A brave move from Jesus Ezquerra during the Vuelta a Espana.
We talk to Jo Hogan about her highly successful season thus far ahead of the 2013 La Fleche Wallonne.
Q: Hi Jo, thanks for spending some time to answer questions from GEF and The Roar.
A: Thank you for the interview.
It’s nearly been nearly a year since our first email interview with The Roar. Wow, second in the Elite Women’s Australian Road Race Championships, you must be very pleased, given the quality of the field this year?
Yes, I was really pleased with my result, however disappointed at the same time. It was the second time I have podiumed in the Championships in the last three years.
My team, the Victorian Institute of Sport Women’s Cycling Team, rode an exceptional race and supported me all the way. I had a lot of family and friends at the race on the day, which very exciting and extra motivation.
There were definitely a number of riders to watch in the race, with the level and talent in Australian cycling growing every year.
It is a really exciting time in women’s cycling, with the appointment of Tracey Gaudry as President of the UCI Oceania Cycling Confederation.
And this week another very passionate supporter of cycling Monique Handley, being elected as Chair of the National Women’s Commission for Cycling Australia.
Australia is lucky to have these very talented women and many others, dedicated to building the foundations and growing the development of the sport.
You are about to embark on a suite of races with your team, Bizkaia – Durango, what races are next on the program?
I travelled to the Basque Country to compete in a Spanish Cup race with the team over the weekend.
I have just enjoyed a two week training block at my base in Girona and was excited to be joined by my good friend and second place medallist at the recent Oceania Championships, Amy Bradley.
It is Amy’s first full season racing in Europe this year, with British-based team, Breast Cancer Care Women’s Cycling Team. She will debut with the team this weekend in the Ronde van Gelderland.
Following the race on Sunday, the team will travel to Belgium for the fourth round of the World Cup, La Fleche Wallone.
I have been looking forward to this race and it was definitely a target at the beginning of the season. Last year I finished 21st, so I am hoping to better this result and put in a strong performance.
Your website The Healthy Cyclist offers a considerable amount of information on a range of topics, from Coeliac Disease (CD) to recreational cycling. Who helps you with this monumental task?
I have an amazing support network and partners working with me on The Healthy Cyclist (THC). Eliza Ryan, my sponsorship and marketing manager from Red Hare Marketing, has offered her services pro bono.
We met through a mutual friend and just clicked straight away. Eliza and I share a passion to grow and educate the community about women’s cycling and also the importance and benefits of partaking in a healthy lifestyle.
Without Eliza’s support and dedication to securing funds for my season this year, I wouldn’t have been able to return to Europe.
Also making up the THC team is Karen Hill, accredited nutritionist, based in Melbourne and Fiona White, physiotherapist, personal rainer, pilates instructor and director of own body. Both these women also offer their services and expertise to THC without payment.
The National Road Series (NRS) for women has seen a considerable expansion of races. How important is a move from government sponsored women’s sport to become more commercially sponsored?
It is great to see that there are more events on the NRS calendar this year, however there is still a huge need for more commercial sponsors to fund teams, in order for women to be able to race these events.
In order to have teams compete in NRS race program, there are a considerable number of costs including, equipment, travel, accommodation and staff.
Unfortunately government funding can only cover some of these cost and not all teams have access to any government funding.
I feel in order for the future of women’s cycling to continue to grow, cyclist and teams themselves need to promote their commercial value, to potential corporate sponsors and educate the public about what cycling and women’s cycling is all about.
That is one of my goals with The Healthy Cyclist project.
From 2008 runner to 2013 ever so nearly Australia cycling champion and Victorian champion, what advice would you give to our younger new cyclists?
Firstly, I would suggest setting goals and benchmarks to reach your personal best, this also creates and increases motivation and enjoyment.
If you are a new to cycling and would like to start riding with groups, I would recommend contacting your local cycling club or the Breeze Program.
If you are considering racing and need to work on bike handling skills contacting your state cycling governing body, such as Cycling Victoria and enquiring about skills sessions would be a great way to start.
A number of the cycling clubs in Victoria are now also running skills session for beginner cyclist.
The St Kilda Cycling Club in Melbourne, Victoria, has a great program called Latte Laps, promoting skills sessions in a friendly, non-competitive environment.
Cycling clubs are also a great resource if you are considering getting a coach to help organise a program or more specific training.
Is there anyone you would like to thank for your successes in 2013 Victorian champion, second National road championships and SANTOS Cup stage winner?
There are many people who I need to attribute my successful Australian Summer to.
Firstly, my supportive family and friends, particularly Nick Bensley and Pete Canny, training partner, mentor and good friends.
To my parents, (Jenny and Gerard) and my brother Ashleigh, who without them, I simply wouldn’t have been able to continue on my cycling journey.
Eliza Ryan and Brett Linstorm, both who coordinated a fundraising event to help fund my season this year and who continue to raise funds and obtain sponsors.
My coach for nearly five years, Stuart McKenzie, who is one of the most patient people I know!
He is an amazing coach and his guidance and support has been instrumental in the success I have had in my cycling career thus far.
Di Quick, who gave up her time pro bono, to help work on my weakness in the gym and build my strength. The Victorian Institute of Sport, my team mates and sponsors including Bont, Raw Revolution and 4Shaw.
Finally, all the individuals and businesses who generously donated funds and products to support my 2013 Healthy Cyclist Calendar and to make returning to Europe for the 2013 season possible.
I hope to repay all your support and belief in me with a successful 2013! Thank you!
After those questions here is some easy ones:
Favourite movie: I am a bit of a romantic chick flick fan, apologies in advance! It would have to be Love Actually.
Favourite Band: I love music, so it is very hard to pick just one. I would have to say any tunes from Flume or Ministry of Sound would be my top picks.
Favourite book: The Alchemist
Thanks Jo you rock! Please and thanks are to you, and good luck with Fleche Wallone