Rider Chat: Anna Kay

Cross is coming! At Ryedale a few weeks ago, a talented young lady who was 6th in this tough road race, spoke to us about what’s next in 2019 – Anna Kay

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Rider Chat: Anna Kay

Cross is coming! At Ryedale a few weeks ago, a talented young lady who was 6th in this tough road race, spoke to us about what’s next in 2019 – Ann Kay

Anna explained that she hasn’t done as much on the road as she did last year and the season has been used as preparation for the cyclo-cross season. “I still like to race the road and keep it in the loop” Anna added. I pointed out that there are cyclo-cross stars who are mixing the road and cross and giving the sport of cross a higher profile because of it , something that has been done for many a decade now so not new.

Back in 1975, one of the decades biggest road stars, Roger DeVlaeminck followed on from his brother Eric by winning the World CycloCross Championship. Erick won no less than 7 CX world titles but it was Roger who was the major star on the road. Other road stars who did both road and cross include Adri van der Poel (sound familiar ?), Bart Wellens, and Zdenek Stybar but none are as big a name as Roger DeVlaeminck who was an icon of the sport.

Mathieu van der Poel may go on match DeVlaeminck’s record on the road as could Wout van Aert and for Anna, the road is definitely something for the future. “I think for the next few years, my focus will be cyclocross as an under 23 but after that, maybe I’ll do a bit more road and some of the hillier races”.

Anna, who races for the Belgian cycling team Experza-Footlogix, and was second in the Women’s British championship and first Under 23, has her first cross race of this season at Eeklo on Sunday. Anna then flies to the USA to do the first World Cups there before heading back to Belgium.
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Asked what the goals are, Anna says “I’d love to improve my positions in a few of the Belgian races and definitely target the nationals and see if I can get the under 23 champs but maybe even the elite. I’d also like to have a good race at the Worlds”.

Cyclo-cross is of course such a big sport in Belgium, and Anna’s focus is the racing there but she admits she does miss the home races too. “When you know everyone here and it’s a great community and where I have always raced, it is hard not to miss it but it is lovely racing in Belgium.”

There, in Belgium, Anna explained, she has started to make new connections and adds that the fans are what makes the sport so great to be part of. “It’s massive and I was so shocked when I went over at the beginning but it makes you want to keep going back”.

Looking back at her off season, the summer (a much nicer off season to have than winter for the road riders LoL) Anna says “I have really trained harder than previously but I have also tried to not put pressure on myself in the races and instead make a race of it. It has been about preparing well and enjoying the summer”.

The cyclocross season is like the British road season too in that it’s very intense, “It will be a long season so I have tried not to over train or over race as don’t want to get myself ill”.

Asked if being of a smaller stature helps her in races. “When I crash, I don’t hurt as much and I can nip through gaps and hold the wheels of the bigger riders” Anna replied. On the subject of her favourite races, she says there is a night cross race at Diegem. “That’s my favourite, it’s amazing. It’s a town center on a hill side and so you have town lighting for the road bit and then on the hill and off road, massive flood lighting.”

Anna explained how when it comes to the bike set up, she will ride a double chain ring instead of the single one that many favour. “I have ridden single but I am finding the courses over there (Belgium etc) suit a double chain ring. It was hard to adjust to going back to a double ring as you have to consciously think about when you are going to drop down onto the small chain ring. At the nationals, I had that problem, so you have to keep it in your thoughts”.

With the races starting this weekend, Anna has already been working on the skills she will need for the racing. The key drills says Anna for courses in Belgium which are generally more epic than elsewhere are the starts which are so important as well as cornering and the hurdles.

Thank you to Anna for the chat and good luck for her season start in Belgium.



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