From tries to the track: Rugby player turned sprinter Spratt ready for a thrill at Phynova Six Day London debut
19 September 2018
If Alex Spratt can race a time trial in under ten seconds just 18 months since beginning his cycling adventure, just imagine what’s in store when he reaches his potential.
As a former rugby player, the 28-year-old’s route from the pitch to the velodrome has been more rollercoaster than smooth ride.
But, as he prepares to take to the boards for next month’s Phynova Six Day London, Spratt is all set to head to a place that already feels like home.
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It was in the Lee Valley velodrome where his shining moment so far came, stopping the clock in 9.987 seconds to top the pile at a Good Friday event.
To put that in context, Spratt would have qualified 12th at this summer’s European Championships – now he has Phynova Six Day London’s elite sprinters in his sights.
Not that his journey has come without a fair few bumps in the road.
“I played rugby for nearly 20 years but had to give it up because my shoulder was falling out every time I tackled someone, which wasn’t great!” explained Spratt.
“I had two operations on my left shoulder, one on my right and one on my knee so I was falling apart a little bit!
“I became a gym bunny after rugby, body building and that kind of stuff and then two years ago I changed job and my new manager was into road cycling.
“My head mentally was in a bit of a rubbish place at that time so I took it up as a way to help, get out, get away from everything and it really did help.
“But then I wanted the enjoyment of competing back and I wasn’t really going to be any good at road because I’m over 100kg!
“I came across the National Championships in Manchester in January 2017, went down and watched the sprint and really fancied it.
“I messaged Matt Crampton, who was running a sprint clinic, went along to that and that encouraged me, that was March 1 and then my first competition was Easter Monday.”
Spratt concedes that there have been challenges in developing in track sprinting – he has plenty of muscle and strength from his other sporting endeavours but transferring that into pedal power is something different.
The cycling convert has been competing consistently since his first foray in 2017, including at the Cottbus Sprint Cup in June and the early-September Glasgow Sprint Grand Prix, but Phynova Six Day London is the event he’s been looking forward to for some time.
Spratt continued: “I started looking on YouTube and trying to figure out how people do 200m time trials and the Keirin, Six Day London popped up and looked like a massive party atmosphere, enjoying yourself, racing, getting along with people, putting on a show, that’s something I really wanted to do.
“It’s come along a hell of a lot quicker than I ever thought I would, it’s good that I get to do it but I don’t feel like I’m probably as good as the other people going, it’s part of the enjoyment for myself though!
“I’ve raced Matt Rotherham quite a bit too, who’s obviously done plenty of Six Day racing, he’s a bit of a nemesis for me and always will be until I beat him.
“I think I’ll have a lot to take in at Six Day London but coming from a rugby background you just have to take it in your stride and get on with it don’t you?
“For me at the moment Six Day is the pinnacle thing that I’ve wanted to get involved in.”
Tickets for Six Day London 2018 start from £20.40 and are available now – here