Interview – Mark Christian of Team Wiggins


Making a comeback with Team GB on the track is the Isle of Man’s Mark Christian after a great second half to 2014

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Interview – Mark Christian of Team Wiggins

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A rider 24 year old who has spent plenty of time working on the track at Team GB as a youngster is Mark Christian. The Raleigh rider for the past few seasons has spent the last few seasons concentrating on the road but after a great performance at the Commonwealth Games where he was going well in the points until DQ’d and was then 4th in the Scratch race after one of four to take a lap, team GB started to show a renewed interest.


Three rides stand out for me on the road with Mark; going pedal stroke for pedal stroke in the Welsh GP ‘prem’ with Steve Lampier and Mike Northey before cramping (2013), towing Kristian House and for a while before he blew, Sam Harrison, up to a break of WorldTour riders on a stage of the Tour of Britain and finally the British RR champs where he was the only non WorldTour rider in a selection that formed on the finishing circuit.

Following those performances, and the others on the track, Mark has been back in the colours of GB in the Team Pursuit and Madison and being pretty dam good thank you very much. In the Mexico World Cup, he was second in the Team Pursuit and then won Gold in London in the same event. He then backed up and won Gold again in the Madison with Owain Doull.

So when Mark says to me “the track has been pretty good” it is somewhat of an understatement because I know how tough it can be to come back into a GB team after a spell away and literally get up to speed with the one of the top teams in the world.

Mark is one of the riders signed by Team Wiggins for 2015. He was being chased by at least one other British UCI team but with the Isle of Man rider looking to try and get a spot in the team for the Rio Olympics (track), he opted for the Wiggins team with the track and road programme. It is a coupe for the team because Mark is showing on the road and track just what a talent he is.


Riding in Madison Genesis colours at the last Revolution meeting. 

“I think I have settled back into the track well and surprisingly quick” Mark explained. “I feel comfortable in the Team Pursuit despite it being a lot different to what I have been doing the last few years. But to come away with the Madison win in London was a bonus. To come back and get two wins was more than I expected, much more”.

Mark admits that not a lot has changed since his academy days at GB. “There are a few new faces like Heiko, our new coach. With him coming in, it’s a new coach for everyone, not just me so it’s been easy to fit back in”.

Asked how it came about he went from riding for Team Raleigh and the Isle of Man team at the Commonwealth Games to pulling on his country’s colours, Mark replied “it came out of the blue after the Commonwealth Games when I’d ridden the Points and Scratch race and I think I’d shown myself pretty well with what little preparation I’d had on the track.”

“They came to me and said if I want, I can come back and get involved with the Team Pursuit squad and see how I go so I took them up on the offer. Then they went through the plans for the Wiggins team”.

It has been pretty full on for Mark with a busy road season that started in February in France with Raleigh and carried on to the Tour of Britain and into the track season. “I came out of the Tour of Britain and went pretty much went into the track nationals and it started from there”.


You could say Mark (above) is outnumbered! Four from Team Sky and two from Orica GreenEdge! British Road Race Championships 2015.

“I didn’t have a break. We had the Track Champs before the Euros and then after that, the build up to Mexico and London. It wasn’t a massive step though. The pace we have been at, just under four minutes, I have found it okay so far”.

“I am still lacking a bit in the fourth kilometre where I am dying off a bit but hopefully with a lot more work and over the next year going into the next track season, I can improve some more and break into the first four”.

Riding for GB and as Ed Clancy explained in his interview,
Rio 2016 and the Olympics there is the big goal for the riders on the track programme. That includes Mark. “Whilst the opportunity is there, I’ll put 100 per cent into the track and perhaps get the opportunity to get to the Olympics. At the same time, the road programme I will get with Team Wiggins and GB should provide plenty of opportunities to impress and let me make something of the road side of things”.

“If in Olympic year, the track isn’t happening, I can still fall back to the road. I’m not putting all my eggs into the track basket. The approach that Heiko has with a lot of work on the road should balance out well for me”.

Mark explained the teams, Wiggins and team GB, look like having a busy road programme in Europe in 2015 along with track camps. The racing, including stage races like the Tour of Normandy, will give Mark the opportunity to show himself as he did so well at the start of 2014 in France before a niggling injury got in the way.

“I think I have that sorted” says Mark of that injury “and got on top of what it is and how to manage it”.


Great riding in the Tour of Britain for Mark on his specially painted Raleigh Militis

It’s a busy time for Mark right now with lots of road camps in Majorca to follow the one in Tenerife in late 2014 and more road and track work to follow in the run up to the World Track Championships in Paris at the end of February. Part of the preparation may well include a ride in Challenge Majorca with Mark one of 18 riders entered to race in GB colours.

Other teams racing it (Jan 29 to Feb 1) include Team Sky, Movistar, Lotto Soudal, Cannondale Garmin, Trek, IAM Cycling, Europcar and Cult Energy with Russell Downing. It’s an event that Andy Fenn has had success in as a pro and a good opportunity should Mark get a ride, to get a road result whilst preparing for a track event.

Confidence is high after a great ride in the Tour of Britain and then the sensational rides on the track for GB. What happens now is hard to predict. With so many riders going for a spot in the Four for the GB Team Pursuit, competition is ruthless. Mark’s long term ambitions after Rio however are to get a ride in a bigger pro team and from what he has shown so far, he certainly deserves that opportunity.

Good luck to Mark at the Track Worlds.

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