Feature: Chatting with Jon Mould

Whilst in Australia, VeloUK caught up with the rider who dominated the 2016 Tour Series – Jon Mould of JLT Condor

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Feature: Chatting with Jon Mould

Whilst in Australia, VeloUK caught up with the rider who dominated the 2016 Tour Series – Jon Mould of JLT Condor

When a rider wins six out of ten events in a series, that is a pretty special achievement and last year Jon Mould did just that.

One of Jon’s highlights was winning for the second year running in Redditch (Tour Series)

He was seemingly unstoppable in the 2016 Pearl Izumi Tour Series and already in 2017, he’s won a stage of the UCI New Zealand Cycle Classic and finished fourth overall. In the Kiwi stage race, Jon started with fourth on stage one, won stage four and was fourth again on stage 5. All this whilst playing a team role too.

So the form is already good by the look of those performances and when VeloUK caught up with Jon, the New Zealand race was just a name on a piece of paper and the training was in full swing under a very hot Australian sun.

Jon’s year had begun in the Bay Crit Series a few days before we met up again at Bendigo but unlike the Tour Series, Jon wasn’t getting his hands in the air just yet. That was left to the likes of his teammate Ian Bibby whilst Aussie crit rider Brenton Jones, who’s won the Bay Crits Series, was showing he is sure to be a rider to watch when he’s racing in Britain.

For Jon, his first goals this year are on the track and a World Track Cycling Cup in Los Angeles and if last year is anything to go by, he should be well up to speed to meet those goals head on. Starting his season in Bendigo for the second year felt weird Jon admits. Arriving back in the same place 12 months on from last year but with a different group around him, Jon and Alistair Slater were the ‘old’ boys showing the rest around the area.

For me, it was my first time in Bendigo and during the morning training session with team boss John Herety, I was surprised at how hilly the terrain was. “South of Bendigo is quite rolling with the climbs whilst North of Bendigo is pan flat with long straight roads for as far you can see” explained Jon.
When he talks of climbs, one of them is 7k long, great for those efforts that coaches will love a rider to make. Here in Bendigo at the height of summer, the gradient however is not the only thing the riders have to battle with.

The team were in Australia not only preparing for the season ahead in Europe and beyond, but also acclimatising to be ready for the Sun Tour which is now in a few days. The ride I tagged along with, in a car, was the first big effort in Bendigo post racing in the Bay Crits.

On the menu from team coach Tim Kennaugh was four hours under a hot Australian sun, so hot, the wildlife were all lying down in the shade watching the riders punish themselves for four hours. Up the 700 metre climb the first time, there was a ramping effort from Zone three to threshold and beyond before the descent and then a time trial over 10k and that 7k climb from the other direction. Then two more hours followed on the road before home, lunch and relaxation.

“We went out at 8am to try and get the efforts done when it’s a bit cooler but it was still 28 degrees” Jon explained. “When it’s really hot like that, you can’t get the effort out, your lungs don’t want to open up but you get over it after a few weeks”.

That bit about hard to breathe was certainly the over riding memory I have of that training day, listening to the riders on the drinks breaks talking about it being a bit like altitude and hard to breathe in temperatures which were approaching or going over 40 by the end. It was for Jon, similar to the training block he did last year in Bendigo and we all know how good Jon’s form was in Britain in 2016.

Jon admits the form in Australia 2017 was better than it was twelve months before. “I did a lot better in that first Bay crit than I did last year when I lasted 15 minutes but 50 minutes this year!”

The long term goal which is just over a year away is the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Queensland. The track events are at the end of March whilst the road race is at the beginning of April. The build up to that has already started and Jon is staying in Australia until the end of February before going to the World Track Cup in Los Angeles before flying back to the UK and cracking on with the road season.

“LA will be a good chance to see how I come out of this training block in Australia because potentially it could be the same build up next year” Jon explains. Looking ahead to the Games, Jon is looking to get selected for Wales and ride the bunch races, Points and Scratch, and potentially the road race as well.

This track focus comes after a break from the track with GB and a disappointing 2014 Commonwealth Games. “I had a good year in 2014 and then was ill two weeks before the Games. Perhaps, if I’d won a medal there, I might not be riding the track again but it’s something I really want to do after being so disappointed with 2014. So I want to go back and make it right in 2018”.

Fighting for the win in 2014 with Felix English

Going onto highlights from 2016, it is no surprise that the Pearl Izumi Tour Series was it for Jon. “I’d won five events over the previous three years and to better that in one year is definitely a highlight. It has sunk in and it was good and I really enjoyed it. I don’t look back at it though as each time you line up you just want to win again”.

Asked which was the most enjoyable of the victories, Jon replies “Aberystwyth – I finished second behind Felix English in 2014 and then third behind Ed and Tom so I’ve been close a few times so it was nice to win that one in Wales”.

The most fun race for Jon was also the Tour Series because as he says, racing is a lot of a fun when you’re winning. But when it comes to races the riders talk about and the tough one from 2016, the events in Croatia got Jon’s vote. “Whilst it may not have been that much fun, we certainly came back from Croatia with a lot of stories because of the chaos, riders slamming brakes on etc. It will be one we’ll remember and all talk about.”

“It was tough too it as there were cross winds and rain and you just wanted it done. It toughened us all up I reckon!”
… continued after advert

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From racing to equipment and for Jon, the one item that he says is his favourite are the wheels on his bike. “Campag carbon wheels, Bora, are mega. I like the 50mm and Ed (Clancy) likes the 80mms. If I had to choose my equipment, that would be the first thing I’d want”.

Next I asked about the warm up for crits – were there any secrets to be learned? “It’s similar to the old GB warm up” he replies. “A bit longer like doing ten minutes, get off and then get on and do an eight minute ramp and sprints. I also prefer rollers, finish quite early and then ride the course. We do end up standing on the start for 10 minutes, so as long as you have got the blood flowing and have opened up the legs and lungs, you’ll be fine.”

Finally, whilst the long term goal is the 2018 Commonwealth Games, what are the goals for 20167? “I wouldn’t mind winning a round of the Tour Series as I’ve won a round every year since 2013 and it would be nice to keep that going. I’d like to win a Prem as well and get up there on the road and I think there’ll be opportunities this season”.

After his stage win in the New Zealand Cycling Classic, Jon has shown that winning on the road is already in his 2017 palmeres … good luck to the Welsh rider for the rest of 2017!

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