Crowned the women’s Champion of Champions for 2016, Julia Shaw was a popular and deserving recipient of that title at the CTT Champions Night in January.
The 51-year-old has claimed more than 30 national time trial championship titles over a hugely successful career which looks set to finish on a high having won last season’s National Circuit Championship as well as medals in the National 50 and National 10.
“I’ve been thinking of retiring for a while, but I’m still not 100 per cent. I had some time off for an operation before Christmas, but at the moment it’s not looking good for retirement as I’m back on the bike already, rehabbing!”
Shaw, who lives in the New Forest, started cycling to make the most of her best discipline at triathlon.
She won her first national title in the 2004 National 50-Mile Championship, an event she would eventually go on to win nine times.
She was seven times the National 10-mile champion, six times the National 25-mile champion, four times the National 100 champion and three times the National Circuit Championships.
Shaw claimed six competition records over those distances, and also secured a Commonwealth Games bronze medal and a World Championship appearance to bring together a phenomenal palmares.
But with so many memorable performances and titles, which does Shaw think is her greatest achievement?
“I think one of my best performances was in the 2010 Commonwealth Games when I finished third in the time trial - but even getting to the Games was a big achievement for me,” she said.
“My form in the run up to Delhi and the effort it took to get there was really the form of my life. We knew the course suited me too, so everything came together and in the ride I did better than I could ever have expected.”
Shaw was handed a qualifying target of finishing within 30 seconds of newly-crowned World Champion Emma Pooley in the British Time Trial Championships. A time check mid-way through the event had her 45 seconds down, but she dug deep and ended just 20 seconds behind to clinch the silver medal and a ticket to Delhi.
“I annihilated myself in the second half of the race, and went on to finish third at the Games, which was the culmination of a lot of hard work and effort,” she added.
With three national championship medals secured in 2016, why is she thinking of retiring?
“It’s a combination of things. I have asthma and breathing related issues, but it’s getting harder to find areas to improve and realistically I know I’m not going to get loads quicker.
“When you get the other side of 50 it gets harder to do it and juggle normal life and work. And other riders are getting faster!”
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