Interview: Gemma Neill (Bonito Squadra Corse)


Question and Answer with Gemma Neill (Bonito Squadra Corse) from Angus in Scotland

RST Cycle Clothing & Trigon Bikes

From Angus in Scotland, Gemma Neill (Bonito Squadra Corse) came into cycling after trying a couple of local triathlons. “I realised I really enjoyed cycling. I have always taken part in sport competitively so it was only natural to take up road racing” Gemma explained to VeloUK.

2013 Gemma Neil

How long have you been racing and what is your favourite type of cycle racing?
Gemma: I have had three seasons racing and although I have taken part in a few track events, I prefer the variation and challenges of road racing.

Have you noticed any changes to the sport of women’s racing during the time you have been in the sport?
Gemma: There is far more support towards women’s racing now. I have noticed a big difference this year in particular. More publicity has been given to the women’s races and the improved media coverage has also helped show that women’s racing can be just as exciting as the men’s.

What has been the highlight of 2013 for you?
Gemma: Definitely completing my degree. I now have more time to ride my bike. Race wise, the Bedford Stage race was a success. I was on good form and had great team support from Bonito Sqaudra Corse.

Which race has been the best one to do in 2013?
Gemma: I really enjoyed the Bedford stage race. This is a really well organised race with a good variety of races. It always brings a good crowd of spectators on the final day adding to the atmosphere.

Do you coach yourself or have a coach to help structure your training?
Gemma: John Bremner coaches me and has done for three years. He provides me with a weekly plan and regular counselling before and after races!

How many hours a week would you train on and off the bike?
Gemma: Hours vary depending on the time of year. Winter is about building up good base miles. This means long steady rides. I also do a group turbo session at this time of year just to vary my training. I will train for about 3 hours off the bike through the winter months.

Do you work full time/part time etc …
Gemma: At the moment I am in a position where I can train like a pro! Finishing my degree means I am busy job hunting for my fist staff nurse post, enjoying this luxury whilst it lasts.

What is the best thing about racing bikes?
Gemma: I love the tactics, having to constantly think about where you need to be and what you want to achieve from the race is great.

And what is the one thing you enjoy least!
Gemma: The travelling. Living in Scotland means I have to travel down to England every weekend to attend races. This can become expensive and tiring. It’s always worth it though.

If you could change one of your weaknesses into a strength, which one would it be?
Gemma: I tend to be really hard on myself whether I’ve done well or not. I analyse everything so therefore spend a lot of time thinking about what I could have done differently. I am trying to take a different approach for 2014.

Do you have a separate winter bike for training on?
Gemma: Yes, I have an old cross bike and it weighs a tone! Good training though, so my coach tells me.

Who chose the bike you race on and if you, why that specific brand and groupset?
Gemma: I rode a Giant TCR Advanced 2 this year which was a great bike however I fancy something new for 2014. Not sure what yet.

Is yours an off the peg unisex bike or a women’s specific model?
Gemma: I ride unisex bikes, for me this seems to work fine. The set up is perfect. A ladies saddle is the only change I make.

Are there things about cycle racing that women need to understand that men don’t?
Gemma: I think women can be a lot harder on themselves regardless of how well they have done.

What will you be doing training wise during the winter – as little as possible or a structured programme based on getting success in 2014?
Gemma: The past few months, I have been doing my own training whilst I finished my degree. I have started a structured programme this week.

Is it hard training in the winter with the British weather?
Gemma: No, makes a winter training week in the sun really nice though.

Do you have any tips for other female riders to help with winter training?
Gemma: Definitely a ‘buff’, I can’t stand to have cold ears.

Thanks to Gemma and good luck for 2014!


Other Results on VeloUK (including reports containing results)

Other News on VeloUK

Tags: , ,