Wednesday, July 28, 2021
HomeInterviewsOllie Wood - "The Tokyo Olympics are the Big Goal"

Ollie Wood – “The Tokyo Olympics are the Big Goal”

-

The Six Days have changed so much; ‘back in the day’ the specialists would joust with the big road names in up to 17 venues from Copenhagen via Bordeaux and Grenoble to Milan.

Nowadays there are very few of the specialist due to a much reduced Six Day calendar and the road men need astronomic sums to tempt them onto the boards – and that’s if their DS’s give them permission.

Those Six Day boards are a dangerous place and with the season closing in late October (Cav was road racing in Abu Dhabi in early December!) then kicking off again January there’s little time to recover from a crash.

Therefore it’s very unusual to see a man who can finish top four in the Road Worlds in action on a Six Day track.

Step forward, GB rider Ollie Woods; granted it was the U23 Worlds where he was fourth but the race was won by a World Tour rider, AG2R’s Benoit Cosnefroy and of the surviving Six Days, Gent is the toughest and stays most faithful to ‘old school’ Six format, unlike London with its ‘Revolution’ type ‘Six Day lite’ programme.

As he did last year, Wood rode Gent with Scotland’s European U23 Omnium and Individual Pursuit Champion, Mark Stewart.

Ollie Wood
Ollie (l) with Martin and Mark in Gent. Photo©Ed Hood

The Wakefield man comes from good stock; father Alastair was British junior and senior points race champion, senior scratch and twice Madison champion among his total of 25 National medals – he also represented GB at junior and senior level on the world stage.

Like they say; ‘to be a champion you should choose your parents carefully.’

On the track Wood junior has been a consistent top performer with national team pursuit and scratch titles to his name in 2014.

In 2015 he again was in the winning team at national level and added the European U23 team pursuit title.

Last year he was on the European podium in both the U23 and Elite team pursuit competitions – bronze on both occasions.

And this season saw gold in the Manchester World Cup team pursuit.

We caught up with the now 22 year-old – his birthday was the week after the Six finished – to discuss his 2017 season and his plans for 2018 and beyond.

Ollie Wood
Ollie in action in Gent. Photo©Ed Hood

You and Mark rode in Gent last year, how does this year compare, Ollie?

“A bit easier because you know what to expect; it’s a totally different sensation, this track is tiny, a massive difference from the 250 metre tracks we ride in European and World Cup competitions.”

How did you get into cycling?

“My dad raced and was a British champion on the track, he started riding again on his fortieth birthday and I used to go out with him.

“I did a bit of running, triathlon then mountain biking and cyclo-cross, I was in the Aire Valley Cycling Club and it all just grew from there – riding the Scunthorpe Track League then the Manchester Track League.”

And you’ve come up through all of the British Cycling programmes?

“Yeah, I started on the ‘Talent’ programme then moved up to the ‘Olympic Development Programme’ then ‘The Academy’ and now I’m on the ‘Podium’ programme.

“I don’t find it overly regimented, we have our own house and as long as we’re doing the training that’s prescribed we’re pretty much left to get on with it.”

How’s your acceptance here in Gent from the other teams?

“It’s pretty friendly and you have to take time to savour the atmosphere in the place – at World Cup meets it’s much more intense and competitive.”

Ollie Wood
Ollie has produced some great rides at world level on the road too. Photo©Ed Hood

Tell us about 2017.

“I pulled it together with my Worlds result, I broke my wrist in the Giro Bio so I had a late start to my road campaign after the track in the winter – but I did ride the Tour de l’Avenir and Tour of Britain, which were good prep for The Worlds.”

That was a nice ride in Bergen.

“I thought that it might be a boring race once it was on the circuit but not a bit of it, there was always something happening – you just didn’t know what to expect.

“Our plan had been to ride for Chris Lawless but he wasn’t there so we had our options open.

“The last climb was very hard; when Cosnefroy and Kamna got away there was just our Mark Stewart and Pedersen the Dane chasing, if one more strong guy had aided the chase we’d have had them back.

“If you’d said to me before the race that I’d be fourth than I’d have bitten your hand off but when you’re so close to the podium you think about, ‘what might have been.’”

What’s your next race?

“The World Cup in Milton, Canada where I’ll be riding the omnium and madison. (Wood finished second in the omnium and third, with Stewart, in the Madison, ed.)

“Our team pursuit pool is really strong and deep right now, there’s a lot of competition to get in – we’re going to have a really strong team for the Olympics.

“After Milton there’ll be A LOT of training.

“At the Apeldoorn Worlds I’d like to ride the team pursuit, Madison and omnium then at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast the team pursuit, omnium and scratch.”

Ollie Wood
Ollie will be riding for JLT Condor next season. Photo©Ed Hood

What’s the plan for 2018?

“I’m going to have a major training block in then the Worlds are end of February/beginning of March in the Netherlands with the Games at the beginning of April in Australia.

