Charlie Aldridge Centre.

Scotland’s Olympic cycling hopeful: Onwards and upwards for Aldridge

4 mins read

Charlie Aldridge is just 22 and already a heavily-decorated cyclist- Junior World Champion in 2019, British National Champion in 2022 and most recently, U23 Mountain Biking World Champion on Scottish home soil. 

The Crieff athlete told Brig about his latest win: 

“To have all my friends and family there and win with people I’ve been riding with all my life, it was pretty amazing.  

“The noise on the course and everything, and people shouting me on and then standing on the podium was super cool.” 

Aldridge was in a tough race amongst four different winners of this year’s Under 23s UCI World Cup: Oliver Vedersø Sølvhøj, Dario Lillo, Adrien Boichis and Carter Woods.  

The Scot remained with the front pack throughout and it was the final lap where the Perth-born cyclist applied pressure and broke away from the pack and finished the race untouchable in Glentress.  

“I suppose I didn’t fully believe I’d won until the final straight,” he continued. 

“I was pretty confident that I could do well and then throughout the race, my tactics were all going towards saving energy and then tacking on the last lap and trying to win.” 

Previously, Aldridge had come tantalisingly close to other podium finishes on the international stage.  

He was in third place at the European Championships earlier in the year before getting a puncture on the penultimate lap.  

Aldridge in action. Image credit: Scottish Cycling

Similarly in the 2022 Commonwealth Games, he had been looking on course for a bronze in the men’s mountain bike cross-country final before coming off on a corner.  

He ripped the rear derailleur off the bike and finished 16th. Currently, he is competing in the World Cup series across the world with his team.  

So far this summer this has included races in Andorra, France, Austria and Italy. There are two more this year in America and Canada in September and October, but the pressure is significantly lessened after the success in Glasgow.  

He said: “It’s funny because in my head I’ve already kind of achieved my biggest goal of the year so it’s nice, there’s no pressure. I’m kind of chilling.” 

Naturally the next question was on the all-important O word.  

“I mean the Olympics is a big goal at the moment,” he admitted. 

A large deciding factor within the Olympic selection is GB’s world ranking, and as they currently sit at eighth, they get to take two athletes. However, if they slip to ninth, they will only get to take one. 

Aldridge said: “I’m just going to train hard for that and hopefully get a spot which would be super but we will see.  

“People at home appreciate the Olympics more than the World Championships. 

“It’s a big race and obviously only comes around once every four years, so it is a big deal and a big goal.” 

With the Olympic selection taking place around May next year and his transition into the senior category, there is a lot in store for Aldridge. 

This certainly will not be the last time we will see him on a podium. 

Featured Image Credits: Michele Mondini

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Film, Media and Journalism student who writes about things that catch her interest. Instagram @charlsutcliffe

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