Sunday, October 17, 2021
HomeInterviewsHenrietta Colborne - Looking forward to racing in the Spanish hills

Henrietta Colborne – Looking forward to racing in the Spanish hills

-

It’s not just the boys which the Rayner Fund supports, the young ladies get their opportunities. Here’s what 19 year-old Miss Henrietta Colborne from the north of England had to tell us:

The Rayner Fund, how long have you been supported and how important is it to you?

“I was supported by Dave Rayner in 2017 and it was key to being able to ride abroad for a Dutch team, Swabo Ladies.

“The fund provide a great support mechanism funding me living with a Dutch family.

“Joscelin Ryan (a board member of the Dave Rayner Fund) is a great support at races with a smile on her face wanting to know how it was going.”

Henrietta Colborne
Henrietta winning in Swabo colours. Photo©supplied

Tell us about your time on the Ford-Ecoboost team in the UK in 2016.

“I was a last year Junior and on the British Cycling Junior National Team.

“Ford was one of the strongest UK teams at that time with ‘classy’ riders in who helped me develop in National races.

“Nicki Juniper helped me balance BC and team commitments; it was tough I had to supply my own bikes, fund travel etc. – very different to a boys team at the same level.”

How did you get the ride in the Netherlands last year with Swabo Ladies?

“Having raced in the same peloton as Swabo Ladies in July at the BeNe Ladies Tour I approached about joining for 2017.

“I had realised that the UK women’s scene, although improving, was far behind the Continental one.

“I needed to experience UCI racing and this was a career move forward.

“You just do not get 200 riders heading down three metre wide pave at breakneck speeds in the UK.”

What was the experience like?

“Racecraft was the big learning curve, the UCI races are about looking for opportunities to make moves, racing against the world’s strongest female riders so I had to use my ‘gas’ wisely and be aggressive.

“I learned a lot by following and watching the pros; I still have more to learn but year one saw me podium on a number of occasions.

“Holland is a great place for cycling. There’s a really good cycling community, a lot of teams, the local bike shops gets involved, downside; could do with more hills!”

Henrietta Colborne
Henrietta has been very proactive in securing contracts. Photo©supplied

Where were you based and what was the routine?

“I was based in Breda (South Holland) which is a vibrant town.

“The team was one hour away based just outside Rotterdam. I took my car out (a very old Berlingo) which allowed me to vary my training.

“A typical week was two races one midweek one at the weekend. As the scene is so big I was able to train with many local riders.

“I would head towards Belgium occasionally for the hills and stay with a teammate.”

How does Dutch ladies’ cycling compare to the UK ladies’ scene?

“It’s aggressive, fast and windy.

“The races are generally longer with a higher class of riders compared to the UK, as you get riders from UCI and World Tour teams.

“The flat, exposed roads means being able to ‘ride the wind’ is essential.”

How were your results?

“I would say I am content with my first year as an Elite Woman, three podiums including a win in a kermis in Belgium.

“Several top 20 UCI finishes including dixth in a stage at the Tour of L’Ardeche.

“My season started off with classic, brutal races where anything can happen (and it did) and the racing can be defined by the weather.

“I then had several UCI races and National races which allowed the team to compete as a unit. As a team we were not strong enough in UCI races so I was solo; I soon learnt who my friends were. As it progressed into late July and August the post tour crits came.

“These were my ‘fun’ races but extremely fast. These races were great, ‘free’ races without any expectation, a chance to have fun and try new things.

“I then finished off my season at the Tour of L’Ardeche with five mountain days of over 100km each day – proper women’s racing.”

Henrietta Colborne
Henrietta is looking forward to more hills in her racing. Photo©supplied

How did the Spanish ride come about?

“I contacted the DS about 2018 and things went from there! I went over to see them in the late season and things went well.”

The Netherlands to Spain, that’s a bit of a cultural leap surely?

“Yes, a very big one!

“Certainly the cultures are very different but the team is international and are all focused on the same goals so the dedication and commitment to training will be just as tough if not harder.”

Where will you be based and what’s the setup like?

“I will be living in Durango in the Basque region of Spain, staying in the team house.

“The roads are spectacular with their views. I am going to need to be able to climb hills!”

Have you met management or teammates yet?

“Yes we had a team weekend in November, doing team bonding activities.

“The staff and riders are devoted to cycling and to the team. We have a team week coming up for training so it will be good to learn off each other and get stuck into training together as a team.”

You’ve had some nice TT results in Herbiers and the Nations – is that an arena you’ve ever considered specializing in?

“Yes, but you cannot make a living from Time Trials!

“I started Time Trailing when I was 12 and quickly realised it was something I was good at.

“In 2016 I broke the Junior Women’s 10 Mile National Competition record by over 50 seconds. I also came 7th in the European Championships.

“Time Trailing is a passion of mine and very useful if you get yourself into a breakaway away in a road race or an attack.”

Henrietta Colborne
“It’s all about winning bike races”, says Henrietta. Photo©supplied

Have you ever considered trying to get selected for one of the British Cycling programmes?

“BC are based on the minority sport of Track Cycling, this is their funding stream, all else is secondary. I want to make a career out of cycling so I have chosen to ride the road.

“BC programs are excellent for track riders, the results show that.

“If the opportunity arises to ride for GB road of course I will, but the best chance for me to get the skills and craft I need is to race at UCI and World Tour level.”

What changes would you like the UCI to make to ladies’ cycling?

“Some more hilly ones!

