Victoria Pendleton’s romance with ex SAS hero, Louis Tinsley, has been confirmed by his father who said he’s already asked them if they’ll marry and have kids.
Jeremy Tinsley, 61, who lives near Normanton in West Yorkshire, told MailOnline the pair had met at a function in London shortly before the UK’s first Covid lockdown and have been together ever since.
‘They’re very much in love,’ he said on Thursday night.
EXCLUSIVE: ‘They’re very much in love’: Victoria Pendleton’s romance with SAS hero Louis Tinsley, 37, has been confirmed by his father who has asked them about ‘marriage and kids’
He said of the couple: ‘They met just before lockdown and have been together ever since. So they’ll be together at Christmas too’
‘They met just before lockdown and have been together ever since. So they’ll be together at Christmas too’.
The ongoing romance means the couple will be spending Christmas together – either at the Olympic gold medallist’s home in Oxfordshire or his in Dorset.
Jeremy (pictured) said of Victoria: ‘I think she’s fabulous – a very courageous woman and of course immensely fit, as is Louis’
Mr Tinsley confessed to having asked Louis, 37, about the prospect of ‘marriage and kids.
But he said: ‘At the moment, I think they’re just taking it cagey and enjoying being in love. They’ve been together all the way through lockdown, so it’s been a wonderful time for them.’
Covid restrictions have meant that Jeremy has only been able to meet Victoria once in person, though they have seen each other ‘a lot’ on Skype calls.
He said: ‘I think she’s fabulous – a very courageous woman and of course immensely fit, as is Louis.
‘For all that Louis is special forces, he’s also a superb human being. I can see why they’re both smitten. Together they’re on a different scale.’
Close connection: Ex-special forces hero Louis became close to the double gold medalist during lockdown and the pair share a love of extreme sports and adventure
Mr Tinsley continued: ‘They met through Louis’s clothing company. He was at a function with his special forces mates and she was there too.
‘She’s always done special things like long-distance rowing and other off-the-scale things so they had a lot in common.
‘Now she models the women’s clothes for his company.’
Victoria, 40, and Louis share a love of extreme sports and adventure.
It is understood they met on a blind date organized by mutual friend Jay Morton, who appears on TV’s SAS Who Dares Wins and is a business partner with Tinsley’s high-end outdoor clothing firm.
Bearded, heavily-tattooed Tinsley says of himself: ‘I’m used to kicking down doors and shooting people.’
He is a combat veteran and served in the military for 14 years – eight of them with the Special Boat Service (SBS), the only unit in UK special forces assigned elite ‘Tier One’ status, apart from the SAS.
Divorcée Victoria, who turned 40 in September, has provided scant details about the new man in her life in recent interviews, though she told the Mail last week: ‘Society makes us feel we need another special person to make us feel complete, but I wasn’t even looking for a boyfriend’
Divorcée Victoria, who turned 40 in September, has provided scant details about the new man in her life in recent interviews, though she told the Mail last week: ‘Society makes us feel we need another special person to make us feel complete, but I wasn’t even looking for a boyfriend.
‘Then a friend of a friend set me up on a blind date. And I thought: ‘There’s no harm in it.’ We went for some food at my local pub and that was the start.’
Asked for more details about his job, she said: ‘I can’t tell you that because it’s something so obscure it would identify him immediately!’
Though both Victoria and Louis have Instagram accounts, she with 58,000 followers and he with 9,400, the pair, true to the SBS motto ‘By Strength and Guile’, have studiously avoided being photographed together.
Sweet: Ex-special forces hero Louis became close to the double gold medalist during lockdown and the pair share a love of extreme sports and adventure
Bearded, heavily-tattooed Tinsley says of himself: ‘I’m used to kicking down doors and shooting people’
But there are a few tell-tale signs: Both Louis and Victoria have been photographed with his Belgian Malinois dog, posting pictures of the puppy on Instagram, where they follow each other.
And most significantly, his distinctive matt black Land Rover was seen parked on the drive of her home in Thame, Oxfordshire during the first lockdown in April in another Instagram post, as Victoria cleaned her motorbike with a hose.
