Kenilworth cyclist Ciara Horne has her eyes firmly set on success at the Commonwealth Games almost a year after being stuck by a car while out cycling.
She appeared at a launch event for the OVO Women's Tour at Warwick Castle today (Friday March 9), which is heading to Warwickshire for the third year in a row.
Ciara said she felt “lucky to be alive” just after the crash in March last year, which happened while she was commuting to Royal Glamorgan Hospital where she works as a physiotherapist.
Now fully recovered, she hopes to achieve a medal in the Team Pursuit for Wales and achieve a personal best in the Individual Pursuit at the Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast, Australia, in April.
After the crash, Ciara said she had to 'focus on the process' of recovering and training for the Games.
She said: "I wanted to go to the Commonwealth Games (in 2018) so I had to crack on and get back on the bike. And I want to go to the Olympics (in 2020) so you've got to train.
"Initially going out on the road I'd go out and ride with other people so I didn't feel quite as vulnerable. I did everything I could to control what I could control, because I can't control if a car hits me.
"Ultimately, it's really important that I go to the Games and enjoy it - if I enjoy it I'm more likely to succeed."
When asked whether she thought cycling was in a good place after recent controversies involving Team Sky and British Cycling, Ciara said: "I think it's mixed. To be completely honest, I stay out of that.
"I try to focus on the Commonwealth Games and focus on my own targets. I don't really get involved in that side of things. I tend to focus on more of the positives like the fact that we've got equal prize money.
"I focus on myself too - you have to be quite selfish as an athlete, and I've been playing a juggling act for the past year with balancing work as a physio and my sport. I don't really have time to be reading all these articles."
Although she is now only a track cyclist, Ciara was very happy that the Women's Tour was heading through Warwickshire and her hometown Kenilworth again.
She said: "I think it's absolutely incredible really. It's the longest stage - rolling roads, two sprints, with one that runs through Kenilworth which is pretty epic.
"I think it's superb for Warwickshire. You get to watch the best female athletes in the world on your doorstep, and it's amazing for inspiring the younger generation as well."
This is the third time in a row that the Tour is heading to Warwickshire, and this year's route is almost identical to last year's. The 93-mile route will start in Atherstone and finish in Leamington.
Peter Hodges of Sweetspot, the race organisers, said: "We're delighted to be back. It was very successful last year. Leamington was a beautiful finish for us."
And Warwickshire County Council leader Cllr Izzi Seccombe said: “I am extremely pleased that Warwickshire will be hosting a stage of the OVO Energy
Women’s Tour once again.
“This is the third year that the county has been involved in this fantastic event and it has proven to be of huge economic benefit and puts Warwickshire on the worldwide map."
The race comes to Warwickshire on Friday June 15.