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Team Ford EcoBoost's Julie Erskine: Q&A

23 Aug 2016

The experienced rouleur reflects on a successful first season with Team Ford EcoBoost and explains why the future is looking bright.

Cyclist: You have been a constant in the UK elite women’s scene for several years now. How did you come to sign for Ford EcoBoost?

Julie Erskine: My background is time-trialling but I turned to road racing in the lead-up to the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, as I would have loved to have represented Scotland. I didn’t make it to the Games but raced for Scotland a few times in Belgium, after which I joined a women’s UK domestic team. From the off I was aiming to improve year-on-year and wanted to be seen as a team player. I really enjoy that because I love having a job to do in a race. I made the impression I wanted to because Ford EcoBoost approached me to race for them this season.

Cyc: What were your expectations when you signed up for Ford EcoBoost? 

JE: I felt optimistic – the ethos of the team sounded perfect for me. They wanted a friendly team as they saw that as key to performing well. They stressed that everyone would get opportunities – it wasn’t about supporting just one rider – and that’s what has happened. The approach worked. We got brilliant team results, but it also helped me develop personally. I’ve been able to learn because everyone has different strengths. We’ve been dynamic in how we’ve approached and strategised races, which I think sets us apart. 

Cyc: What is your role on the team?

JE: It depends, as different races suit different members of the team. A main objective this season was to keep Nikki Juniper up there in the National Series so my roles were based around that. Things like covering attacks, marking key riders from other teams and getting in breakaways so Nikki has more options in the closing stages. We’ve also been able to put together lead-outs for Nikki, which I’ve loved being involved in.

Cyc: What has it been like to ride for Ford EcoBoost this season?

JE: It has been really good both on and off the bike. There’s a great team spirit that makes working together in races so much better, as everyone is willing to support each other. I’ve had mixed experiences on previous teams but this team has been the best by far in terms of friendships made. That has helped my performances on the bike because I’ve been given the confidence by the team to try things in races.

Cyc: Do you think Ford EcoBoost has influenced the domestic scene this year?

JE:  Yes, definitely. We have always tried to stand apart and be professional – which is where Ford has helped us out massively. They got us off the ground and have provided our team car, a Mondeo Vignale, plus a Ford Transit team van and three EcoSport cars. They’re a massive help for travelling to races all over the UK, as it means the team can travel in comfort with plenty of room for all our bikes and equipment. It’s also great to have the Ford UK events team with us at some of the races, helping promote the team and hand out flags and badges. Seeing people supporting us and waving Team Ford EcoBoost flags is great.

Cyc: With women’s cycling going from strength to strength, what’s next for you and Ford EcoBoost?

JE: I want to build on the success we’ve had this year. We have good momentum, so it’s important to keep pushing forward. There’s so much interest in women’s cycling now – Ford’s sponsorship is a case in point – and the support is much better, so the races are getting bigger and the calendar is getting longer. This means more opportunity to be seen, more interest, so more support… it’s a brilliant upward spiral that I just want to continue.

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