Victoria recently became an ambassador for Thrudark, the outdoor clothing firm which Louis co-founded, where an SF Expedition Parka, packed with goosedown, retails for £995.
On the firm’s website, perhaps significantly, a photo of Victoria is placed facing one of Louis modelling the male apparel, as if the pair are staring longingly at each other.
Like Cumbrian-born Louis, Victoria has developed a taste for speed on the road and has invested in motor bikes and is planning more tattoos to her forearms. Both his arms – and legs – are covered in body art.
All over: In 2018, she announced she had split with her husband of five years, the sports scientist Scott Gardner who worked with the GB cycling team (pictured together in 2012)
Louis is based in Poole, Dorset, where the SBS has its HQ and one of his best friends helped advise the makers of Channel Four’s long running TV series on the SAS, Who Dares Wins.
Victoria appeared on a celebrity version of the show in 2019 for Stand Up to Cancer, enduring multiple hardships, including a prolonged spell in icy water and at one point having to kneel on the floor as a punishment with tethered Alsatians barking just inches from her face.
Louis’ business partners Jay Morton and Anthony Stazicker are also special forces veterans and Victoria is prominent on their website as an ambassador and modelling their women’s clothing range.
The company’s logo features the famous ‘dagger’ design shared by both the SAS and SBS cap badges.
Approached by MailOnline, Louis stayed as tight-lipped as his new girlfriend.
Emerging from his Land Rover with his dog by his side, he refused to confirm or deny their relationship, saying: ‘I don’t know where that has come from.’
Asked about the dog and the vehicle appearing in both their social media posts, he smiled and said: ‘Nah. I can’t say anything. No comment mate.’
Tag team: Louis’ business partners Jay Morton and Anthony Stazicker are also special forces veterans and Victoria is prominent on their website as an ambassador and modelling their women’s clothing range
Heroic: Tinsley is a combat veteran and served in the military for 14 years
Track cycling legend Victoria, who won gold at the Beijing and London Olympics, dedicated much of her life up to her mid thirties to her sport.
In 2018, she announced she had split with her husband of five years, the sports scientist Scott Gardner, 43, who worked with the GB cycling team.
She also turned her hand to horse racing and as an amateur jockey has competed in several events including winning at Wincanton Racecourse, Somerset on the horse Pacha Du Polder in 2018.
Louis says on his company’s website of himself and his special forces mates: ‘We have spent the majority of our military careers within United Kingdom special forces. In this time we’ve endured some of the world’s most arduous environments in extremely demanding circumstances.’
‘ThruDark was born out of our constant requirement for the best clothing and equipment to assist us in this ‘Endeavour Through Adversity’.
Lockdown love: Divorcée Victoria, who turned 40 in September, has provided scant details about the new man in her life in recent interviews
‘The brand name ‘ThruDark’ represents the endurance through difficult situations experienced not only by ourselves and our colleagues but to all those who encounter hardship in their own lives.’
His business partner Anthony Stazicker, who is known by friends as Staz, was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross for combat actions carried out in Afghanistan in 2013.
The third ex-special forces partner Jay Morton, served for 14 years of distinguished military service, ten with the SAS and four with the Parachute Regiment.
He has also climbed Mount Everest twice.
Louis, who was born in the Lake District, was always designated for a military life. His elder brother Frankie was a Royal Marines Commando before he also decided to enlist.
He says he and his colleagues road test their clothing range around the world before putting them on sale and have carried out testing ‘operations’ in mountainous areas in Japan, Iceland and the Cairngorms amid a harsh Scottish winter.
The trio continue to test their equipment and their bodies to ensure they maintain maximum fitness and their clothing range provides maximum protection.
On the ThruDark website, they quote Socrates: ‘No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.’
In a YouTube video Louis admits: ‘The other thing about special forces is that we like to look as cool as f—.’
Speaking of some of the jacket range, he reveals the material is designed to stretch while shooting.
He adds: ‘I am used to kicking down doors and shooting people and when you get into a fighting position you need to have a little bit of stretch on the back.’
MailOnline has contacted Victoria’s representatives for comment.
Military: Louis served eight year with the Special Boat Service (SBS), the only unit in UK special forces assigned elite ‘Tier One’ status, apart from the SAS