Feature: Jeremy Hunt: still a cyclist

Kenny Pryde catches up with former British Champion  Jeremy Hunt who now lives in Australia and coaches riders worldwide including Yorkshire’s Scott Thwaites

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Feature: Jeremy Hunt: still a cyclist
by Kenny Pryde

In an age when British riders can perform every four years and earn a decent living, Jeremy Hunt is something of an old-school throwback.

The Devonian, who had a 16 year professional career that stretched from the Banesto-era Miguel Indurain to Bradley Wiggins winning the Tour with Team Sky in 2012, is still besotted with cycling.

Hunt retired from racing at the end of 2012 and is now based in the Australian hotbed of cycling in Melbourne, using his huge experience as a coach and sport director, finding his talents in demand in the growing Asian UCI calendar.

The simple explanation is that, in the expanding economies of the East, cycling is becoming a more popular sport and sponsors are looking more favourably on the teams and races.

More than anything else though, Hunt is enjoying coaching. “When I started, there were no power meters and not many guys had coaches,” reflects Hunt who raced in France and Belgium as an amateur before being offered a contract by the mighty Spanish Banesto team for 1996 at the tender age of 22.

“When I retired from racing with Team Sky, it was very different in terms of the way people thought about training, but the principals are the same – you’ve got to ride your bike and you need to listen to your body and try to work out what’s best for you. Most of the guys I train, use power meters of one kind or another, but you don’t need one to get better, I’m sure of that.”

Curiously, when Hunt retired, he went on record as saying that he didn’t really fancy life as a sport director, though he did that for three years with Synergy Baku Cycling project in the run-up to the Rio Olympics.

“Yeah, I remember saying that, about not wanting to be a DS,” laughs Hunt, “but in the end I have to say I get a lot more satisfaction from coaching. Really, the ideal combination would be three or four weeks a year in a team car – because it’s important to see racing and riders close up – and the rest of the time helping guys get better, I really enjoy doing that.”

The fact that Hunt is now in Australia is no barrier to his work with his colleagues at Day-by-Day coaching. Apart from American and Australian riders, there are European pros benefitting from his oversight, prime among them Scott Thwaites, currently on the Dimension Data, his first World Tour team.

“Yeah, whether it’s Skype, Facetime, WhatsApp, BT or Telstra, it’s easy to stay in touch these days, a long way from spending money with France Telecom phone cards when I was an amateur!”

From old school analogue to new school digital technology, Jeremy Hunt has come a long way, on and off the bike, but remains a man in love with pushing on the pedals. “Are you going out today? Yeah? Well, enjoy your ride,” says Hunt as we end our chat.




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