A day in the life

It may not have the glam­our of the Tour de France, but Bri­tain’s do­mes­tic race scene re­quires just as much grit and pas­sion. spends the day with new women’s team Ford Ecoboost

Cyclist - - First Person - Words SAM CHALLIS Pho­tog­ra­phy GE­OFF WAUGH

grey day in Steve­nage is not quite in the same league as the Grand Dé­part at Mont St Michel, but you’d never guess it by judg­ing how Team Ford Ecoboost pre­pare them­selves for round four of The Ma­trix Fit­ness GP.

Uni­formly dressed in dis­tinc­tive or­ange polo shirts, the rid­ers are easy to pick out among the other teams at the race brief­ing. It projects a level of pro­fes­sion­al­ism in con­trast to the more lais­sez-faire dress code and behaviour of their ri­vals. Af­ter be­ing em­bed­ded within the team for the day, Cy­clist dis­cov­ers this is about far more than just mak­ing a first im­pres­sion.

‘Right from the start we wanted to stand out from our ri­vals,’ says Nikki Ju­niper, Ford Ecoboost’s team cap­tain. ‘We never ad­ver­tised this team – we hand-se­lected rid­ers who we thought would be a good fit. It was im­por­tant for us to nur­ture tal­ent and prove to young girls that there are other path­ways into pro­fes­sional cy­cling aside from get­ting into Great Bri­tain squads, so we picked a di­verse mix of rid­ers with the strengths to com­ple­ment each other.’

This se­lec­tion pol­icy ap­pears to have paid off. ‘In the short time we’ve been to­gether we have re­ally gelled as a team,’ says Julie Ersk­ine, one of the core mem­bers of the Ford Ecoboost squad. ‘It makes rac­ing to­gether so much eas­ier as ev­ery­one is will­ing to work for each other. I’ve had mixed ex­pe­ri­ences on pre­vi­ous teams but I feel my per­for­mances are im­prov­ing this sea­son be­cause I’ve been given the con­fi­dence to try things in races.’

All for one

That ca­ma­raderie on Team Ford Ecoboost is plain to see as the race prepa­ra­tion be­gins in earnest in Steve­nage’s leisure cen­tre car

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.