'She’s got a bit of a sprint on her’ - Olympic coach dissects Royals Kate and Will's cycling potential

Coach behind Olympic medal winning rides praises Kate Middleton’s easy and natural souplesse

Kate Middleton and Prince william face-off in spin class race
(Image credit: WPA Pool)

A former British Cycling Olympic coach has backed Kate, the Princess of Wales, potential as a bunch sprinter after her resounding victory over her husband the Prince of Wales in the Tour de Aberavon.

During a visit to the Welsh valleys to launch a series of mental health projects this week the pair faced off in a 45 second test in a spin class in Aberavon Celtic Leisure Centre.

Kate, née Middleton, beat her spouse, the Prince of Wales, while wearing high heels and was presented with a golden trophy to celebrate her "Tour de Aberavon" victory.

William, a former RAF pilot, was left breathing heavily and joked to journalists and the spin class: "Talk to you in a minute."

The Princess though cut a confident and practised figure on the bike.

Former British Cycling podium programme coach and now rider with DAS Handsling Monica Greenwood said: “If you've got that short range power, then you're going to be more suited to a bunch kick. So maybe, maybe, Kate's got a future as a bunch sprinter.”

Greenwood, who coached the British women’s team to silver in the team pursuit and gold in the Madison at the Tokyo Olympics, added: “She had good cadence on her I reckon she’s probably got a bit of a sprint on her, you'd take Kate [over William] and I reckon she'd be good for morale as well.”

“I'll put a word in for her, if she wants. She’d look good in the kit,” Greenwood added, tongue still firmly in cheek.

Noting that Kate, dressed in a £25 skirt from Zara, at some points in the race instinctively tried to tuck her upper body down out of the wind, Greenwood said: “She was definitely trying to get aero [more aerodynamic]. Though I'm not sure the skirt was the most aero thing, but I'm sure her position it will transfer over [to the road].”

However, Greenwood, who now runs her own coaching business Bosco Verde and counts top-level pros among her clients, was less impressed by the Prince of Wales’s rocking body on the bike.

She said: “No one's naturally super still on the bike. It just takes years and time working on it and just having having discipline really. Whereas I reckon Kate spends a bit of time on a stationary trainer or a bike from looking at it. I think she looks a bit more natural.”

Greenwood noted that William seemed to favour a higher cadence to his wife. “Cadence definitely transfers over to everything. Being able to essentially ride in big bunches and being able to like accelerate quickly through gaps, is really important.

“In terms of a peak sprint, you hit your peak power at around 120 RPM, so you want to be able to have that peak cadence basically. But also having the strength to you deliver [the power] and push a gear is important too.”

Greenwood was unable to provide a more data-based analysis as a spokesperson for Clarence House told Cycling Weekly the Palace did not know the distances the pair reached during the race. 

They also denied reports the race had been over a simulated course in the Italian Dolomites - it seems neither of the Royals will be bagging the Stelvio KOM any time soon.

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Having trained as a journalist at Cardiff University I spent eight years working as a business journalist covering everything from social care, to construction to the legal profession and riding my bike at the weekends and evenings. When a friend told me Cycling Weekly was looking for a news editor, I didn't give myself much chance of landing the role, but I did and joined the publication in 2016. Since then I've covered Tours de France, World Championships, hour records, spring classics and races in the Middle East. On top of that, since becoming features editor in 2017 I've also been lucky enough to get myself sent to ride my bike for magazine pieces in Portugal and across the UK. They've all been fun but I have an enduring passion for covering the national track championships. It might not be the most glamorous but it's got a real community feeling to it.