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Bulletproof Talent: Joe Breeden

From the footy pitch to the World Cup pits

Downhill and football are at opposite ends of the sporting spectrum but that didn’t stop Joe Breeden making the leap from a Premier League youth team to a World Cup racer in just a few short years.

Photos: Dan Griffiths

Now he’s racing for the Saddleback Intense team and has already picked up a BDS win and a sixth at Lourdes. We caught up with the young, Welsh pinner as he prepares to get stuck into more BDS and World Cup action.

Who is Joe Breeden?

I’m a 17-year-old downhill mountain bike racer who just loves shredding anything with two wheels! I’m born and bred in Mid-Wales, right near the famous Revolution Bike Park.

 

How did you get into riding? 

It wasn’t until I was 12 that I started riding mountain bikes – quite a late starter compared to most the other riders at the top! Before then I was a very serious footballer playing at a high level. I was introduced to a proper mountain bike by one of my best friends, Louis Meade, and after having my eyes opened to Revolution Bike Park I fell for DH. It was a big decision to quit football, but a decision I certainly don’t regret. Follow your heart they say…

Where and when did you get into racing? 

After only a year of riding properly I raced the Pearce Cycles downhill series in 2013. I also competed in the Welsh Championships where I ended up 3rd behind Matt Walker and Joe Parfitt. My motivation and determination just grew and grew from there on.

What’s been your best result so far?

My best result so far has to be my 9th place finish at the World Championships in Val di Sole last year as a first year Junior. It was a very mentally and physically challenging race and I felt a lot of pressure from myself, I was very pleased to perform to such a high level under these challenging circumstances.

Who are you riding for this year? 

This year I am riding for Intense Racing UK, and I am so stoked! We are working with a dream team of brands such as Enve, Chris King, Troy Lee Designs and, of course, Intense Cycles. It’s a dream set up for sure, and I have a great bunch of people backing me. What more can I say, I feel very blessed!

Where’s your favourite place to ride? What’s been your favourite race venue/event so far?

In the UK my favourite place to ride has to be Revolution Bike Park, but on the World Cup circuit it has to be Val di Sole, Andorra and Lourdes – the proper DH tracks. Make the World Cup tracks so tech and gnarly that it wouldn’t be possible to ride a 29er down them!

Who or what inspires you?

Becoming a better rider, winning and just the true love for riding and getting rowdy on the bikes with the boys! Other than winning there is no better feeling than a mad sesh with the boys where everyone is getting wild, whether that be on the big rigs, xc bikes, dj bikes, motorbikes or kids’ bikes.

There are aspects to hundreds of riders that I admire. Laurie Greenland has to be one of the riders I look up to most, especially the way he climbed from being British youth champion to elite World no.2 in just 3 years.

He’s kept a steady head the whole way through and even now he’s ‘big time’, he still has the same smile on his face, a great attitude and treats everyone the same. Not to mention his World Champs race run last year, the determination you can see he had for that run was out of this world! For me he just marks the path I want to follow.

You’ve had a great start to the season – how has that affected your confidence going forwards?

Yes, especially considering I fractured my pelvis only 2 months ago. To come away from the first BDS round with maximum points having won both seeding and finals and with a time that would have placed me 6th in Elite has given me great confidence. I have worked hard on a few things since then and I look forward to the rest of the World Cup season.

What does a day in the life look like for you? 

Training takes up the majority of my time and I am left with little time to do a lot else. But any spare time I do have I work in my workshop where I run a little bike maintenance shop, or I will go out to do some activities with friends for a laugh, or work on my social media presence preparing riding edits, photos etc. I also love a good view, sunsets and stargazing haha – my favourite way to chill out!

What’s your biggest weakness?

I’m slow at everything I do other than riding and I leave everything till last minute. I will always be the last one ready for activities, my friends and team mates get quite pissed off at times ha, they will always be waiting for me – something I need to work on for sure!

What does the future hold for Joe Breeden? 

That’s a question not even I can answer… But my goals and beliefs are nothing less than to be World Champion!

Any last words?

Has to be the good old – LETS AV EW!!!

More Bulletproof talent:

Kaos Seagrave
Martha Gill
Cody Gessel

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