‘I’m there now’: No more back to the Walls for Mancunian Matt as teen cycling star seeks Track World Cup berth

From a broken collarbone in March to becoming a European champion in July, 2017 is a year that will live long in the memory for Matt Walls.

But with the chance of a TISSOT UCI Track World Cup debut in a velodrome that is nothing short of a second home, the year is far from over for the Mancunian.

The season had already hit new heights even before putting one wheel on the boards for Walls, with this the celebration of his first year in the British Cycling GB Senior Academy.

But it seemed to come crashing to a halt when, for a second year in succession, a fall led to a collarbone break and a frustrating sidelines.

Yet, like all good sportsmen, the 19-year-old got back on the saddle – and in some style, too.

That came thanks to a UEC Under-23 and Junior European Track Championships title in July, teaming up with Matthew Bostock, Ethan Hayter and Joe Holt to take pursuit glory.

For many, one broken bone would be enough but when you’re the teenage Walls, it’s all part of the job.

“The year before I had also broken my collarbone and had come back with a good season, so knowing I had been there before and still been able to come back and get some results was a major factor in this year,” he said.

“It was good mentally, that side of things is very important to me and if you have good mental power you’re able to keep training, keep pushing through the bad times that you know you will get at some point in your career.

“It was completely unexpected, but we put in a lot of good training with good coaches, so something like that was a possibility.

“I was thinking it would ruin my season, what was supposed to be a good year suddenly had a big setback, but I was able to come back strong and do the business.”

Doing the business among Europe’s elite has certainly exuded confidence for the teen, form which could see him take his place with the world’s best at the Track World Cup.

Not only that, racing would see Walls return to Manchester and an arena that the Oldham-born, Cheadle resident knows like the back of his hand.

And while a place in the race is by no means a foregone conclusion, excitement is already in the air for an already special year that could turn extraordinary.

“I’ve been on the Manchester track since I was nine, it’s my local place and I’ve trained there a lot so it would be good to have a big even there,” he added.

“I’ve had national races and won titles there and it’s a place that feels like home, I’ve been there so much and been brought up on the track.

“To be selected, I would be ecstatic. You train for the big races and you want to get the big results.

“Knowing we can get good results and good times, showing that we’re able to compete against the big names gives you a massive boost and we’ve all been able to take that forward.

“It’s been a big year, just moving out from home and becoming a full-time athlete is a big step, getting used to the lifestyle isn’t always easy, but I feel like I’m there now.”

On November 10-12, incredible riders like Matt Walls will compete on the Manchester Velodrome in one of the most anticipated events on the track cycling calendar. Buy your tickets

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