Teenage cyclist Tim James is a young man on a mission.
The 19-year-old from Bourne has his eyes firmly fixed on becoming a professional racing cyclist and he is already working his way steadily through the ranks.
I want to finish in the top 20 of a National Series race and become East Midlands championTim James
For 2017 the former Bourne Wheeler moved from the Catford Banks Equipe junior team he was with last year to join the 365 4 Bikes Academy, a new under-23 team that aims to compete at the highest UK level and turn the team’s five aspiring professionals into actual professionals.
James has been passionate about cycling since the age of 11 after a visit to his primary school by Mark Botteley of Bourne Wheelers. He soon showed great promise in his new sport and began to achieve success as a junior cyclist.
Having been bitten by the cycling bug, he has dedicated many hours to his training and worked hard in a bid to achieve his ultimate goal - to be a professional road cyclist in a world tour team.
It is a tough challenge in a highly competitive sport, but James is undeterred by the magnitude of that challenge and fully committed to doing all he can to make his dream a reality.
That includes taking in as many top races as possible across the country.
At the end of June he was in Yorkshire on a cold and wet evening for the Otley Grand Prix. Against many of the top cyclists in the UK, he finished 47th in that event which was won by national under-23 champion Chris Lawless.
Two days later James was at Derwent Reservoir in County Durham competing in stage one of the Tour of the Reservoir, finishing 37th in a strong field of 105 leading riders.
He is currently ranked second in the country in Category 2, just one point away from earning his place in Category 1 –above that there is just the Elite class, which is where James ultimately wishes to be.
While his long-term aim is to become a professional road racer, he has set himself more immediate targets this season.
He said: “I want to finish in the top 20 of a National Series race and become East Midlands champion.”
His results so far this year would suggest he is well on course to achieve his aims, with a win in an East Midlands Road race and three top-five finishes in Category B races under his belt.
In March, James was fifth in the Jock Wadley Memorial Road Race at Colchester, just one place behind triple Olympic team pursuit gold medallist Ed Clancy.
With the 2017 Tour de France now under way it is a time of year that inspires most cyclists and James will be hoping his inspiration, defending and three-time champion Chris Froome, is once again dominant.
Who knows, one day the Bourne rider may follow in the cycle tracks of his idol and compete in the legendary tour.
He certainly wouldn’t be fazed by the event’s daunting mountain sections having already tackled three of the most demanding Tour de France climbs – Mont Ventoux, Alpe d’Huez and Col de Galibier – at the age of 15, while on a family holiday!