Gullen dares to dream about Tour de France

James Gullen.
James Gullen.

James Gullen allows himself to dream of being in the Tour de France one day.

The Lancaster cyclist, who impressed at the British National Time Trial Championships in Wales last week, is ideally placed to sample some of the action when the event’s Grand Depart takes place in Leeds this Saturday, July 5.

Being originally from Kippax, between York and Leeds, before moving to the area after graduation from the University of Central Lancashire, an empty calendar due to the race means he can go and see his parents to take in the world’s biggest bike race. The 24-year-old said: “I should be able to make it over.

“The calendar is pretty empty because of the Tour so I’ll probably head over to see my mum and dad in Leeds.

“It’s be great to be there and the dream situation is obviously to be in the race one day.”

The Velosure - Giordana RT rider, who shares a city centre flat with team mate Carnforth’s Matt Cronshaw, finished 12th at the national time trial championships on June 26 after posting a time of one hour and 38 seconds on the 26-mile course around Abergavenny, with race won by Sir Bradley Wiggins.

Gullen, who finished sixth last year, admitted training hadn’t been ideal.

He said: “I was quite pleased.

“I was sixth last year so was a bit disappointed I didn’t do as well.

“There were a lot of good riders in the field but you always come off the bike thinking maybe you could have done something differently.

“There also hadn’t been a lot of races over the last month where as the likes of Wiggins had just finished the big road races.

“It’s harder when you’re just training off your own back.”

Gullen then took part in Sunday’s road race, but was pulled out by his team after 100 miles as he battled a chain problem.

It was a good few days at one of British cycling’s showpiece events for a rider who came to the sport relatively late.

Gullen said: “I got into it when I was 15 or 16 because my dad did time trials.

“I did a few and wasn’t really taking it too seriously but when I went to Uni there and there was a local team and I got a bit more involved.

“I would have been 19 when I really started road racing.”

As for moving up, Gullen enjoys the competition the British system creates but knows it will be tough to make it the top teams who race in the Tour de France.

He said: “You work your way up the categories.

“There are levels so you’ve got people of similar standards competing against each other.

“It means everyone gets a chance.

“In terms of moving up it’s almost as much about who you know as what you do.

“You’ve just got to get to know people and not make any enemies.

“As for now, I’ll hopefully get on the Tour of Britain (in September) but there’s 11 of us going for the six-man team.

“It’s tough.”