Hi everyone, I’m Benjamin Peatfield, I’m a 16 year old cyclist based in Bolton, England. As I’m writing this the whole of the UK is on lockdown. Fortunately for me here in the UK we are still allowed outside for 1 session of exercise per day. However we are unable to meet friends to ride with so I’ve been doing a lot more solo riding but also riding with my brother Isaac Peatfield whilst he’s home from university which is nice ! All schools have been closed and exams cancelled so this means I have now finished my time in secondary school, but I have plans to move to France to race, train and study next year which will be exciting.
I’ve been riding bikes for as long as I can remember, but my first race was at the age of 5. I had a silver Raleigh mountain bike that I would race criteriums on. At the age of 7 I got my first road bike and ever since then I have progressed to pick up some great results nationally and internationally. Cycling has took me to some amazing places and helped me meet lifelong friends and I can’t wait to get stuck into racing again once the world is back to normal. I love to ride all kinds of bikes from road to Mountain Bike I pretty much do it all !
Ever since I put my leg over a bike it has been a dream of mine to turn professional, but I never realised the possibility of it happening until I joined Van Rysel AG2R La Mondiale. Finally I can start to see steps falling into place which will help me achieve a life long goal of mine. I think with the help of the team over the next two years I will progress massively towards my big goal. The teams professional set up is great for progression of junior cyclists and I would recommend to anyone to jump on the opportunity to be a part of the team if it was ever presented to you.
The first race I ever watched on TV was Le Tour De France, and straight away I loved the chaos of the bunch sprints. Ever since I was young Mark Cavendish has been my idol in cycling, I loved his style and the way he would dominate the bunch sprints. I always aspired to be like him and I got the nickname of Mini Cav at the local races and training sessions due to our similar styles.
My favourite race has to be Paris-Roubaix. I think it’s the most exciting race on the calendar because of its unpredictability. I feel the race is one that would suit me in the future due to the sheer power and technical ability that is needed for the race. I love the fact that the winner will 9 times out of 10 have deserved it the most and completely emptied the tank.
For me when I first joined the team at the tail end of last year it was like entering a whole different world and like nothing I had experienced before. My first race with the teams support was at the Chronos des Nations in Les Herbiers, France. It was a great opportunity for me to go against the clock with some of the best cyclists for my age in the world and to finish 8th was a result I was happy with although I would’ve loved to win. The effort that has been put in by the team to accommodate two British riders (me and Oscar) has been insane and I really appreciate what everyone on the team has done for me. I think it’s a great setup within the team and the opportunities in races and training camps are unreal !
During this pandemic the team have been great in making sure the riders have the best possible experience and keep a good physical and mental state. We are offered various video conferences each day with current professionals, nutritionists, coach’s and people who will help us progress inside and outside of the sport whilst there are no races.
The hardest thing about joining the team for me has been the language barrier, but slowly with the help of the staff I am learning the french language, this will be a great asset for me to have in the future in the peloton and in the outside world.