Monday, December 6, 2021
HomeInterviewsJacob Hennessy - Mitchelton-BikeExchange is home for season 2018

Jacob Hennessy – Mitchelton-BikeExchange is home for season 2018


Jacob Hennessy
Jacob Hennessy.

You ride your first race in March 2015 and by 2017 you’ve won the U23 Gent-Wevelgem.


Yes, that’s what we thought.

Jacob Hennessy is only 21 years-old and has left the shelter of the British Cycling plans and programmes for the rough and tumble of the Continental Teams and the UCI Asia Tour.

Mitchelton-BikeExchange is his home for season 2018.

The team is the development squad for Australia’s Mitchelton-Scott World Tour team.

Gerry Ryan, owner of the World Tour team and one of Australia’s richest men, has again put his money where his mouth is.

Ryan has long been a supporter and benefactor of Australian Cycling – he owns the title sponsor Mitchelton winery/hotel/spa and also has an interest in the secondary name, Bike Exchange the on-line bicycle and components retailer.

The team is Chinese registered, they have four riders from that vast nation on their books who the Chinese Federation are delighted to see training and racing at this level with a well organised and responsible team

As well as the four Chinese riders and young Mr. Hennessy there are four Aussies and a Colombian on the books.

Among the Aussies is multiple junior Worlds medallist on the track, 2017 London Six Day winner and three times Aussie national U23 time trial champion, Callum Scotson.

And if the name Brayan Chaves looks familiar that’s because he’s the brother of Giro and Vuelta podium rider and Lombardia winner, Esteban Chaves.

A cosmopolitan but very talented roster.

We caught up with Jacob after his first race for his new team which saw him deliver sixth place in Stage One of the Dubai Tour in a finale which involved Messrs. Cavendish, Kittel and Viviani.

He was also active on the final stage, breaking away with team mate Rob Stannard and only reeled in late in the day.

Do you remember your first race, Jacob – when was that and how did it go?

“My first race was in March 2015; a local race which was four laps of a nine mile circuit – I won from a bunch kick.”

Jacob Hennessy
Jacob taking the win in the 2017 u23 Gent-Wevelgem. Photo©JDC

The U23 Gent-Wevelgem, a nice race to win, tell us about the parcours and how you won.

“An amazing experience in my first UCI Nation’s Cup Season (the UCI’s season-long competition for U23 riders, ed).

“A group of us got away in a crosswind section and worked well together.

“I focused on saving energy and doing my part until it came to the last 45 minutes when I started really driving through and I won from a small group on the cobbled street finish.

“The race itself suits me well as it’s a flat fast race which is all about position but with a few short steep climbs for good measure.”

And there was fifth on GC in Paris-Arras, with a stage win too…

“I set out all day to try to split the race on the first stage but no matter how many crosswinds I rode through the group stayed together.

“My team mates were amazing in the final on that stage.

“Off the back of a big track racing block we had a lot of power to put me in the perfect position for the finish.”

We don’t hear much about your other win on the continent: GP Pierre Dewailly Froidmont at Tournai, Belgium…

“That race was really fast from the start.

“I attacked early in a crosswind before a climb and a group of us got away; I attacked again with two circuits to go and a group of five or six of us worked hard with everyone trying to break away solo but eventually those of us in the break sprinted for the win.”

Jacob Hennessy
Jacob signing on and hoping he doesn’t slip on his cleats. Photo©supplied

Is your ride with Mitchelton-BikeExchange a tie in with British Cycling or a new direction altogether?

“A new direction, a really good opportunity but I’m still on good terms with the national team so I hope to get to represent them later on in the year again.”

What’s the story behind the Mitchelton-BikeExchange set up?

“It’s a Chinese-registered development team for the world tour squad Mitchelton Scott.

“The aim is to develop all of us into World Tour level bike racers.

“It’s also a great opportunity for the Chinese riders to ride and race in Europe.”

Scott are the team bikes – which model and what’s the equipment?

“We will tend to get the ‘pre-raced’ bikes from the World Tour teams.

“So we will be using the Scott foil races bikes from last season but they are basically all still brand new.”

You were on the World Tour team training camp – what was that experience like?

“It was a great experience and they were an excellent group of guys to work with – really enjoyable.

“It was very relaxed which was surprising considering the work load.”

Your sixth place, Stage One – Dubai, good for the morale. 

“Yes, I was really happy for myself and the team.”

How was the acceptance/respect from the World Tour teams in that race?

“Good, I knew a few riders from the bigger teams which helped but it was early season and everybody was enjoying the race.

“I tried to give as much respect as possible to the other riders and the respect was returned.”

What’s your favourite kind of race?

“A fast, windy race potentially with some cobbles.”

Where’s ‘home’ for 2018?

“Gavirate, Italy which is in Lombardy Region, the province of Varese, near Lago di Varese.”

How’s the race programme looking?

“Busy but really good.

“We have been looking at fitting in some quality training along with some ideal races to perform at.”

What’s 2018 about for Jacob Hennessy?

“Trying to get some more consistent results and developing.

“It’s all still quite new to me and I’m really just looking forward to the season proper starting.”

