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Jordan Kerby – the new World Pursuit Champion; “It’s pretty surreal”

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Jordan Kerby
Jordan Kerby.

VeloVeritas first spoke to 24 year-old Aussie Jordan Kerby three years ago; he was 2010 world junior points and team pursuit champion but then turned to the road.

Success came quickly and he won the 2013 Australian U23 Road Race Championship.

There followed a forgettable spell with Michael Rasmussen’s ill fated Christina Watches team before he moved back to Australia, winning the 2014 Australian U23 Time Trial Championship.

Whilst he achieved some promising results over the next seasons in the service of the Australian Drapac Pro Continental squad it’s fair to say that he never quite reached the levels he’d promised.

Drapac didn’t retain him for the merger with Cannondale so after some hard thinking, Kerby decided to go back to his first love – the velodrome, for 2017.

The result of his switch could hardly have met with more success – Australian and World Pursuit Champion.

We caught up with him shortly after his Worlds success where he rode the third fastest time ever in qualifying then beat reigning world champion Filippo Ganna of Italy in the final.

The man who we were keeping an eye on, Corentin Ermenault – the European individual and team pursuit champion – finished in fourth spot.

Ermenault has the best of genes; his dad was ex-pro and pursuit world champion, Philippe Ermenault.

Ermenault junior was on the podium in the 2016 U23 Ronde and rides in the colours of Wiggins this year.

But getting back to Mr. Kerby, we caught up with him shortly after his Hong Kong triumph.

Jordan Kerby
Jordan knows he’s the World Champion. Photo©AP

How does it feel to be champion of the world, Jordan?

“It’s pretty surreal, it hasn’t quite sunk in yet.

“But I’m sure that it will do over time.”

You rode the New Zealand Cycle Classic at the start of the year – how long did it take you to find your ‘track legs’ again?

“I started back on the track late October, at New Zealand I was pretty deep into a track block up in Brisbane just prior.

“I’d say if probably took five or six weeks to start feeling good on the track.”

You won your Nationals – that must have been a nice boost for the morale – what times did you do?

“My times at Nationals – 4:15.2 and 4:16.2 respectively – those were definitely a confidence booster.”

Did your National win qualify you for the Worlds?

“They didn’t necessarily qualify me.

“But Cycling Australia were willing to give me the opportunity to race at the worlds.

“I’m very grateful for that.”

You rode the third fastest pursuit ever in qualifying in Hong Kong – is the world record possible for you?

“I think it’s possible to break the world record – 1.5 sec is a lot of time to make up though.”

What do you think of the ‘two rides only’ Worlds format?

“For the individual pursuit two rides only is fine by me – eight kilometres at that pace is more than enough.”

How do you rate the Hong Kong track and organisation?

“Smooth and efficient, everything closely located.”

Can you tell us what gear ratio you rode – or is that top secret?

“A pretty small one compared to some of the other guys.”

[That’s a ‘yes it’s secret’ then ! ed.]

Jordan Kerby
Jordan survived the unsettling effect of the false start. Photo©GettyImages

Yell us about that ‘false start’ in the final.

“It was a bit of a shock, I wasn’t entirely sure what was going on.

“But as an athlete you have to be prepared to remain focussed and not let those things rattle you.”

No team pursuit for you, though?

“No, the team pursuit is becoming so specific.

“The boys were training together for a long time to get that world title.

“You can’t just show up with individual pursuit form and fit smoothly into a team pursuit, they require different physiologies.

“For me to ride the event I would’ve had to have been training with them for months beforehand.”

Who coaches you – what’s the ethos?

“I work with Nic Formosa, and my training can be quite simple sometimes.

“We work really hard – but smart and specific as well.”

Did you think you’d done enough to be retained by Drapac – did they give you plenty of notice? 

“Yes, I had more than enough notice and I didn’t have the season that would warrant a contract renewal.”

What’s the plan now?

“I haven’t decided just yet – I’m going to unwind from the Worlds first.”

Jordan Kerby
It’s not Jordan’s first rainbow jersey, and we don’t think it’ll be his last. Photo©Anthony Wallace/Getty

The Gold Coast 2018 must be in your mind?

Yes, I would love to throw my hand up for the Commonwealth Games on my home track.”

And Tokyo 2020?

“Sure, that would be a dream. Let’s see what the next 12 months brings first.”

With thanks to Jordan for his time – VeloVeritas wishes him well for season 2017.

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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