Meet Esquire's August cover star Victoria Pendleton.
As she prepares to go for gold at London 2012, world and Olympic champion cyclist Victoria Pendleton smoulders in our August cover shoot.
Clearly she's not your average athlete. And in an incredibly frank and honest interview, she reveals just how refreshingly different she is.
“People say as a sportsperson, you shouldn’t reveal your weaknesses. You shouldn’t come across as vulnerable. But I am vulnerable. I am emotional. What’s wrong with that?" she says. "As long as my legs are faster than the other girls’ and I hold my sh*t together, it doesn’t matter.”
It's a beautifully simple assessment of the challenge that awaits this August, and Victoria clearly has unfinished Olympic business when she remembers her victory in Beijing four years ago.
“I tried to feel something but I couldn’t. It didn’t feel like it was happening. I was smiling at one point but then the national anthem started and I was like, ‘You can’t laugh through the national anthem. That’s treason!’ But it just felt so comical. It was totally messed up.”
And if you're still in doubt as to how big a role the London crowd could play in Team GB's success, doubt no more.
“When I was in Melbourne [in April] being jeered by the crowd [while racing Anna Meares], I thought, ‘Just you wait until we get to London. Just you wait.”
Read the full Victoria Pendleton interview in the Esquire August issue - out now
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Photography by Greg Williams