Painful and demoralising truth inside women’s “pro” cycling

Posted on: October 25th, 2016

British rider Jessie Walker has given a fascinating insight into the life of a female ‘professional’ rider. The 22-year old from Sheffield has left the sport indefinitely and has outlined her reasons in a very detailed blog post on her website.

 

By Brian Canty

A young British female rider has spoken out about the grim reality of the professional cycling landscape – one that she has taken an indefinite break from.

Jessie Walker describes the pro game as a harsh and sometimes controlling environment for athletes.

She outlines how she sees womens pro cycling at present in a no holds barred account published on her website.

The 22-year-old from Sheffield is the daughter of former professional Chris Walker and had a decent season, representing her country in this year’s Aviva Women’s Tour.

Last year, she rode the World Championships in Richmond and did it all thanks to some generous support from those around her as well as help from the Dave Rayner Fund.

“Most on the outside think that riders are living the dream racing on the continent but I know in many cases they aren’t,” she said.

“My environment was so controlled on and off the bike by people who don’t have a clue of what they are talking about.

“Even easy days I wasn’t allowed cafe stops and told that all rides must be over 4 hours, and we were never allowed a day off the bike.

“No food was provided after races, in one case water was denied to riders from the car… maybe because we’d missed the break or something similar.

“I really don’t want this to just sound like one big moan. I want this to be an honest blog of my personal experience so other girls in the future are more aware of the reality.

“It’s plain to see that women’s cycling is increasing in popularity with more races on the calendar and races becoming more professionally organised and some even televised.

“But there are still too many problems out there. I’d say from personal experience on the WorldTour level only the top 10 teams are acceptable to call themselves ‘professional’.

“As soon as you get further down the rankings… the teams are well below par.”

The full blog can be read by following this link.

 

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