Interview – Rory Towsend


Chatting to young rider (19) Rory Townsend who has no fear of mixing it with the big guns in the pro peloton as he showed in the Jock Wadley

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Interview – Rory Towsend

Last lap of the Jock Wadley and three riders are left out front after a real bun fight over the last few laps. World Tour stage winner Steele Von Hoff is aware of the threat from Yanto Barker and Barker knows he can’t take Von Hoff to the finish.


In the middle of this chess on wheels game is a 19 year old who has been in the breaks with the pros in the Perfs Pedal and Severn Bridge; Rory Townsend. The Wadley though, where others like Hugh Wilson have made their name, is a step up and behind these three in the race on Sunday was a small group led by the beast that is Marcin Bialoblocki.

I listened as another very talented young rider who was in the chase group with Marcin described how he was able to hold a gap to Marcin but not close it. The Polish rider has a big reputation for being a powerhouse and he was closing in on Barker, Von Hoff and Townsend. Thing is, Von Hoff wasn’t going to ride if Barker wasn’t and the latter wasn’t taking Von Hoff to the finish.

That left Rory Towsend. A 19 year old who has been racing since he was in the under 14 ranks as a Youth and a rider who lacked consistency as a junior due to illness.

So there he was, riding on the front for the final lap of the Wadley circuit being chased by the beast with two world class pros on his wheel. And then, in a final throw of the dice, Rory attacked in the final K to prevent Bialoblocki nicking his third place.

This he did and the ride by the youngster had many people talking about him post race.

“I could see Marcin coming up behind me and in my head, I thought ‘ there is no worse place to finish than fourth’ so I had to keep it going.”


Barker crosses the line in second with Townsend on his wheel and Bialoblocki a few metres back.

Prior to this season, Rory got going again in the sport in 2013 and managed a few local race wins and this year, at 19, is now making many people sit up and take notice. Asked about the good form, Rory says “I’ve had a really solid winter, the first time I’ve had such a good winter and then had a really good training camp with the team in Malaga as well. Since then, I’ve come back and I’m gradually building up in the races I am doing.”

“Severn Bridge was a step up from Perfs and this is a step up from Severn Bridge.” Rory explained how he’s working with Jon at Trainsharp who has helped him structure his training. “It’s really great to have them behind me” says Rory.

“I’m doing a lot of strength work and plenty of miles and I am training more consistently than I used to and I know each ride I do is for a reason. The structure of it has helped massively and I don’t go out now without the power metre on the bike or heart rate monitor.”

Asked what it is like racing with guys like Von Hoff who has ridden at WorldTour level for two years and won a stage in a WorldTour race this year, Rory replied, “I try not to think about it. These guys deserve respect but there is a fine line between giving them respect and fearing them. So it’s great to be mixing it with them and learning from them.”


Von Hoff leads Townsend and Barker in the final laps of the Jock Wadley.

Rory’s Break
The best place to be in a race a lot of the time can be the ‘break’ where the riding tends to be smoother and everyone looks after each other in a common goal to stay away from the chasers. Then, towards the end, those alliances are binned and the co-workers become bitter rivals. So when the proverbial hit the fan in the Wadley, only one rider was with Barker and Von Hoff, that was Rory.

“I felt fairly comfortable in the break with them. I had one of those days where I felt really good, much better than at Severn Bridge after a solid week of training. I went with the first move from our group and it had all the main teams represented and I thought it was going to stick. But it got brought back and then Yanto went up the hill really really hard, took Steele with him and then I bridged across to them last minute.”

That is some statement for a 19 year old to make. ‘Bridged to Barker and Von Hoff’ who are both every experienced riders who have ridden many big races. It shows, that after a distance like 100k to then bridge to some top riders like that, that the young Townsend has quite an engine in him. Asked what his goals are for 2015, he replies “the big aim is the (Pearl Izumi) Tour Series.


Rory (left) had already crossed swords with Bialoblocki in the Perfs.

“That’s the sort of racing that suits me. To be fair, I have never done any of them before but I like a flat and fast race”.

Rory has a busy March race wise. “I have the Roy Thame (Saturday) and Peter Young (Sunday) and the following weekend the Wally Gimber. Then hopefully I’ll get away for a training camp before the Tour Series after I finish Uni in April.

Rory admits he isn’t feeling any pressure from his team despite the success saying that he just wants to keep the good stuff going and helping out his team. “They have done so much for me and I love the team and am happy to do what ever I can for them.”

Good luck to Rory in 2015.

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