Oscar Onley : « My dream is to become a professional rider »
Version française ici.
I am currently in lockdown in Scotland. I am very fortunate that I can still go outside for exercise so I do my training outside in the morning and stay at home the rest of the day. My school has been closed and my exams have been cancelled meaning I have now finish school as this was my last year. My daily life is quite similar to normal as I can still train outside but I have no school or races so I am not travelling anywhere.
I first started cycling when I was 10 years old. I have always watched le Tour de France on the TV before starting to compete at my clubs Time Trials. I really enjoyed them and wanted to race more and more so I started travelling further around Scotland to do Criterium races with other riders my own age. I have continued this and am now travelling round Europe racing my bike! This lockdown situation has made me realise what I love about cycling, I love the competition and the process of training but also the freedom and travelling that cycling has given me, I am really miss travelling to races with friends.
My dream every since I started cycling was to become a professional rider but never really believed it was possible until last year where things started to go well for me, I started winning races and getting notice from other people, such as Van Rysel AG2R La Mondiale. I think with this setup it will give me the best possible chance of becoming professional.
I was on a training camp in Girona in 2018 and I got to ride with James Knox he inspired me and made me believe that it was possible to go pro without going through the GB programme. I have enjoyed following his progress since then especially la Vuelta in 2019. My first memories of the Tour de France was the battles between Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador and both of those riders really inspired me when I was younger with their attacking style.
Obviously I love watching le Tour De France every year but my favourite race is probably the World Championships. It has a different course every year and always brings unpredictable racing and very deserving winners.
It was a big step for me when I first raced with the team last August but everyone in the team made me feel very welcome and I really appreciate the effort everyone has gone to to accommodate for a British rider. It is a fantastic team and I am experiencing a different culture compared to my team in Scotland. It has made me question some of the things we do over here and what we can improve. The opportunities we get with the team with the race calendar and training camps are fantastic. The team has been very good during this crisis to make sure we still keep in contact and have arranged lots of different video conferences with professional riders, nutritionists, ex team riders and coaches making sure we can still learn things whilst we take a break from racing.
Yes now that I have finished school I am taking more time to try and learn some french. Again David, one of the coaches, has been very useful and given myself and Benjamin french lessons every week. I also use Duolingo and have started watching some films on Netflix in French with English subtitles. It has been very difficult for me but I think it will be a great life skill for the future.