Team GB Olympic cyclist Katy Nicholls: “I wasn’t entirely sure whether I was going to carry on after Tokyo… but something in me feels unfinished. I don’t want to stop and I don’t want having a baby to stop my career”
By PA Media
Last Updated: 07/04/22 1:17pm
Katy Nicholls has vowed to continue in competitive cycling after the birth of her first child this summer
Team GB Olympic cyclist Katy Nicholls has set her sights on returning to elite competition after revealing she is pregnant expecting her first child this summer.
The 29-year-old Nicholls, nee Marchant, is due to join the growing number of mums within the British Cycling squad after former Olympic champion Elinor Barker gave birth to her son Nico last month.
And, like Barker, Nicholls wants to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Dame Laura Kenny, Dame Sarah Storey and Lizzie Deignan in returning to racing at the highest level after becoming a mother.
Nicholls, who won individual sprint bronze at the Rio Olympics, rode to sixth in the sprint in Tokyo before her keirin hopes were ended by a crash in the quarter-finals.
Becky James (L) and Katy Nicholls (R), pictured with her bronze medal from the 2016 Rio Olympics
“I wasn’t entirely sure whether I was going to carry on after Tokyo,” Nicholls told the PA news agency. “I didn’t know what the next few years were going to look like, but something in me feels unfinished.
“I don’t want to stop and I don’t want having a baby to stop my career so it’s great to have those role models to show you it doesn’t have to.”
Nicholls added: “On the plane back [from Tokyo] I felt I was not quite finished, I still had things I wanted to do. And once I found out I was pregnant, something else came over me and I thought, ‘I’m definitely not done’.
“I love a challenge and I’d really like to give this a go.”
Katy Nicholls rode to sixth in the sprint in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics before her keirin hopes were ended by a crash in the quarter-finals
Nicholls always planned a post-Olympic break – she married her husband Rob in Greece in September – but has continued to train during her pregnancy.
There has been plenty of help from Barker too, who was a few months ahead in the early stages of her pregnancy when she helped Team GB to team pursuit silver in Tokyo.
“I’ve had quite a lot of contact with El and it’s been really lovely having her supporting me through training, giving me ideas, and it’s nice to feel like I’m going through that experience with someone else,” Nicholls said.
Great Britain track cyclist Elinor Barker has also recently become a mum and has helped inspire Nicholls
Nicholls has been the face of Britain’s women’s sprint cycling for the past five years, during a time when a lack of depth meant they did not qualify for the team event in Tokyo.
However, the bronze medal won by the young quartet of Milly Tanner, Blaine Ridge-Davis, Sophie Capewell and Lauren Bate at the World Championships in Roubaix last October points to a brighter future – and a battle for selection ahead for Nicholls on her return.
“I think that drives me even more,” she said. “That team environment was something I craved.
“Tokyo and Rio were an individual ball game, so I don’t know if that influenced me in wanting to carry on.
“The fact the girls are up and coming, it’s a really exciting feeling and I want to be part of that. I want to ride a team sprint in Paris . Hopefully everything goes to plan and I’ll give it my best shot to be there.”