World Cup Countdown – The Brits: Alex Paton


Alex Paton returns to World Cup competition as an Elite and the Durham National Trophy winner is in good form …

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World Cup Countdown – The Brits: Alex Paton

NOTE: Send your results as well as club, team & event news here

Alex is a young rider who was a prominent junior in all sorts of racing before taking time out of the sport when he started working. His comeback started to gather pace in 2014 with some great rides in the Tour Series and other pro races but he really surprised at Durham, me at least, when he took time out of the inform ‘cross riders like Jody Crawforth and Ben Sumner.


Paton hit the front, opened a gap and was never caught, showing the type of form that will stand him in good stead this Saturday in the World Cup. Curious, I went back to look at some of Alex’s results from the past and in 2007 he was winning Junior races in the London Cross League, racing Mountain Bike Worlds, and winning road races too.

Oh, and he was British Junior ‘cross champion! Scott Thwaites was second, Jonny McEvoy third and David Fletcher 4th! Names there eh!

The winner of the Hillingdon Grand Prix in 2014 who was also third in the ultra-competitive round 8 of the Pearl Izumi Tour Series, came back to the sport in the latter part of 2012, taking a win in the London League soon after. I spoke to Alex before his dominating ride at Durham and the confident young rider admitted “I am not massively surprised by selection but it was always going to be a tough call to make the selection because there are a lot of good guys at the front of the bikes races now”.

“When I got the nod, I was so chuffed; really pleased. A lot of the people I work closely with also knew it was in the balance whether I’d get a ride and when I did, that was a great reward for all the hard work all of us have put in”.

“It is something though that I had aimed to get selection for and to have a decent ride. When I first saw there was going to be a World Cup at Milton Keynes, a long time ago, I thought it would be cool to watch and then it occurred to me if I’m going, I may as well try and get a race”.

“Coming into the cyclo cross season, I decided I really wanted a place on the start line of the World Cup and turned my attentions towards trying to gain a place. Not completely aware of what of what was needed to make the selection, I planned to race the National Trophy series and show myself as best as possible. It seems to have paid off for selection, so now I need to continue towards the event with the same focus.”

Those who follow road cycling will know that Alex was one of the leading riders for his team Pedal Heaven (2014) and he had a busy year. When asked if he managed to get a break between the road and cross season’s, he replied “a little”.

“A lot of riders come off the road season and pretty much shut down for at least two weeks and I did have some chill out time and then gradually, carried on the training as the focus was for Milton Keynes”.

Was Alex pleased with his road season? “Massively pleased! At the start of the road season , I hadn’t imagined I’d have the good results I had. It came from a lot of hard work and has been a massive learning curve”.

“The summer was my first ever full road season and I really enjoyed it. Being towards the front of big bike races is what I love and to be able to do that after almost five years off the bike is a great feeling. I plan to race all UK national Cyclo-Cross events along with this round of the World Cup. If I have the results and form to make other major ‘cross events a possibility, I will almost certainly make the most of the opportunities.”

Asked what was the reason to come back to the sport after a successful period as a youth and junior, Alex says “I saw Bradley Wiggins win the 2012 Tour de France and the Olympics and that inspired me to ride my bike again. Now I want to win bike races again and its hard work to get back to this level”.

“I stopped working full time at the beginning of this year and Pedal Heaven have given me massive support and allowed me to not have to work although I do a little but it’s definitely not a proper job!”

Cyclo-cross, as anyone who has come off the road and onto the grass will say, is quite a different discipline. More a time trial on grass, especially if you’re out front and a full on hour long effort. Asked about regaining the skills when he came back, Alex says “I had to spend a lot of time with the cyclo-cross bike and riding in the mud again. Having not ridden off road all summer, it took a bit of getting used to but once you get that feel for it, you’re back in the flow of it”.

“But for sure, I was a bit rusty!”


Alex says he’s really looking forward to the weekend in Milton Keynes racing in his team’s colours. “I am looking forward to it being a World Cup in the UK and UK crowd where there is more of a connection. It will be a cracking atmosphere”.

“No matter how near the front or back of the race I am, I know the UK crowd is going to be amazing and it will be a great feeling whilst racing! It’s quite an odd feeling when I think how long ago I last raced a World Cup and racing here is going to be a big step up for me, but I’m looking forward to the challenge!”

After years of riding internationals for GB as a Junior, this will be his first elite level World Cup but admits having done them as a Junior, that will help him deal with the pressures. “Racing at the top level internationally as a junior has prepared me well for racing major events, be it as a junior or elite level”.

“I will most certainly be counting on my previous experiences to allow me to perform my best on the day at Milton Keynes. I am without a doubt both a bit nervous and excited about it all, but I feel that’s a good place to be.”

“Having raced my last World Cup back in 2007/2008 as a junior, I don’t really have a specific result in mind. I want to do my very best and hopefully that will see me gain a respectable result. I really don’t know what to expect. I’m approaching the race with an open mind. There is no hiding from the fact I will be racing against the top guys in the World and that is going to make it very tough.”

Good luck to Alex on Saturday!

Note: Alex will race for Pedal Heaven in 2015 on the road as well. See the team here … 

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