Tuesday, August 3, 2021
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Joanna Rowsell – Olympic Champion!

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Continuing our series of interviews with Olympians past and present, we talk to Olympic team pursuit champion, Joanna Rowsell.

We tried to get some of that ‘top secret’ stuff from her – but she’s much too diplomatic.

Joanna Rowsell
Joanna (r) with Dani King and Chris Evans.

Has it all sunk in, yet?

“Yes it is beginning to sink in now, but it still feels weird that it’s all over!”

If you had to pick just one moment from the Olympics?

“The laps of honour after we had won!”

Six rides, six world records – is there any kind of incentive for you to break records – other than the kudos?

“Ha-ha, no incentive!

“We just ride to our own schedule and we are always training hard to improve and that has resulted in us going faster every time we ride!”

Joanna Rowsell
Laura leads Dani and Joanna at top speed.

Tell us about the crowd.

“The crowd were absolutely incredible!

“As soon as we start the crowd roar!

“You forget about your legs hurting and are just spurred on by the cheering.

“The noise follows us round the track and it is an amazing feeling.”

I noticed that in the final that some of the team rode shorter spells?

“In the final we each rode three turns on the front which was our strategy.”

Joanna Rowsell
The atmosphere in the London Velodrome was amazing.

l’Equipe says you had ‘Magic Wheels’…

“This is hilarious!

“There is nothing magic about the wheels!

“We have all trained very hard and tried to peak for the Olympic Games and we got it right!”

What gear did you ride in the final?

“I rode 101 inch gear.”

How much do you have to do with the ‘Secret Squirrels’ – do they explain and ask for feedback on stuff like the new fork crowns on your bikes?

“No I don’t have any contact with them.

“To be honest I didn’t even notice at first that my forks had been changed.”

Joanna Rowsell
The special edition Royal Mail stamp which celebrates the women’s Olympic Gold.

No track mitts – is that for aero reasons?

“We never race in track mitts except for in bunch races.

“I have always assumed skin is more aero than a glove!”

Are the new helmets as hot as they look?

“The new helmets feel good and were no hotter than any other aero helmets I have used.”

What about the skinsuits – how do they feel, are you individually fitted for them?

“The skinsuits felt great.

“The kit was made by Adidas but we got a say in which chamois we would prefer!”

How was the post race celebration?

“We postponed our team celebrations until the end of the week as Laura was racing in the omnium but then we had a great night out in London and then of course the Closing Ceremony on the Sunday.”

Joanna Rowsell
The girls finally finish racing and can celebrate together.

Have you had your chocolate overdose, yet?

“Yes!

“I have definitely had enough chocolate now.

“I got sent a 1kg bar, which is a lot!”

Will you be having a break from the boards?

“Yes, I will probably have about a month off from training.”

Joanna Rowsell
Jo poses with the sponsor’s subtle car.

How does the programme look, now?

“I haven’t got my programme finalised yet but the next event on the horizon looks likely to be the Glasgow World Cup in November.”

When does the prep start for Rio?

“As soon as I get back on my bike…

“But serious prep will start two years out when the qualification period begins.”

Your brother Erick will have even less chance of the TV remote now that you’re Olympic champion?

“Ha-ha, that is not true!”

Congratulations again to Joanna, and thanks to her for her time and the use of her photos, via filles-a-velo.

Joanna Rowsell
Joanna’s photo of the closing ceremony fireworks.
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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