Jo Rowsell won a gold and a bronze medal at the cycling World Cup Classic in Manchester last month. She was part of the record breaking women’s squad which became the first team to win every World Cup women’s track event in a single race meeting. She spoke to Sportsister at the event.
Congratulations on your medals, gold in the team pursuit and bronze in the individual pursuit, how do you feel?
Every girl in the team has a medal now; it’s just fantastic. I was really pleased to get the bronze medal in the individual pursuit; it’s my first world cup and only my second competitive pursuit over 3km. Wearing my world championship jersey in the team pursuit and to win gold was great; I’d only worn it once at the European Championships so it’s fantastic wearing it in front of a home crowd.
How much training had you all done together?
We hadn’t actually done that much as a team as the other girls (Lizzie Armitstead and Katie Colclough) had been doing bunch work but it all came together on the day. We’re all very young, I’m the oldest at 19, so it shows the depth we have in this sport.
Was the Manchester World Cup a big target for you?
I had a break after the U23 European Championships in September and I’ve just been building up from that. My real target is the World Championships at the end of March 2009.
This event was really to see where I compared to the rest of the world. It’s my first World Cup so it’s all about experience not just results, but we seem to have achieved both!
How great is it to have the British public behind you here in Manchester?
It’s amazing, I was here in Manchester at the 2008 World Championships in March and both times it’s been brilliant. Every time you go round the boards, the way the noise follows you, it’s just great and it really makes you go faster.
Are you riding any more World Cups this season?
I’m going to the World Cup in Melbourne (where Jo won gold in both the individual and team pursuit), and then hopefully Copenhagen in February. I want to ride both the team pursuit and the individual pursuit in the World Championships. I really want to retain my world title in the team pursuit next year.
Have you been training with any of the other British Olympic girls; Wendy Houvenhagel and Rebecca Romero?
Not really as they’re on different programs to me after the Olympics. They’ve both been taking some time to recover. They both really inspired me during my time training for the U23 Europeans, it really made me want to try hard at training and reach their level.
Who has inspired you throughout your career?
Someone who really inspires me is Victoria Pendleton. After she had a disappointing Athens Olympics, the way she came back at the World Championships and then Beijing was just amazing, she took a massive step forward. I really admire that determination in her.
You’re big aim must be to reach the Olympics in London 2012?
I’ve got four years now to get stronger and faster. I really need to be there.
The amount I’ve improved this year has been far more than I expected and I just need to keep going like I am, especially as it will be a home Olympics.
How much has cycling changed your life?
If you told me a couple of years ago that I would be on the British team I wouldn’t have believed you. I’d watched cycling on television when I was younger but never thought I’d come near a velodrome or be racing on one. It’s amazing to be here doing what I’m doing.
Kim Blythe, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine
Photo credit: Copyright – www.velodrome.org.uk
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