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Laura Trott Q&A

Laura Trott interview
Mark Bailey
11 May 2015

The double Olympic track champion and Matrix-Vulpine star talks about racing Marianne Vos and why she's like Mark Cavendish.

Cyclist: You've just won the British Road Race National Championships. How did it feel to add such a prestigious road title to your collection of track medals? [interviewed in August 2014]

Laura Trott: It was a great feeling and a real boost before the Commonwealth Games. I came fifth in the time-trial on the Thursday evening, which I was quite disappointed with considering I’d felt great in the weeks leading up to it. But in the road race I managed to out-sprint Dani [King, second] and Lizzie [Armitstead, third] for a Wiggle Honda 1-2. It was such a buzz being on the roads in the UK again as the support is brilliant.

Cyc: After so much track success, how is life on the road with Wiggle Honda?

LT: I really enjoy racing in different places. Every single event is different, whereas in the velodrome I know it will be a 250m wooden track and that’s the end of it. It’s good fun before races. We go in the campervan to the start and have the music playing. Whoever’s sitting in the front gets to choose the music. I’d never been part of a pro road team before so going to training camps and team launches has been fun. It’s nice to have Dani [King] and Jo [Rowsell] there, too.

Cyc: Do your team-mates from abroad have very different training styles?

LT: I think we’re all brought up differently. There are even differences between how Dani and I do things but because we came through the same system we do similar training. Some of the girls get up before breakfast to go out on their bikes. That’s something I’d never do!

Laura Trott cyclist

Cyc: What have you learned from double World Road Race Champion Giorgia Bronzini?

LT: Giorgia is so helpful and good to be around. I’m an Olympic champion but not on the road. It’s completely different – like learning a new sport. When I joined I was a bit scared as she’s a big name and I didn’t know how people might react: ‘Why have we got a track rider on the team?’ But she took me under her wing. After a race she tells me what I have done – good or bad – and I learn from her.

Cyc: What is your most memorable road race experience?

LT: Last year I did a stage race in Luxembourg and although I wasn’t going particularly well – I got dropped on one stage – I remember being in the front group and helping Giorgia out. Luxembourg is quite windy, like Holland but with more hills. My job was to sit on the outside and protect Giorgia from the crosswinds.

We had no team-mates up there, just me and Giorgia, with Dani chasing to get back on. I was sitting on the outside for kilometre after kilometre… then I got dropped. I completely blew. I lost 20 minutes in the space of 2km. But I love that racing experience. Giorgia led me out in another stage so I got to sprint against Marianne Vos. She absolutely destroyed me. But that was my favourite race.

Cyc: Were you impressed by this year’s first Women’s Tour event in Britain?

LT: I thought it was great. For them to put it on over a week and get the crowds and publicity they did was unbelievable. I can’t believe how many people came to the finishes – even when it was chucking it down. I crashed but I really enjoyed it and it was a well-organised race.

Cyc: Was it hard when your sister and fellow cyclist Emma retired in May?

LT: Of course. We’re very close. On the start line at the Women’s Tour in Cheshunt we were talking and Lizzie Armitstead said, ‘It’s like the same voice coming out of two different people.’ We are pretty much the same.

Laura Trott portrait

Cyc: What do you think gives you your competitive edge in sprints and do you perform best in front of a home crowd?

LT: I think a home crowd always gives you that bit extra and I’m good at working off the fans. We do a lot of testing on static bikes and I’m absolutely rubbish, but my coach always says, ‘You just need to pin a number on your back and you’re a completely different rider.’ I’m a bit like Mark Cavendish because we are quite small so aerodynamics really come into it – which you obviously don’t get on a static bike. This year the Prudential Ride London Grand Prix race is just after the Commonwealth Games so it will be tough, but I want to win every race I enter.

Cyc: You’re coached by Aussies. Does your Wiggle Honda team manager, Rochelle Gilmour, have a similar approach to British Cycling’s technical director, Shane Sutton?

LT: She’s very similar in style to Shane – weirdly similar in fact. I go back home and tell Jason [Kenny – Trott’s boyfriend] about some things and he says, ‘It’s like listening to Shane.’ She can see a lot from the team car and gives good advice. If you’re riding too far at the back she will tell you. She’s a really good coach but I think what she’s doing for women’s cycling as a team manager is amazing.

Cyc: Is it hard to juggle training for the track and for the road?

LT: I think road to track is easier as it gives you a really good endurance base. The track is so intense and you have to be able to do lots of efforts in a session so endurance is important. But to go from track to road is tough as you don’t have that base. We do train on the road for the track, but it’s never for the length you need for road racing.

Cyc: Do you follow the Tour de France and other Grand Tours?

LT: Definitely. Brad [Wiggins] rides for Sky and Shane [Sutton, who is also a performance advisor for Team Sky] is my coach so it’s easy to follow what they are doing. Brad was a massive star when I started cycling and I met him at the London Bike Show when I was a kid. He put his Olympic medal around my neck.

Cyc: What changes are needed to help the profile of women’s road racing?

LT: It’s a tricky question for me as a track rider because when people ask me how I deal with road racing not being equal to the men’s sport, well, it is equal for men and women on the track. But it’s different on the road. We’re taking steps in the right direction but if we can get women’s road racing televised more, that will help.

Cyc: Is there anything you always take with you to races?

LT: I take loads of things. I never do a race without my bracelet, which my mum bought for me years ago. And I have a little lucky mascot that stays in the bottom of my bag. It’s a dog but he’s absolutely disgusting because he has never seen a washing machine. He used to be white. Now he’s grey. But he’s still lucky and comes with me everywhere.

Laura Trott is the Prudential Ride London ambassador (ridewithprudential.co.uk)

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