“A lot of women’s racing ends in bunch sprints, there are a few races out there which are ‘hilly and hard’ e.g. Giro, Tour de Yorkshire. But I would like to see more!

“If the above happened just maybe the racing would be more interesting and therefore attract sponsors.

“The whole women’s scene is woefully underfunded – this is the first year I will not be riding my own road bike.”

What are your goals for 2018?

“I would love to get a top five in a UCI race, it’s a high ambition and would require a very good ride.

“I am looking forward to getting stuck into a different style of racing in the hills, being based in Spain.

“I also want to be an effective team mate on and off the bike, working as a team to achieve goals as we win bike races – I mean who doesn’t?”

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

Paul Double – 2nd in the Giro di Romagna

With so many tales of broken promises, teams folding and disillusioned young men heading home to Blighty from Europe, it’s good to tell a story where it all comes together and there’s a podium involved. Paul Double has been on our radar for a while, first as a ‘Zappi Man,’ a CTT Hill Climb medallist, riding for one of Italy’s top u23 teams – the mighty Colpack Ballan – then last year back as a ‘Zappi Man.’

Thomas Gloag – “I find myself getting better as the road slopes upwards”

Tom Pidcock’s stunning performance to win the ‘Baby’ Giro - with three stage wins along the way - over-shadowed a very promising ride by his Trinity Racing team mate, Thomas Gloag, the young man from London getting stronger as the race progressed.

Ryan Mullen – Silver Medallist in the World U23 Time Trial Championship

Ryan Mullen’s (Ireland & AN Post) progress through the sport has been little short of meteoric. Mullen won a superb silver medal in the Worlds U23 TT in last year's Championships in Ponferrada with only a heartbreaking 0.48 seconds behind Aussie winner, Campbell Flakemore – who’s now with BMC. We caught up with the Irish flyer early in the New Year as he returned from stocking up at the supermarket in Mallorca where he’s training with the Irish track squad.

Phil Trodden – From Rugby to Cycling to National Championship Medals in Two Seasons!

"Hey Ed, hope you are well? Just thought I'd let you know the Scottish guys are racing Ras Muhman this weekend, a four day over in Ireland. Phil Trodden in particular is riding for Scotland. I don't know if you know Phil, but he is an absolute gent and a proper racer..." That was the message from British Points Race Champion, Mark Stewart – best not argue with those trackies, they can get very emotional – so we dropped Phil a line and here’s what he had to say to us.

Star of the Future: Luke Rowe – Already a Winner

It's not every day that a GB rider wins a Netherlands amateur classic; but that's exactly what 19 year-old Welshman Luke Rowe did recently in De 'arjaan De Schipper Trofee'-to give it the full Dutch treatment - a race won by a certain Fabian Cancellara, a few years ago.

Lewis Askey – Signed with Groupama-FDJ then Locked Down

We’ve been big on the ‘retro’ lately – for obvious reasons – but with the season starting to come back to life we’ve been speaking to one of the ‘men of the future’, Lewis Askey. Askey is just 19 years-old and probably best known for winning the 2018 edition of the junior Paris-Roubaix; for season 2020 he’s with Equipe continentale Groupama-FDJ, based in Besancon.

At Random

Bob Jungels Solos Victorious in Kuurne Brussels Kuurne 2019

Sunday’s Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne UCI 1.1 HC is the bridesmaid to Het Nieuwsblad’s UCI WT bride but it’s a race with a long history dating back to 1946 and has some interesting winners including Roger De Vlaeminck, Patrick Sercu, Johan Museeuw, George Hincapie, Cav – and a certain Patrick Lefevere in 1978.

Ron Keeble – “No way I’d have let the Rainbow Jerseys go!”

Great Britain took Olympic Team Pursuit bronze in ’72; Worlds silver in ’73; tasted bitter disappointment in ’74 when on a world record ride and again took Olympic bronze in ’76. Recently we’ve interviewed three of the gentlemen who were in those teams: Ian Banbury, Rik Evans and Mick Bennett. We’ve caught up with another of the group, Mr. Ron Keeble who was in the Munich team which took Olympic bronze in 1972.

Michael Nicholson – Out Hard and Suffering Back

Michael Nicholson's (Dooleys) first '50' was a 1:51 and it took him to the Scottish title on a wind swept Saturday night along the banks of the Cromarty Firth. We thought we'd better have a word with the man.

Peter Hawkins – “if you do the work you do see the fruits of your labours”

Our pal Viktor has been hard at work; it's not everyone who could do his job, those long hours huddled over a computer screen, day in, day out - checking those Belgian cycling results websites. Lifting his head only to make another coffee ("sometimes my fingertips tingle with the caffeine"), or to phone me; "Ed, there's a boy you should be talking to..."

Brian Temple – Scotland’s First Commonwealth Games Cycling Medallist

Brian is the man who won Scotland’s first cycling medal back in 1970 when the Commonwealth Games came to Edinburgh for the first time. Australia and England were the top cycling nations in the competition with riders like Englishman Ian Hallam (who won the pursuit) and Australian John Nicholson (who won the sprint) and were expected to dominate the 10 mile; but a break comprising Vernon Stauble (Trinidad), Jocelyn Lovell (Canada) and Temple sneaked away from the Big Guns and stayed away.

Copenhagen Six Day 2019 – Nights One, Two and Three

The cannon fires, the smoke clears, then the drums, those damn drums! But it’s OK, it’s just the intro to Paul Delicato’s 1976 Euro Disco smash, ‘Cara Mia.’ Yes, we’re at the final Six Day of the season; the Copenhagen Six Day 2019.