“I’m with JLT Condor for next season and I hope the make the most of the road opportunities I have with them once the Games are past.

“The ride I did in the Worlds along with other road results I’ve had (Wood had a fifth and a seventh on l’Avenir stages and won the Rydedale GP, a major event on the British domestic calendar, ed.) have given my confidence a big boost.”

Is your longer term future on road or track?

“Tokyo is the big goal on the track – and then I’ll turn to the road.”

VeloVeritas wishes Ollie well in Apeldoorn, The Gold Coast and Tokyo.

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.

Related Articles

Grenoble Six Day 2010, Night Five – Velocious Elia Viviani

There’s no telling what you’ll see when you walk up those stairs; you’d expect to see Elia Viviani or Teun Mulder on the rollers on their road bikes or Shane Perkins on his track bike on the rollers — but a juggler?

The Time Capsule: Colby Pearce – An American Team in the Six Days

The experienced American rider Colby Pearce was one of the guys looked after by Kris, Martin and Ed at some of this winters' Six Days, including the recent event at the Ballerup Stadium in Copenhagen. Having raced at elite level on the track at the Olympics, at World Cups and in the World Championships, as well as being a National Champion 14 times and holder of the US Hour Record (50.191), together with a spell working as the US Track Coach, Colby had seen most of what track cycling had to offer. One element was missing though: Six Day Racing...

Rotterdam Six Day 2020 Finale

Ed parachuted in to the Rotterdam Six Day 2020 on Tuesday afternoon to help Kris break camp and load the camper in anticipation of driving up to Bremen and the Six Day which started there on Thursday evening. When you wander up the tunnel stairs and into the track centre at Rotterdam with the u23’s hurtling round, the lights blazing and the PA pumping it’s still damn cool...

Gent Six Day 2010 – Third Night, Iljo Keeps the Lead but Frays a Little

I just received an email from Rapha; "The New Tweed Softshell and City Riding Collection" - that's exactly what I need, tweed. Set a new trend at the Kuipke. We're here for the Gent Six Day 2010.

Rotterdam Six Day 2011 – Day Six, It’s Danny’s Name Painted on the Fence Again

Rotterdam Six Day 2011 - it's approaching midnight, we're in the camper, headed north out of Holland to Bremen in Germany on a pan flat, black motorway. Kris is headed for the Six Days of Bremen to work with Franco Marvulli (fingers crossed that he's well) and Jens-Erik Madsen.

Copenhagen Six Day 2014 Snapshots

The Copenhagen Six Day follows straight after Berlin; the trip isn’t fun – load the camper after the midnight finish in Berlin, drive through the night to the ferry at Rostock, sleep in the camper for an hour or two at temperatures well below zero, hop the ferry across the Baltic, then drive up through Denmark to Copenhagen through the snow and wind.

At Random

Harry Bulstrode – Silver Medallist at the Scottish ’10’ Championships 2015

The start sheet for the National ‘10’ took a bit of getting hold of; but I guess we shouldn’t forget that all those obscure course codes were designed to maintain the secrecy back in the days when we weren’t supposed to race on the public highways. Do I hear you say; ‘but that was 70 years ago, Ed?' Well, yes, but you can’t let just anyone have a start sheet, I mean they might want to come and report on the race and even take photographs ...

Return To Normal Proceedings; Andre Greipel back on top

After the W Clarke bolt from the blue of yesterday, there was no way that Stage 3 of the TDU was going to be anything but a bunch sprint, and all of the key teams worked together to guarantee this today, with Andre Greipel from Lotto again the winner. The big man can sprint! Will he finally threaten Cav this year?

Gent Six Day 2012 – Saturday Night

There are tired legs in the bunch but on a wet and windy Saturday night at the Gent Six Day 2012 all roads again led to Het Kuipke for another sell out beer and bike racing fest.

The VV View: Eight Cycling Medals for Scotland in the Commonwealth Games

Eight Cycling Medals for Scotland at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games; Scottish cyclists hit the jackpot with gold for the inimitable Katie Archibald in the pursuit and for Mark Stewart in the points race.

Grote Prijs Gemeente Beveren 2007

It's long been a puzzle to me - who actually works in Flanders? It's 11.30am at Beveren Waas on a Monday, two hours until the start and the Grote Prijs Gemeente Beveren race HQ is already heaving. Officials from the federation and all the participating clubs, mechanics, masseurs, mums, dads, girlfriends, sponsors and of course, riders; 196 of them. People have their priorities right here, and work isn't one of them - it comes somewhere after bike racing, family and doing what you enjoy.

Mark Stewart – “I realise AN Post is ‘the real deal'”

The last time we spoke to Scotland’s top endurance track rider, Mark Stewart he’d just added to his growing medal collection at the European Championships with bronze in the team pursuit and silver in the scratch. Some nice road results in the Ronde van Oost Vlaanderen followed where he made his breakthrough from riding as a domestique and/or ‘getting round’ to being a serious contender for stage and overall honours.