Apart from the obvious – Olympic glory – is there anything else you have written down on your ‘plan to do’ list? To which Will replies: “Win the Tour de France!”

Will Tidball in the thick of the track action. Picture klementdesign UCIWill Tidball in the thick of the track action. Picture klementdesign UCI

Last, but certainly not least, Will is very keen to say a huge thank-you to a number of people and businesses that have been so instrumental in helping him towards his new current status as a member of the GB Cycle team.

He says: “I would like to say a massive thank you to all my sponsors, who are too many to list, but that have all helped get me to where I am.

“Also special mentions to Exmouth Cycles and my family for supporting me through thick and thin.”

You can follow what is sure to be an exciting future for Will, on and off the track, via his Instagram and Facebook – the latter can be found under ‘Will Tidball 1066’.

A young Will Tidball in cycle speedway action. Picture CONTRIBUTEDA young Will Tidball in cycle speedway action. Picture CONTRIBUTED

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