From student spinning to the Track Cycling World Championships, Manchester is quite simply where it all started for Alice Sharpe.
The former Manchester Metropolitan University student stepped onto the track for the very first time in 2017 at the National Cycling Centre velodrome on the Etihad Campus.
Living in Fallowfield, Sharpe paid a paltry £25 to learn her trade on the boards on Wednesday afternoons.
Now she’s a World Championships record-breaker and enrolled at the prestigious World Cycling Centre, an elite programme for athletes with the potential to reach the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
“When I look back at how quickly it’s all happened, it’s crazy to think you can learn a new skill so quickly and succeed,” said Sharpe, formerly part of Manchester-based Team Torelli.
“Manchester was where I picked up track cycling – my coaches used to pick me up from my student house and take me to the velodrome because I didn’t have a car!
“The university had a lot of schemes to get people into new sports and I guess I was just another student paying a small amount to try something new. I do pinch myself when I see where it’s got me.
“Torelli played a big role in my development and there’s no way I would have progressed without them.
“Manchester is an amazing city, the home of British music and cycling. I must say I am a fan of Oasis having lived there for a while! They certainly know how to throw a party.
“The atmosphere will be amazing and I think it’s going to be great for the series to have an event there. I can’t wait to go back.”
The 24-year-old is hot property right now – part of the Irish women’s team pursuit foursome that smashed a national record at the World Championships in Poland last week.
It’s a time of breakneck change for Sharpe, swapping Manchester-based Torelli for the World Cycling Centre to train in Aigle, Switzerland from this month.
The magnetic pull of Cottonopolis remains strong, however, and Sharpe was never going to miss out on the event set for 22-24 March.
“I’m going to Manchester to do my absolute best and hopefully get a high finish,” she said.
“The World Championships feels like a long while ago, I’ve raced quite a bit since then, but we took a lot of confidence from our performance there.
“Six Day is a great event – I got a taste of it in London last year and the crowd was fantastic. I’m sure it’ll be the same in Manchester.”
Tickets for Phynova Six Day Manchester are on sale now from just £25. Visit https://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/sixdaymanchester for more information.