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Caithness cyclist runner-up behind his idol

By SPP Reporter

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John Paul narrowly lost out to Olympic medallist Chris Hoy.
John Paul narrowly lost out to Olympic medallist Chris Hoy.

A CAITHNESS world champion cyclist had to settle for second place last weekend after losing out to Olympic gold-medal-winner Sir Chris Hoy by just a bike’s length in a first-round sprint event.

Team GB rider John Paul – who is originally from Lybster but is now training at the Olympic Training Academy in Manchester – was racing on January 28 at the Revolution 36 event in the English city.

After the sprint qualifiers Paul found himself in the same heat as Hoy and Mickael Bourgain, of France, with the promising young cyclist – who picked up world and double European titles last year – finishing just behind his Scottish hero to take second place.

"It was good as I hadn’t peaked for that event or trained specifically for it," said Paul. "It was just an event that I went to and did, and I pretty much matched my personal best. So I was pretty pleased with how it went."

However, after the racing was done he also added to his ever-increasing trophy collection.

At the end of the night he was presented with the Chris Hoy Award, for the second time in three years.

"The trophy is given out every year to a Scottish rider who has got good results and who has performed really well in the last year," explained Paul.

"I got it two years ago and now I’ve got it again this year for my world and Euro wins. It’s a fantastic award as Chris Hoy is my idol and he’s pretty much the reason I started cycling"

Team GB took third place overall in the team sprint behind V-Sprint and the winners, Team Sky. Paul is pleased they posted a quicker time than the French.

He is currently enjoying some down time between training but is expected to return to the track next week as London 2012 nears.

Paul will be returning to another heavy block of training with the aim of inclusion in the Olympic squad his priority.

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