This year’s shortlist for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year includes three female cyclists – Dame Sarah Storey, Laura Kenny, and Kadeena Cox. The winner will be announced live, following a public vote, on Sunday December 18.
On a star studded list of just sixteen contenders across all sports - shortlisted by an expert panel - we feel women's cycling has done pretty well. We will be catching up with some of the contenders to hear their views on being nominated in advance.
Here, Laura Kenny (nee Trott) tells us how she feels following her nomination and ahead of the big vote...
Words: Maria David
What is your reaction to your nomination?
It’s great. I just cycle, I don’t try and get those awards. I’ve never been to the SPOTY awards, and I’m looking forward to going.
What are your thoughts on having a number of women among the nominees?
Having Sarah (Storey) and Kadeena (Cox) in the nominees is great for cycling and also great for women’s sport. There’s loads of women up for it, and with the hockey team up for the team event it just goes to show that there are so many more women idols out there now.
Are there any other cyclists that you think could have been on the list?
I do think Chris Froome should have been included in the nominations, but because of how strong the Olympic squad was, that would make it hard to choose sixteen athletes. So for the panel to have to narrow it down was difficult anyway. And as it is, there are already four cyclists up for the awards so that makes quite a few cyclists already.
You have just won the Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year (SWOTY) too. How does it feel to have become a household name?
It’s been great I had never even been nominated for a SWOTY either. It feels weird though as you don’t really do it for that. You do it because you want to win races. But if you can give back and inspire the next generation it’s something that is a great thing that comes with it.
Have you noticed other people around you getting inspired to take up cycling?
Oh, definitely. Cycling has grown so much since I first started. It’s so much bigger now.
What has been your high point off the bike?
Well, being an Olympic year I didn't actually do anything else with my life for such a long period of time. But while on honeymoon, I climbed a mountain in Switzerland called Mount Rigi. It took three and a half hours with both the dogs pulling me up. I had never walked for three hours let alone going up a mountain!
"I had never walked for three hours let alone going up a mountain!"
What challenges have you had to overcome this year?
Trying to defend my title in the Olympics is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I totally underestimated how hard it was going to be. When you step up at your first games it’s all fun and new. Then all of a sudden you’re in the limelight and all eyes are on you to take gold. We were lucky that the World Championships in London were prior to the Rio Olympics so I could experience the pressure there beforehand, so I knew what to do. I was very lucky that I didn’t have any injuries during the year.
"I haven't got any [2017 objectives]. I'm not going to put pressure on myself to ride the World Championships."
What are your objectives for next year?
I haven't got any. I'm not going to put pressure on myself to ride the World Championships. If I think I can be competitive then I will put my hand up for selection. But if not, I am not going to cram and rush my training, so that I can be ready. Four years is a long time and I want next year to be a relaxed one. I will be taking part in the National Madison Championships in January with Emily Nelson though. I’ve never done it before and I haven’t trained much for it, but I’m really looking forward to it. The Madison is a new event for women, and in the future I would really love to do it with either Elinor, Katie or even my old team mate Dani King.
Are you canvassing people to vote for you for SPOTY or will you be getting people to vote for your husband, Jason?
I’m getting people to vote for me! #TrottyforSPOTY
Voting takes place on Sunday 18 December - tune in to BBC One at 6.40pm. In the mean time, check out our interview with Dame Sarah Storey following her nomination.