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Photo Credit: Jack Chevell

Last weekend, Pro cyclist and sprint specialist, Jolien D’hoore, took the Belgium National Road Race title, adding four-time national road race champion to her cycling CV. Today, on the opening day of the Giro Rosa, Jolien will line up with her Wiggle High5 team mates  to take on the Team Time Trial, so it seems fitting to share the chat I had with the 27-year-old ‘Belgian Bullet’ earlier this month.

I grabbed five minutes with Jolien a few hours ahead of her stage win on the final day of the OVO Women’s Tour in London.

How are you feeling today ahead of the final stage of the Women’s Tour? Are you tired?
Yeah, it’s been quite a hard week for me – hard stages, long stages. Stages that have not suited me. So I’ll have to see today how my legs will react, and if I’m not feeling that good we [Wiggle High5 Pro Racing Team] still have Giorgia [Bronzini]. So we have two cards to play, actually.

Have you noticed the extra length in the Women’s Tour this year?
Yeah, we can definitely feel the last 30-40km. The last hour of each stage has been really intensive, and this really makes a difference to the last races, especially in a stage race like this. It was quite tiring and we can see a lot of tired faces today [laughs].

You don’t look tired to me…
Oh, really? That’s a lot of coffee!

What’s a typical pre-race breakfast for you? What did you have this morning?
Just some porridge and some bread with Jam. Yeah, that’s typical before a race. It’s kind of boring, but it works for me!

Do you have any race rituals before a cycling race?
I’m not really superstitious or anything, but I always check my bike before the start. I check my tyre pressure, my brakes, my gears, that kind of stuff.

Jolien D'hoore smiling
Photo Credit: Jack Chevell

Which stage of this year’s OVO Women’s Tour have you enjoyed most?
Maybe the third stage [Atherstone to Royal Leamington Spa]. There were two Queen of the Mountain sections – two climbs – but I survived [smiles] – and I could help Giorgia [Bronzini]. I think as a team that was our best stage.

All six of us were in the end in a group of 40 riders, so we did a good job and Gio [Giorgia] got fourth.

How did you find Yesterday’s 4th stage through the Peak District – was it tough?
Yeah. I decided yesterday before the start to have a more easy day to save myself for today. Maybe I could have survived if I went to the end, but you never know. I just took a decision from the start and I stuck to it and I hope I’m recovered now!

Today’s flat crit race should suit you as a sprinter…
Yeah of course, I’m a sprinter, so the more flat it is, the better for me! I’m really happy with the course and it’s fast. It’s going to be hectic and nervous, but I like it. I feel a bit of pressure, but it’s positive. It makes me excited to race.

When you’re racing, how much food do you need to take on to fuel a stage?
For stages like the other days we’ve had, which were really quite long, it would be 2 [energy] bars and four or five [High5 Energy] gels. So it’s quite a lot. But today, the short race, I think maybe you don’t need anything or just a gel. It’s so short, you can have all your carbohydrates before the start.

Have you enjoyed the Women’s Tour in the UK?
Yeah, I’ve enjoyed it very much. The crowd has been amazing and we’ve had a lot of support out on the road for us. We’re not used to it.

So you’ve had more support in the UK than you’re used to?
Um, yeah, I think so, for women’s cycling. Normally there’s a lot of support in Belgium as well, for the men, so when we race, it’s a bit less. It seems like in the UK, it’s the other way round as when the women come out on the bikes, they support us. It’s really nice.

Jolien D'hoore cycling in the race
Photo Credit: Jack Chevell

You’re heading straight home after today’s final stage in London. Then what’s next?
Yes, I’m taking the Eurostar directly to Brussels, straight after. Next is the Belgian Nationals [which Jolien went on to win for the fourth time], then the Giro and the rest of the big races, so quite a busy programme!

 

The 10th edition of the Giro Rosa, the women’s tour of Italy, starts today and runs until Sunday 9th July. You can follow Jolien D’hoore for updates on how she’s getting on via social media: www.instagram.com/joliendhoore and www.twitter.com/joliendhoore. For news about the Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling team visit www.wigglehighfive.com or www.instagram.com/wigglehigh5

Thanks to Wiggle for the backstage access.

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