Victoria Pendleton has already said 'on your bike' to any suggestion of a track cycling comeback, but she does seem interested in returning to sport in a slightly different guise in the near future it seems. Her sights seem to be firmly focused on a new challenge in the months ahead, as she attempts to make it as a jump jockey, with the 2016 Cheltenham Festival a longer-term ambition.

At the tender age of 34 years, the double Olympic gold medal winner made it known last week that she has already started her training for the new sport, no doubt putting the same steely determination she employed so diligently in her cycling training to good effect.

It is certainly no half-hearted pursuit, with backing being provided by the bookmaker Betfair and a top class trainer to put her through her paces. No less than Paul Nicholls has agreed to allow her to enter his yard and take part in a dedicated period of one-to-one coaching. The target of the 2016 Cheltenham Festival and perhaps an entry into the Foxhunter Chase is pencilled into Pendleton's diary longer-term.

For now though, the initial stages will be to get to know the ropes and the basics of what is a tough and challenging sport even for the very best. She needs to acquire an amateur licence to become a jump jockey on the racing circuit, and then there is the not so small matter of gaining sufficient rides to satisfy the qualification criteria.

With all of that factored into her plans, the initial thoughts are that it will take as long as five months of intensive training before she is ready to step her toes into the racing world. Then she should be able to take part in some flat races during the summer months, with a view to moving into the point to point season from around November this year.

All that of course puts paid to any rumours of a cycling return in time for the Olympics in Rio.

Pendleton recognises the enormity of her jump jockey ambitions, with even the licence acquisition not yet a 'given', since as she readily acknowledged to The Telegraph recently "I had never even sat on a horse until a week ago."

Nicholls seems to have faith in his new pupil though, recognising the key traits of drive and determination that pushed her on during her days as an Olympic athlete, which he believes are precisely the attributes she will need to demonstrate to make it as a jockey.

He also suggests that her involvement will act to shine a "much deserved light on the sport of horse racing."

Pendleton has not been idle since her Olympic days, when she took a gold in both 2008 and 2012 on the track, taking part in the tenth series of Strictly Come Dancing and the intensive training that preparing for that entails. She has also been a regular expert on the BBC for their coverage of the track cycling competitions that Great Britain has taken part in, during recent years.

She also knows that in Nicholls she is gaining access to one of the top trainers in her new sport, with over 2000 winners, a Grand National success in 2012 and four Cheltenham Gold Cups on his impressive CV.