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BILLY'S ON THE ROAD TO GLORY; Rising star Billy Gilbey, 12, has got his eye set on the cycling events at the 2020 Olympics and emulating his heroes.

When he sat down to watch Jason Kenny, Laura Trott, Geraint Thomas and Sir Bradley Wiggins take to the road and track in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, young Billy Gilbey was not just cheering on Team GB's cycling superstars. The schoolboy was also looking for tips and inspiration to fuel his own Olympic dream.

Billy, 12, is one of Britain's most promising young cyclists, with his sights set on gold in eight years' time - or even sooner. He says: "My ambition is the Olympics in 2020 or 2024. 2020 will be really hard, but not impossible."

DEDICATION As part of our brilliant Grow Your Champions My is to make Olympics 2020 or 2020 hard but impossible.

campaign, in association with the official supermarket partner of Team GB, Aldi, we're meeting young sportspeople from all over Britain to learn about the remarkable dedication and hard work it takes to succeed, along with the unstinting support of their families.

Billy only took up cycling four years ago after watching Bradley Wiggins become the first British rider to win the Tour de France.

He joined Velo Club de Londres at the iconic Herne Hill Velodrome, started winning races and is now one of the best young cyclists in the country.

Last year he won the national under-12 omnium, a combination of track races over different distances, and came third in the national road race.

This summer he has been enjoying the action from the Rio Olympics, especially the cycling events where Team GB have been in outstanding medal-winning form.

ambition make the in 2024. will be but not After Chris Froome's time trial bronze on the road, Brits have dominated the action at the velodrome, with golds including the men's team sprint, men's and women's team pursuit and the men's sprint, where Jason Kenny won his fifth Olympic gold.

Billy says: "I think Jason Kenny should be knighted. He's so underrated and it would be good for him to get some recognition."

The youngster has also been watching other sports from Rio, including the athletics where Usain Bolt won a record-breaking third straight 100m gold medal.

INSPIRATION Billy adds: "I really admire Usain Bolt for dominating the sprinting for so long - he's just a complete winner."

Seeing British stars including Sir Bradley Wiggins, Philip Hindes and Jason Kenny win gold has made Billy even more determined to emulate them in the future.

At the moment he races on the road and track, and is in no rush to choose between them. Billy says: "I want to keep trying to do everything for now. If you specialise in one discipline too soon, you are more likely to get bored. " British Cycling has a clear pathway for young cyclists, and Billy is already planning his route to the top.

BIG DREAMS He says: "At the end of this year, the first level will be Regional Schools of Racing. Then at the end of next year, I can become a Olympic Development Apprentice - they take five cyclists from each region around the country.

"At 16 you can go onto the Olympic Development programme. Most people on that go professional, and I'm really aiming for that".

With talent, dedication, and the loving support of his family, Billy is on his way to be at the forefront of British Cycling's next generation of world beaters.

When Billy met Bradley Billy's cycling club, VCL, is based at Herne Hill Velodrome, the same track where Sir Bradley Wiggins took his first steps to sporting glory as a boy. The pair met recently when Sir Bradley returned to the club before flying out to Rio.

Billy says: "It was an utterly amazing experience to meet one of the world's greatest cyclists ever, and to know he had trained where my friends and I train now.

"He was really funny and very genuine. It just made me love cycling even more - if that's possible."

My ambition is to make the Olympics in 2020 or 2024. 2020 will be hard but not impossible.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Aug 19, 2016
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