Tuesday, August 3, 2021
HomeInterviewsJoanna Rowsell - On the Olympic Build-up

Joanna Rowsell – On the Olympic Build-up


As the world is gripped by Tour Fever, it’s easy to forget that just days after the Champs Elysees protocols are done and dusted, it’ll be time for the Olympic Games, in London.

VeloVeritas was lucky enough to get an interview with a lady who’s been an integral part of the dominant GB ladies team pursuit squad.

She’s won Worlds gold with the squad in 2008, 2009 and 2012, not to mention silver in 2010.

What’s been your programme between the Worlds and London?

“First of all I had a block of road training based at my parent’s in Surrey before returning to Manchester at the end of May.

“We then had a big block of training on the track and in the gym.

“We have just got back from a training camp in Mallorca to top up our endurance and now we’ll only have track training until the Olympics.”

Joanna poses for the team pic. Image©British Cycling.

It must be difficult training as a group but knowing that some won’t make the final line up?

“There are just four of us now and with the Olympic Team Pursuit being run over three rounds as opposed to the usual two, we may well use the option of swapping riders between rounds.

“We get on well and we all need each other so we are working well together as a team of four.”

Tell us about a ‘big training day in the life of Joanna’ please.

“We have just returned from Mallorca where we have been doing some good volume but also with plenty of intensity.

“A big training ride out there is going to Sa Calobra and back – which is a four-and-a-half hour ride altogether.

“The first climb of Lluc is ridden at threshold for approximately 20 minutes.

“It’s then a relentless rolling road before the descent of Sa Calobra.

“We did the climb twice doing intervals of 20 second sprints, 40 seconds easy, all in 30 plus degree heat, and then rode home.

“We are lucky to have the following car providing plenty of spare bottles (I probably drank about 10 bottles during this ride) as well as energy bars and gels.”

The view back down to Sa Calobra after 10 minutes of climbing – only 45 to go!

What’s the toughest training you do?

“A training camp in Mallorca is probably our toughest block of training as it is high volume as well as high intensity.”

Tell us about your final sessions and taper, please.

“During the taper we would take out the road volume and just maintain the intense efforts on the track in order to recover from the volume of training we have done in the build up.”

How many watts do you average in a three k team pursuit?

“I don’t know what the average is but I would hit a peak of around 1000 watts at the start and then during the ride 500 plus watts on the front and 300 watts whilst on the wheel.”

Who are the main opposition?

“Australia, Canada, New Zealand and America have all ridden quicker than 3 minutes 20 so are our biggest rivals.”

Joanna with her teammates celebrate victory at the Manchester World Cup last year.

Can you give us any clues about ‘trick’ equipment/clothing for the games?

“There won’t be any tricks!

“We have great equipment and for me it will just be the same bike I have been racing on all year.

“Tell us about the London track, please.

“It is a beautiful new track and so smooth to ride.

“The bankings are not as steep as on some other tracks; this makes it good for team pursuiting as it is very important for us to hold a smooth line.”

Have you ever fancied points or scratch racing?

“Yes I enjoy riding bunch races and compete at the National Championships in these events but at an international level my strengths lie in pursuiting and team pursuiting so these are what I compete in and the other girls take on the bunch races.”

No British road race for you, why?

“We were away in Mallorca for a training camp whilst the National Road Race was on.

“It was only the second time I have missed the National RR since 2005.

“It was a shame to miss it but this year is all about the track!”

Will we see more of you on the road after the Olympics?

“Yes I am definitely looking forward to doing more racing on the road next season.

“In previous seasons I have spent time racing in Belgium and Holland and this racing suits me, so I am looking forward to doing more of that next year and maybe some stage races.”

Getting fitted for her new GB Olympic kit.

What do you think of the new GB team colours for London?

“I love the Team GB kit!

“It is great that the flag has been incorporated and I think the kit looks very classy.

“I went to Loughborough a couple of weeks ago to get my GB kit issue and the kit feels great to wear and fits really well.”

Hoy or Kenny – who would you put in the sprint and why?

“That is a tough one!

“I think I would go for Jason Kenny as he beat Chris at the Worlds and that will leave Chris able to focus on the keirin.”

Joanna appeared on the live TV programme Daybreak, pictured here with the hosts.

How do your folks cope with two fanatics in the one house?

“I think they like it!

“None of us were involved with cycling previously but now that Erick (Endura pro) and I are racing, my parents have become big cycling fans.

“They love coming to watch us race and also enjoy watching the pro races on TV, like the Tour at the moment.”

What are you most looking forward to eating/drinking/doing, after London?

“I am really looking forward to having a holiday somewhere hot and sunny without the bike.

“I will also be eating plenty of chocolate!”

Visit Joanna’s site for all the latest news and results.

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

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