EXCLUSIVE NED BOULTING INTERVIEW
We caught up with Revolution Series TV presenter Ned Boulting to look back on an astonishing sporting year in 2012, look ahead to 2013 and find out about his forthcoming book. Apparently it's not about cup cakes or fly fishing ...
Do you find it hard to believe how far British cycling has come in such a short time?
I think it's nothing short of extraordinary. It was only when I strolled down to the newsagent on the Monday after last year's Tour de France that I became aware of the extent to which cycling, and Bradley Wiggins, had become front page news. I am used to returning home after a month to find people are neither knowledgable nor interested in where I've been. That's all different now. Very, very suddenly.
2012 was an incredible year of sport and cycling. Is it possible to pick out your favourite moment?
Two races, two winners. Dave Millar's stage win at the Tour; the first stage win he'd ridden clean. That meant a lot to those who have been close to him throughout his fall from grace, and his battle to win back credibility. And Alex Zanardi's two gold medals at Brands Hatch in the Paralympics. I developed a man crush on Zanardi which shows little sign of abating.
Team GB dominated at the Olympic velodrome. Looking to Rio in 2016, do you think other nations will catch up?
No. I don't. The virtuous circle of success has created a queue of talent just waiting its turn. If Andy Tennant wasn't good enough for the Team Pursuit team, that alone shows the ability available to Team GB coaches. And the funding's just gone up again. But ... Will there be any track cycling at the the 2020 Games? I'm not sure the IOC aren't looking for ways of dropping it. Just floating it out there.
The Revolution Series heads for Glasgow in February: it looks like a fantastic venue ...
It does. Scotland deserves a venue of that calibre. The levels of enthusiasm in the central Scottish belt for cycling are amazing. I've witnessed that at first hand. I hope it's packed out for years to come.
Rumour has it you are working on a new book: what's it all about?
I could tell you but I'd have to shoot you, sadly. But here are a few things it's not about: Fly fishing, cup cakes, The Red Arrows. It might be a little bit about Spandau Ballet though. There. I've said enough.
Are you excited for cycling in 2013? The Tour de France route looks pretty special.
I am delirious. I want to see Alberto Contador back to his best, this time without frying up any steaks. I want to see Tony Martin take over from Spartacus [Fabian Cancellara]. I want to see Pierre Roland, Thomas de Gendt, Mark Cavendish, Andy Fenn, Alex Dowsett. I want to see Jon Tiernan-Locke. And most of all, I want to see Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins arrive at the start line in Corsica without a clue who's going to win. I think that's what's going to happen, and I think it's going to be extraordinary.
Don't miss Revolution Series Round 3 highlights - ITV4 at 8pm on Wednesday 9th January