‘ Jake Stewart, Great Britain? ’

Second in the u23 Gent-Wevelgem and third in the Trofeo Piva in Italy, strong results – but we know that name…

Ah!

Yes, he and Fred Wright won the Berlin Six u23 race in 2017 and VeloVeritas was their official photographer for the day best have a word with the man…

Jake Stewart
Jake takes a sling from Fred Wright. Photo©Ed Hood

Second in Gent-Wevelgem, a nice performance Jake, any “with hindsight’s”?

“Second in Gent-Wevelgem came as a real surprise to be fair, I knew I had good legs going into it and was going well on the bike, but to pick up second as a first year under-23 came as a real shock to me. 

“I got myself into a late move which managed to stick to the line, in hindsight…

“I should have opened up my sprint earlier, there was one rider that had pinged off the front in the final k or so, which if I had kicked earlier then I may have been able to roll on the line.”

And third in the Trofeo Piva, those Italian races are always hilly – and savage…

“We didn’t really know what to expect as a team in Trofeo Piva, this was the first real hard Italian race of the season for us, so we went in without any clear plan; it was more just to see where the legs were and make the call on the day. 

“A big team effort late on in the ride meant I got over the final climb in a good way and was in a good place to be able to sprint. 

“I made it hard for myself taking the long way around to the line but managed to have enough gas still left to take third.

Fifth in the Worlds junior road race last season, happy with that one or any “what ifs?” – that last lap was pretty wild.

“Fifth at worlds was my biggest results as a junior. 

“The finale of the race was pretty hectic and as always in racing there were many ‘what ifs’. 

“We did a big team effort and made the calls late in the race and fifth was the best result that we got.

Jake Stewart
Jake Stewart. Photo©Ed Hood

You’ve ridden the junior Paris-Roubaix twice, 68th then 25th – is that one for the future?

“I think any rider’s dream is to ride Paris-Roubaix one day. 

“It’s a race that I’ve grown up watching and get excited about every year; it’s by far the best race on the calendar and definitely the one race that I’ve had the most fun riding.” 

The Ronde last week and a DNF – you would be expecting more?

“First year u23 is all a big learning curve. 

“The Ronde is a super hard race – I guess after the result I had at Gent-Wevelgem I would have hoped for more, but at the end of the day the legs were where they were and you’ve just got to accept that.”

How did you get into the sport and which of the British Cycling programmes are you with?

“My dad had always ridden a bike and I realised I was pretty rubbish at most other sports. 

“I’d tried football, martial arts, swimming, running etc. and realised I wasn’t very good at any of them but the one thing that I wasn’t too bad at was cycling. 

“From there I got involved with my local cycling club, Solihull, and from then on it’s just taken off. 

“I’m now training full time on the GBCT Senior Academy.

Jake Stewart
Jake is at home on the road or the boards. Photo©Ed Hood

Where are you based and what’s the regime like?

“We’re currently based between Manchester and the u23 house in Montichiari, Italy. 

“Although recently for the Belgium block we’ve been staying at the girls u23 house in Zottegem, Belguim. 

“Now that we’re into the season the regime is pretty simple – racing, recovering, and when we’re not doing that, training.”

2017 you did a lot of track racing, Berlin Six Day and Euros for instance, will there be less track and more road, this year?

“Not really, through the winter we had a big track block in the lead up to the national track champs, I also rode the national Madison champs and a few rounds of the Revolution series in Manchester and Glasgow. 

“The u23 euro track champs is also still on the cards depending on team selection of course, as we’ve got a strong track team on the programme, so there are still plenty of opportunities to take on the track. 

“It’s all about a balance and getting in a good road racing block also, we’re definitely fortunate to have such a good road calendar thanks to BC, so it’s all about getting in the good racing where it matters and getting the best quality out of the opportunities we are presented with.

Jake Stewart
Jake (bottom) loves the Madison. Photo©Ed Hood

You’re a very solid madison rider, do you miss riding that event?

“The madison is by far my favourite discipline on the track. 

“I definitely miss racing it, I was fortunate to ride my first elite Madison with Fred Wright at an International track meet in Switzerland at the end of last year which we both really enjoyed. 

“The madison events at the Revolution series are always good fun also, so when the track seasons finished, I’m always itching to get stuck into a Madison again by the time the new season comes around.” 

I notice you were in the winning team in the British team pursuit with Ethan Hayter – a fast wheel to follow.

“Unfortunately illness and injuries in the team meant that a few lads were unable to ride so I was fortunate to get a ride myself. 

“It’s always such a good feeling to win a team pursuit title as a team as it really pulls everyone together. 

“I think anyone following cycling closely has seen the success that Hayter has had over the past few weeks at the World Champs and Commie games, so to have him back in the squad when he returns will be really inspiring for all us lads.

What’s the programme now?

“We’re really lucky to have such a good calendar in place. Next up for us is ZLM, another Nations Cup (UCI season long u23 competetiton, ed.) and then from there we go back to Italy for a couple of races before we head back to the UK for a little bit. 

“Tour de Yorkshire is on the cards, which will be a great experience as a young rider if I get a ride there. 

“After that we’ve got some good stage races lined up, the likes of Fleche Du Sud, Ronde L’Oise, Paris-Arras, Course De La Paix, and then into National Road Champs in Northumberland which looks to be another savage race this year.

What will make 2018 the year you want it to be?

“Although results are always nice to get, for me 2018 is all about learning. 

“I’m a first year u23 so still got a long time left in this age group. 

“First year for me is all about learning and taking on as much information as I can. 

“u23 is a whole new style of racing compared to junior, so learning how to race best is an absolute priority.”