Star Q & A: Scotland’s Eileen Roe


Feature Q & A with Scotland’s Eileen Roe who had a great 2016 and in 2017 rides for new UCI team WNT who have a star studded line up

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Star Q & A: Scotland’s Eileen Roe


Eileen is riding for a new team in 2017 (WNT) and in 2016, was in a Belgian team and doing very nicely thank you! Here’s her question and answer with VeloUK:

VeloUK: Tell us about your team for 2017 Eileen?
Eileen: Its full of classy bike riders on the team for next year & a really experienced DS. The team has a handful of high calibrate riders in their own right and I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into some racing with them.

WNT started out small & its taken its time to build up to UCI status so I think you can say it’s building a team not buying one. The main sponsor is a family built business WNT which is investing for the future. The next three years are a project of progression which is unique in women’s cycling and such a relief to hear that the team is 100% secure.

So there’s no fear in the back of your mind during the season “Will the team find a sponsor to continue? Is my job secure, or do I need to look elsewhere half way during the season? The team is built with a secure foundation and a very enthusiastic team behind it who just love cycling.


1. What was the highlight of 2016 for you and why?
Eileen: I have two highlights, can I choose two! The first has to be representing GB for the first time in my cycling career and it happened to be at a WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS! When the news was released that Qatar was going to be the World championships, I sat down with my coach James McCallum and said I want get to those worlds. Realistically it could be the only shot of achieving that dream. Never in my dreams did I think it would ever happen & still to this day I am so proud of what I have achieved and all the people that helped me get there. The second was when I podiumed to 3rd place in the first ever women’s Dwars Door Vlaanderen, getting on a podium in a classic race was unreal!

2. What was your favourite/most fun race of 2016
Eileen: My favourite race of the whole season has to be Ronde Van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders). I think it is that one race that every road rider if given the opportunity to race I don’t think they would ever turn it down, it was such an experience. The crowds were unreal and to be climbing those famous but brutal climbs like the men was fantastic, up the Oude Kwaremont with soooooooo many people. Also, not only just to ride it or be in the peloton making up the numbers of this race, I managed to bag myself a 33rd which I was over the moon with.

3. If there was one thing you learned most about riding for a foreign team, what was that?
Its a whole different ball game to racing on a UK team. Of course you will have language barriers, most likely have to stay away from home out of your comfort zone for long periods of time throughout the season depending on what your contract is and most likely have to live like a poor student but all the way from club to UCI level, the enthusiastic love of the sport is something special.

Don’t forget that its not the end of the world if a race goes wrong however big the pressure is from the team. Think of the bigger picture and make sure that the love of the sport is still there and remember why you wanted to race in the first place. Once you forget all these things, it will most likely start to go downhill and that’s the bigger thing to do is take a step back from your current situation than plough on through more months of racing hating the game.


4. You had a victory in cyclo-cross on the weekend, how much racing will you do in the winter?
Eileen: Cycl0-Cross is something I love to do during the winter as well as watching it on Sporza (Belgian TV). It’s something my dad and myself do together on the bike and we also race in the same field which makes for some interesting battles.

I started the ‘cross season’ pretty late this year. Sunday at Plean was my first race and next weekend is the Scottish Champs which I’m entered for. I would like to race the Super Quaich series here in Scotland which goes on through from January to February but there’s been some talk of maybe racing the British in our house but that’s still to be decided. Takes a lot of commitment not from me training wise but from the people who would need to help me out on the day being in the pits etc.

5. What is your warm up routine for races – rollers or turbo? Music or no music?
I’ve become accustomed to the European thing of not really having a specific warm up routine for every race. It’s not the done thing over the water even for a 65km crit race. However back home, before a crit, I would try make the time and effort to warm my legs up before although I’m not saying it always happens! Most likely, it will be on rollers and always with music. Even if the music isn’t getting you ready for racing, its more for the wearing the headphones which are the warning sign to people wanting to have a chat that your busy trying to get focused.


6. Will you stay in the UK to prepare for next season during the winter or get in a training camp or two abroad to get in some serious miles?
Eileen: Last year I was super lucky that I popped away over to Spain to stay in Olivia with an ex team mate for 12 days or so which I think set me up for the year. I’d done an overload of training there and it involved the most time on my bike in a small amount of days I’ve ever done. However this year, I’m pretty tied up with college which I cant afford to miss. WNT has a training camp Feb/March time so that’s the only training camp I’ll be able to squeeze in at the moment.

7. When will you start training for 2017 and what comes first – long steady miles or a mix of miles and efforts?
Eileen: The ball has already started to roll for next season. I’ve started quite late, later than ever because of the Worlds being in October. It was a long season this year, racing from February to October so I was not about to object to not touching my bike until I’d had at least three and half weeks  rest! I knew when I started missing the bike again, that it was the right time to get back in the saddle.

However saying that I didn’t stop exercising as I started running instead. Training this winter will be a bit different from previous years as I started college in September so my week is already busy with that and work. So my training at the minute consists of running, riding to work and back, a turbo session, long rides when possible or a cyclo-cross race which started for me at the weekend there.
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9. Do you use a special winter bike with mudguards etc or using a normal race like training bike?
Eileen: Previous years I’ve used an old racing bike with pathetic mudguards on it that my dads adapted which are pretty crap and only really save my own backside. This year I’ve invested in a new bike Genesis Vapor bike with “proper mudguards” and disc brakes which might weight a bit heavier than my previous bike but least I’ll be staying a little dryer & being a lot more considerate to my fellow cyclists.

10. What are the goals for 2017?
Eileen: Next season is a completely new one for me. I’m back in the UK with mostly British team mates and a handful of British races in the planner. WNT has a brilliant programme of mixing up the British & UCI European calendar. I’ve personally targeted a handful of UCI races where I want top 10 results after this year getting a couple of top 15’s. I also can’t wait to race with the British criterium jersey again in the UK in front of home crowds – cant beat it!

11. With the winter in Scotland possibly harsher than anywhere in the UK, does winter training consist only of riding the bike or running/swimming/gym work (cross training) indoors
Eileen: Yeah I’m not going to sugar coat it, winter in Scotland can be a harsh environment and there are many rides where I’ve lost the heat in both my hands & feet which have reduced me to tears *cough*. But there’s no way around it – either up & leave to somewhere a little hotter or you just have to invest in the right kind of equipment to keep you going through winter. Like I mentioned, before I run twice a week purely because I enjoy it that much that I asked for it to stay in my programme this winter and at the moment things are getting organised for starting S&C.

12. Finally, what have you learnt over the years to best deal with the winter months on a bike!
I remember doing a week of 2-3hr rides on the turbo because the weather was abysmal up here in Scotland (snow,snow & more snow) & these rides weren’t anything exciting to make the time go by quicker. I was stupid to just sit on it sitting at zone 2 throwing in some zone 3. I wont be doing that EVER AGAIN. Be creative during the winter months.

Mix it up by going out on the mountain bike or ‘cross bike to increase your bike skills never harmed anyone. Go to the gym & learn new exercises that will be beneficial for the season to come. I think it is a thing of the past – winter is reserved for ploughing through the miles. Its more beneficial to get in the quality over quantity

thank you Eileen and good luck for the winter and the road season to come



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