Tom sets sights on Euro success

TEENAGE cycling prospect Tom Castle has got his eyes firmly set on winning the 2012 European Cyclo-Cross Championships just minutes away from his Ipswich home.

Stuart Watson

TEENAGE cycling prospect Tom Castle has got his eyes firmly set on winning the 2012 European Cyclo-Cross Championships just minutes away from his Ipswich home.

The 16-year-old will have reached the peak age of 20 by the time the Championships arrive at Chantry Park just weeks after the London 2012 Olympics have come to a close.

He said: “It's fantastic news that an event as big as the European Championships will be just 15 minutes away from my house.


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“It definitely gives me added incentive to train even harder. I would love to be able to win an event such as this on a home track.”

Castle's progress is all the more exciting considering he only started the sport at the relatively late age of 13.

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Since then the Ipswich Bicycle Club rider has rapidly developed into one of the region's most exciting young talents.

This season, despite torn knee ligaments limiting his action, Castle has secured a number of top-10 finishes in the Junior National Cyclo-Cross Championships.

Steve Grimwood, event co-organiser for the 2012 European Championships, said: “One of the reasons why we have pushed so hard to get an event like this in Ipswich is to inspire people like Tom.

“This will be a great opportunity for us to show off our local riders on a European stage.”

This is the first time the European Championships will have ever been held in the UK and will also end a 20-year absence of an international cycling being hosted here.

Former GB rider Carl Thompson is the other co-organiser for the event and remembers racing at the 1992 World Championships in Leeds.

He said: “The European Championships always produce an incredible atmosphere.

“You can get anywhere up to 20,000 spectators watching these sort of events and we will be pushing hard to make sure that is the case here in Ipswich.”

Grimwood added: “Getting the Championships here is the culmination of ten years of hard work.

“The event will start right off the back of the London 2012 Olympics and hopefully interest in cycling will be on a high because of that.

“There will be a few refinements to the circuit between now and then, but most of the work will be organising the day so that we can produce the best Championships that have ever been held. We not only want to have a fantastic race, but also make sure we want to put on a really good day out for all of the people of Ipswich.”

Councillor Judy Terry, leisure portfolio-holder at the Borough Council, said: “I'm delighted for the town because this is going to encourage more people to take up cycling.

“We have already installed cycling routes in the principal parks which hopefully means that people like me that are a bit scared of riding amongst the town's traffic will have a chance to cycle.”

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