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Jack Wilson: Q&A

The young An-Post rider had a torrid season that ended with him nearly quitting. Now he's back with some new targets and a fresh outlook.

Jordan Gibbons
19 Jan 2016

The first thing you notice about Jack Wilson, other than his immaculate coiffure, is the spring in his step. The 22-year old from Belfast is in his third season with An Post-Chain Reaction, but it's not all been plain sailing. We caught up with him at the team training camp in Calpe.

How long have you been cycling?

Since I was nine or ten. 

How did you get into it?

It was my dad. He’s been a keen cyclist for years and I followed in his footsteps. – Jack's dad (who is now a soigneur for the team) later expanded saying that he had left a bike set up on the turbo trainer, and found him sat on the top tube attempting to pedal.

And you just started racing as a lad?

Yeah I just came up through the schoolboy ranks.

How did you get involved with An Post-Chain Reaction?

I was an amateur in Belgium – just a small Belgian team. I raced there as a second year junior. I didn’t fancy university so I thought I’d just go and race on the continent. I rode as an amateur for a year and at the end of the season I rode the U23 Worlds at Valkenberg. Kurt [Bogaerts – An Post-Chain Reaction DS] was there with Sean [Kelly] and after the race he talked to me. A couple of weeks later he gave me a call and offered me a contract. 

As a stagiare?

No, straight in. 

As a young guy, how do you balance the commitment with just wanted to go out with friends?

When I was younger I found it easier than I did last year. Last year I had a lot of setbacks, so it made me think ‘Look how much I’ve sacrificed and for what?’

What happened?

I dislocated my left shoulder at the start of the year, then I broke my collarbone and wrist a couple of months later. Then I broke my ribs about three weeks after coming back from that. The season was a write off. When you’re lying in your bed all broken - that was the first time I really started to think about all the things I’ve missed out on. In all the years I’ve been doing it, it’s the first time I realised that I’ve missed out on so much. 

When you were down, was the team there to support you?

Yeah there was one point when I hung my bike up and said ‘No, this is it’ and then Kurt rang me. He talked me round and gave me a bit of a pep talk – he got my head out my arse and back on the straight and narrow. 

Other than testing, what have you gained from this training camp?

We’re just here to ride as a team and get to know each other. We only met in December for the first time and I’m the only guy on the team here, that’s from previous years. Most of the guys here are in similar shoes to what I was.

Do you have any targets for the coming season?

I just want to be as consistent as possible. I’d like to be up there but have the legs for the whole year. Maybe string together some good results throughout the year instead of trying to just target one specific event.

You can follow Jack and the rest of the team over the coming season at anpostchainreaction.com

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