Feature – Jen George’s 7th in Yorkshire


For Jen George of Drops, the women’s cycling team, 7th in the Women’s Tour of Yorkshire was a really big deal!

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Feature – Jen George’s 7th in Yorkshire

Question and answer with Jen George of Drops who wore her Prendas/Santini Drops kit with real pride all the way to a top 10 in a major women’s UCI race.

1. What’s the reaction to finishing top 10 in such a high profile race?
Jen: To finish 7th in the Tour of Yorkshire was a real boost to the entire team. Finishing top 10 in a UCI race is a really big deal and to do it in front of a home crowd is even more special. Results like this really helps confidence grow as a team and massively for me as a rider.

2. How does the experience of racing this event rank in the highlights of your life so far?
Jen: I think I was more nervous at the start of the Tour of Yorkshire than I have been for a while. I definitely faffed more in my preparation than I normally do, and Ii went to the start without my water bottles which is a sure sign of nerves!

The crowds that came out at 7.30am in the freezing cold to watch the podium presentations and then the start gave me goose bumps. Then the crowds that lined the streets not only in the towns but in the countryside were phenomenal. I would say all in all, this was up there with the best race of the season for support but 100% the best for experience given the result.

3. Tell us what the pre – race experience was like?
Jen: Wake-up was 5.30am, breakfast 6am. I don’t hate early mornings but it was a real shell-shock as most of the European races I have done start in the afternoon! My usual pre-race breakfast is porridge in keeping with my Scottish-ness, although admittedly it didn’t go down too well that morning!

As our hotel was only 20 minutes from the start, we left at 6.30am with our Podium sign-on time at 7.36am. I did a little warming-up before and then did the rest after the podium. Photographers were everywhere tracking our every move making us feel like rockstars. Loads of public watched us get ready and lots of kind people were helping make the event happen and directed us.

Being on the start line with Lizzie Armitstead is always special. We raced with her at the Tour of Flanders this year. She is a rider I have learned from by watching her positioning in the peloton. It was also very cool to have two of the Drops Cycling Team members riding in the Great British Team supporting Lizzie at the Tour of Yorkshire (Ellie Dickinson and Alice Barnes who joined Drops from 1st May).

4. What was the early part of the race like?
Jen: As predicted, the first part of the race (30k) was quite fast, a lot of jostling for position and eagerness to push on. The first real test was the right hand turn into the narrow lane at about 15k, closely followed by the decent to the T-Junction and then the Cote De East Rigton where the race blew a lot of riders off the back of the lead bunch. There was also an early solo break that lasted for a lot of the race and many more attacks were tried throughout.


5. How did you spend the early part of the race?
Jen: At the start, I let everyone fight for position until the first climb where I moved up and then stayed there for much of the race. It’s where you need to be in order to stay with the lead and put in any attacks. It is generally the safer end of the race too.

6. In a race like that, are their nerves or is treated like any other race once the wheels start to roll.
Jen: Not many races have the crowds we had in Yorkshire. So whilst I race my bike to the best of my ability to fulfil my role for the team, that day having crowds cheering always gives me that extra 5% boost to do it even better. I am always nervous at the start, but they generally dissipate fairly quickly once we have started.

7. At what point did the race get grippy or were you in control in the wheels?
Jen: The final two climbs at Conisbrough Castle and then Clifton Hill was where it got really interesting. Lizzie was off with two other riders with 30k to go and the final 30k was very flat and exceptionally windy so we were hoping this would play for us in the chase that then occurred.

I helped chase with Wiggle, Hitec and a few other teams ‘til we caught Lizzie with 3 to 4 km to go. Counter attacks were then attempted but nothing stuck and it came down to a bunch sprint.


Photo: Tom Oldham

8. What was the finale like once the break had been caught and riders prepared for the sprint – what did you do it get to the position of achieving a top 10?
Jen: Once the break was caught the final, 3 or 4km whizzed by and despite the wind, we came in quite quickly. After the chase, I was determined not to get swallowed by the bunch and fought to recover from the chase.

I couldn’t get to my team for the lead-out so sat tight holding position on the right using the wheels around me. When I launched my sprint, I committed 100% and went for it going over the line in total disbelief at where I had just finished. It was only when I saw a screen shot of the result that I truly believed it!

9. Was the race any different to the other classics you have already done?
Jen: Funny to say it but it was pretty flat compared to the other classics I have done. I would hope next year that we may have a hillier route or even a second stage that is hillier. Although that said, it was great to have a 135km route to ride rather than a circuit race and a very generous prize fund as well.

10. Finally, what was the one thing during the whole stage that stands out as a killer memory!
Jen: As races go, I remember quite a lot about this one, but the single biggest memory was opening up my sprint and then hitting the line thinking, “Blimey there aren’t many riders ahead of me, was that top 10?” then seeing Tom Varney’s face; that look I don’t think I will ever forget Smile






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