Jake Womersley is a Yorkshire lad, born and bred on bike racing from an early age and there’s a rich vein of cycling success that runs right through his family with his granddad Brian Robinson being the first Briton to finish the Tour de France and the first to win a stage. His Auntie Louise represented GB at the Olympics as well as having a Worlds CX silver medal in her Palmares and his sister is also a racer.
Though only 22 in December Jake already has a season of pro riding under his belt and managed to gain some well deserved recognition by being in the big break at last years Rutland classic.
Q. When did you get into cycling?
A. I’ve been around bikes as long as I can remember. I got my first bike when I was nine or ten, I got my first race bike when I was 12 or 13 and I started racing, kids events and junior cyclocross. I guess I got serious when I was 16 years old.
Q. You come from a bit of cycling family, your granddad Brian is racing royalty around these parts?
A. You could say that, he did well, won a few races, took some big stages on the continent, a Tour de France stage, 3rd at Milan San Remo and he won the 1961 Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré. My Auntie Louise is a racer, she’s represented GB at the Olympics and has a CX World’s Silver medal. She even bought me my first bike. We’re a cycling family for sure.
My Nan used to take me to races when I were young. We’d go to the Velodrome for the track races, watch the big names, take part in the junior events. She took me to see the city centre criteriums, I guess she fuelled the cycling fire that my granddad had ignited
Q. You turned pro last season who did you ride for?
A. I was with Bike Channel Canyon, it was a new team sponsor but with a 2nd-year management team. It was a great year on the bike, a real eye opener into racing as a full pro. The team rode in the UK and across Europe, we did most of the premier events with the Rutland Classic being my favourite.
Q. The Rutland is a real one-day event isn’t it, like the early season classics in Europe?
A. Yeh it’s a great race that deserves its UCI ranking. A long mixed circuit that takes in winding hills, different road surfaces. It’s a mini-Paris Roubaix, to be fair though at 185km there’s little ‘mini’ about it. I love that race.
I was in the break from early on last year, we spent a long time in the front group, it was ace. I was with one of my mates who rode for An Post Chain Reaction before we got blown out by the bunch, definitely the highlight of the year for me.
Q. So Holdsworth Pro Racing, you’ll be a bit young to remember them?
A. Yeh, that’s before my time. I’ve seen the team in my Granddad’s copies of Cycling Weekly and of course, Keith Lambert is local. I met Dudley Hayton the other Saturday when I was out, so those 1970 racers are still out there, still going.
Since I joined up I keep getting the nod from old fellas on classic Holdsworth steel bikes when I’m out training on my Holdsworth Competition. It seems like there’s still a big family of Holdsworth cyclists who just appreciate a good handbuilt bike. I’m excited to be with them for the first year there’s a real buzz about the team. I keep seeing stuff on the internet pop up
Q. Is your Competition your first steel bike?
A. It’s my first decent one for sure. I like it a lot, the back end really winds up when you’re putting down the power and it feels really agile, flickable, you don’t even notice the crap road conditions, it’s a bit of a magic carpet.
Q. You’re picking up your Holdsworth Super Professional Team Edition today?
A. Aye, I’ve got new bike excitement. We rode the sample bikes a month or two back, tried them out with different groupsets and wheels and started making notes on sizing and fitting for our team bikes.
Q. What’s the final spec for your team bike?
A. It’s money! A full Carbon frameset, not too stiff up the back but plenty stiff between the headtube and the bottom bracket, it’s a good pedalling platform. We tested a few groupsets and selected Campagnolo Super Record EPS, Campy Zonda wheels, racing slicks from Panaracer tyres, a Ti railed saddle from Prologo and finishing kit from Selcof including carbon bars. It’s all good.
We’re running FSA’s Powerbox chainset as well, so we’ve got power data for training and racing. That’s pretty new for me, I only started with power last season. My personal coach Tom Murray swears by it and it’s now a big part of my training.
The Campag gear that we’ve chosen feels so good, it’ much better than the Shimano I was riding on. The electronic shift is excellent and the design- well what can you say? Nothing else comes close.
Q. You’ve got the gear sorted how do you feel about the race calendar for 2017 with Holdsworth?
A. I think we’ll pick up a lot of invites for races; we’re a new team, with a pedigree name and the backing of a big bike company. There’s strength in depth in the team, plenty of experience in Russ the team captain and in Dean as performance coach/DS.
The season doesn’t really kick off until April in the UK with the first couple of prems and we’ll be rolling by then. The aim is to impress at the first couple of events and see what we can pick up from there. Ultimately our eyes are on the Tour of Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain but there’s a lot of competition, a lot of strong UK and Pro-Continental teams are fighting for those slots as well. We’ve got to be fighting for top five and podiums at those first races, that’s the goal. The TOY goes right past my front door, it’d be great to be in the mix on that day- that’d be the dream.
I’m looking for some solid results in the British events just to prove to myself that I can be up there.
Q. What shape is the team in?
A. I think we’re strong; we’ve got good riders, experienced riders and a strong youth contingent. We’ll keep it interesting for the old guys for sure! We have a training camp booked in for the end of February where we’ll get together with all the Irish lads and see how we ride as a team. I’m confident that with Russ and Dean on board we’ll all pull together, no worries.
Q. When is your first training camp?
A. We’re all getting together at the end of February, keeping it Yorkshire. I know we’ve got press junkets scheduled with the magazines and with local TV, maybe a trip to the Cow and Calf for lunch and a little ride out. The Irish riders along with Bjorn and Mattia will be coming over here so we’ll take them over to Boggle Hole with Randle and Lovatt and introduce them a bit of cycling pain and proper Yorkshire pork pies- real cycling fuel!