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  Monday, 31 December, 2001, 00:20 GMT
Cyclist McGregor honoured
Yvonne McGregor
McGregor has become internationally renowned
Yvonne McGregor discovered competitive cycling relatively late in life - but she soon made up for lost time.

McGregor was an accomplished fell runner when she went into cycling 11 years ago aged 29.

It was a career switch which was to bring her international acclaim and ultimately has brought her an MBE in the New Year's Honours List.

McGregor was stunned to learn she had won the accolade.

"It was very unexpected but when I got the letter I was thrilled," she said.

"It's the kind of achievement I would like young people to take note of.

Yvonne McGregor
McGregor took bronze at Sydney
"It shows that if you're willing to dedicate your life to something and train really hard, then anyone from any walk of life is capable of achieving what they desire."

McGregor's first major breakthrough came in 1994 when she won a Commonwealth Games gold medal in the 25-kilometre points race at Victoria in 1994.

The following year she smashed the world hour record with a distance of 47.411km at Bogota, Colombia.

Her biggest disappointment came at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 when she finished fourth in the 3,000-metre pursuit.

But four years later she capped her international career by taking the bronze medal at the Sydney Olympics.

Then she returned to her home track to win the world pursuit championship at Manchester less than two months later.

McGregor was hesitant to compare her track achievements with her latest honour.

"There's nothing comparable to the feeling of winning an Olympic medal.


An award like this is total recognition of what you've achieved
Yvonne McGregor
"It's every sportsperson's dream, but this is an award in a different kind of way," she said.

Despite being troubled by an ongoing back injury, she bowed out of international racing with a plucky fourth place in the world championships in Antwerp at the end of September 2001.

In domestic racing, McGregor gained numerous national titles on both road and track.

In 1993, she lowered the British 10-mile record to 21minutes 15seconds, beating the figure which had stood to Beryl Burton for 20 years.

Her 1996 national 25-mile record of 51min 50sec, which still stands, was a 1min 31sec beating of another Burton record which had stood for two decades.

In Cycling Weekly magazine's survey of the best British riders of all time only Burton - whose seven world titles between 1959 and 1967 earned her an OBE in 1968 - was ranked above McGregor among the women.

McGregor has one burning ambition before she plans to quit competition - but not cycling itself.

"The the next thing on the horizon for me this season is going for the hour record.

"Obviously I'd like to do it in Manchester on my home track.

"Going on to the next stage of my career - working career as opposed to cycling career - I'd like to stay in cycling.

"I'd certainly like to put something back into the sport, particularly working with youngsters," McGregor said.

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Yvonne McGregor
"What I've achieved in the last few years is beyond my wildest dreams"
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28 Oct 00 | Other Sports
18 Sep 00 | Cycling
Links to more New Year Honours stories are at the foot of the page.


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