Scottish cyclist Grant Ferguson (17) has been riding for the best part of a decade, and after some impressive performances in 2011 he looks to be firmly set on the road to success.
Ferguson recently represented Great Britain in the Junior Peace Race in the Czech Republic where he was the top GB rider, finishing 16th overall. This performance in a field of 110 top international riders has resulted in him being named as the Commonwealth Games Scotland Athlete of the Month for May, jointly with hammer thrower Kimberley Reed.
Grant’s first competitive experience of cycling came in the mountain (MTB) discipline, following a move to the borders town of Peebles. “When I moved to Peebles I got involved in a kids club at Glentress. I started off at the age of eight, and I’ve been hooked ever since.” 2010 saw him crowned the Scottish MTB champion along with securing a place on the Olympic Development Programme. Grant now races on the road as well as down the mountain, and is aiming to make the Scotland team for the Isle of Man Commonwealth Youth Games in September.
Like every cyclist in the UK, Grant says Sir Chris Hoy is the rider he admires the most. “Obviously Sir Chris is the man when it comes to cycling, and I take a lot of inspiration from him.” Sir Chris has represented Scotland at the 2002 and 2006 Commonwealth Games winning a total of four medals, which is something Grant hopes to replicate one day.
Competing in multiple disciplines, Grant has a busy year ahead of him and he’s relishing the opportunities to develop. “I’m really looking forward to the British Championships on my mountain bike and I’m hoping to get a few top five finishes under my belt on the road”, he says. “I want to learn as much as I can over the next few months, and hopefully save my best form for the Commonwealth Youth Games in September.”
Ferguson already has experience of racing on the Isle of Man which he hopes will be to his advantage, having recently competed in the island’s Junior Tour where he finished 14th. The three day meet featured a time trial along the Douglas promenade, which is being used again in September, when it will undoubtedly be one of the highlights at the Games.
Grant says that “listening and learning” are amongst the key factors leading to his continued progress in cycling and he has some top tips for other young people looking to get involved in the sport. “My advice to anyone starting off in cycling is just to make sure you enjoy it”, he said. “You have to have fun in the sport, and keep setting yourself small goals to improve”.
The selection period for the 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games is currently open, with Youth Team Scotland athletes set to be announced on 9 August.