After her London 2012 success crowned a decorated sporting career on the tracks, 'Queen' Victoria Pendleton is eager to move on to pastures new, away from bicycle chains and clanking gears. Indeed, the diversion from the sports world has already taken her all the way to the glitz, pomp and glamorous evening dresses of Strictly Come Dancing.
"I'd hoped to do something radical and different after ending my sporting career, and Strictly is certainly that," begins the 31-year-old, who scooped gold in the Keirin cycling event this summer.
While Pendleton's stock on the track has been evident for years, less well known is the fact she's a devotee of high fashion and a staunch fan of Jimmy Choo shoes, Gucci heels and almost anything in Stella McCartney's range.
"I've rarely had the opportunity to be seen out in public. Training schedules tend to be a bit limiting where that is concerned! But calling time on my cycling career meant finally being able to show off a bit.
"That's maybe not as easy as it sounds, though. My lifestyle has been so conditioned for as far back as I can remember, so it's going to take me a while to recondition myself into not feeling as if I should be out there. That's not as easy as it maybe should be, but at least I have lots of distractions."
Victoria's track career spanned numerous World Championships, three Olympic Games and a generous handful of gold medals, and there had been rumours that Pendleton - who's marrying Olympic cycling coach Scott Gardner next year - may go on to defend her cycling titles in Rio 2016. But the lady herself is adamant, not least after being overwhelmed by a sense of relief having completed her pursuits at London 2012.
"I always said my final contribution would be on home soil - that's the way I always wanted to go out."
That said, the 31-year-old is a long way from ditching the healthy regime completely. It's one that has made her a marketer's dream, after all. Indeed, this year she's been working with Hovis on the Wholemeal Gold Start Challenge in promoting the benefits of eating regularly and healthily.
But she must still be flattered by all the talk of fashion shoots and catwalks, high heels and glamorous evening dresses?
"With every inch of me covered top to toe in scratches, cuts and scars, do you really think the catwalk is an option for me?" she laughs. "I love to play dressing up and getting the glamour treatment because, let's be fair, it's something I'm not used to, but don't think it'll be my next full-time move. I think my long-term post cycling career move may need a little more thought, but I'm in no hurry just yet."
We'll definitely be looking forward to watching the next phase of Victoria's career develop - in the meantime, however, there's no reason why those of us who aren't pro athletes can't enjoy some good old fashioned feminine fashion, with a huge variety of must-have glamorous evening dresses available to buy online.
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