We’re sad to see that Jacob broke his collarbone on Saturday in a crash and wish him a speedy recovery. VeloVeritas will keep an eye out for him as the season progresses.

Jacob Hennessy
Photo©Jacob Hennessy
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

Llewellyn Kinch – Two Wins from 13 Starts in Belgian Kermises

Our man with his finger on the Flanders pulse, Vik, first tipped us off about this gentleman at the end of the 2011 season. Llewellyn Kinch was getting up there on the Belgian results websites and onto Vik’s radar. Here are the background questions we asked, from the end of the 2011 season.

Joe Nally – in France for 2021, with Team Elite Restauration 89

Joe Nally is a resilient lad. He's gone out and got himself a ride with French Division Two équipe, Team Elite Restauration 89 based in Toucy for season 2021. Not a bad move in our opinion; the French scene may not be as strong as it once was but it’ll certainly provide more and better racing than Joe would have access to in the UK.

James McKay Blog – Tour de Mirabelle and Other Races

It feels like I only arrived in France a few weeks ago, yet the summer has started now. The weather and racing has been heating up, I've raced the UCI 2.2 Tour de Mirabelle and plenty of other events. Here's the story so far...

Sam Spokes – a Great Start for Drapac with 5th at the Aussie Nationals

He has a great name for a cyclist, Sam Spokes; we first spoke to the young Aussie in 2013 when he was making a name for himself with QuickStep U23 feeder team, Etixx. Last year also saw some nice results - but not enough to move him up to the Etixx World Tour squad. But all is not lost, he’s signed with Australian Pro Continental team, Drapac – and in his first race in the Aussie team’s distinctive red jersey he made the winning break in the recent Australian Elite Road race taking a solid fifth behind winner Heinrich Haussler (IAM Cycling).

Freddy Ovett – Racing with U23 AG2R and “learning how to win”

'Ovett?' - is he any relation to Steve Ovett? Yup, his son - but we're not here to speak to or about dad, we want to hear what Freddy has to say. From runner to riding for the Ag2r-La Mondiale development squad in just two years - that's special and we just had to have a word. Especially when we found out he's 'one of us' - a Scotsman.

Robert Smail – “I just can’t get enough of those dead straight, pan flat concrete roads”

It’s not been a good year for VeloVeritas chief cycling soothsayer, observer and talent scout, Viktor. First there were Brad’s new tattoos, then the beard; David Millar’s shoes were hard to bear – and then someone mentioned ‘Jensie’ in the same breath as Eddy Merckx. It was all too much ... But our man Dave Chapman has been scanning the Belgian kermis results for us and a name he’s spotted making the prize lists time and again is that of Englishman Robert Smail.

At Random

Callum Macgregor – organiser of the Duncan Macgregor Memorial

Last weekend saw the Duncan Macgregor Memorial road race take place in Fife. The race almost didn't happen, so we thought we'd ask organiser, Callum Macgregor what the story was.

Marc Ryan – “Now is a good time to stop”

Yes, we know, it’s still Classics Season – albeit VeloVeritas’s resident soothsayer Viktor maintains the season finishes with Paris-Roubaix and everything thereafter is a ‘Glamour Race’ – but Rio will be upon us before we know it and we felt we had to record the retirement of a man who we’d expected to be a mainstay of the New Zealand team pursuit squad in Brazil but who has decided to bow out before the Olympics; Marc Ryan.

Iain Macleod – 3:28:33; the fastest 100 mile time trial ever ridden on Scottish roads

It was 2019 when we last spoke to Iain Macleod - he was with Aberdeen Wheelers then but is now with Kelpie Racing - he’d just won the SC 50 mile championships and the man is making the headlines again; a couple of weeks ago he took the Scottish Cycling Olympic Time Trial title and before that recorded the fastest 100 mile time trial ever ridden on Scottish roads.

Is La Vuelta too hard?

La Vuelta; have you seen the parcours? Brutal! In my opinion, too hard; if it was Italy or Spain they'd engineer it to suit the characteristics of the 'home boy,' but in España it's one for the mountain men - maybe they forgot that Alberto wasn't riding; that we may have seen the best of Carlos; that Valverde will have a bad day and that José Manuel Fuente and Luis Ocaña have left us (God rest their souls).

Scottish Road Race Mens Championship 2016 – Magnificent Seven for Evan Oliphant

A clean sprint and Evan Oliphant bags win number seven in the Scottish Road Race Championship. I suspect it wasn’t coincidence that he was assigned number 7 as his race number today, a nice touch. The result had a familiar ring to it though, if you were to look at the past ten years of championship results. Don't however, be deceived into thinking this was anything other than a very well organised race on a very demanding circuit and what was lacking in glamour was more than made up for in grit shown by the riders on a day of mixed weather on bleak moorland roads.

Le Tour de France 2012 – First Rest Day

Bonjour! VeloVeritas joins le Tour. The hotel is the Formule 1, Viry, with a wonderful view of a pile of tyres – it’s a glamorous life. But we’re not complaining. Easyjet, Edinburgh to Geneva wasn’t too bad, finding the car hire was a bit of a magical mystery tour but we were soon headed for Mâcon, our credentials and the Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank hotel.