Having firmly cemented herself as one to watch throughout last season, Alice Barnes will have a lot of eyes on her ahead of 2017. But the 21-year-old is known for her calmness under pressure and as we sit down to discuss her goals for this season – she is as cool as always.
Alice’s winter was a busy one, but as she discusses how she’s been preparing in the months leading up to the first race, it’s clear she isn’t interested in any kind of a break.
“I started my winter season a lot later this year due to the Worlds being later,” she explains.
“I was mainly focusing on long miles and bit of gym work. I also took part in the National Madison Championships with former Drops rider, Ellie Dickinson. It was good fun and gave me some winter racing as I would usually be racing cycle-cross.”
Alice was part of the team that made the long journey to Australia earlier in the year. It was the team’s first trip down under and as a whole the race results were positive given the that it was the first action of 2017. Alice herself admits that she was a little surprised by her own form at the end of the trip.
“Australia was a great way to start the year. Not only was it great to get some racing in early but great for training. Especially as the weather was awful in the UK!
“I was happy with how my racing went. I don’t tend to go too well early season and normally take a bit longer to get into it, but I was surprised with how I was feeling and really happy with how the races went.”
The Towcester-born racer joined the team a few months into the 2016 calendar which meant prior to this year, she had not taken part in any Drops preseason activities including both the training camp and team launch. Despite being fundamental parts of the team bonding experience, Alice integrated superbly into her new team and quickly became part of the Drops make-up. This year however, Alice got the chance to do both and was able to welcome the Drops newcomers.
Mallorca was great fun to have all the team around each other which it very rare with such a large team,” she says.
“We have some great new additions this year, we have some more experienced and stronger riders in the team. They have already showed this when racing in Australia and it was great to have support during the end of races. Team camp was a great way to get to know each other and train together.
“With regards to the team launch, it was great to spend more time together and speak to everyone at the show about our previous year and what is coming up.
“The support we get is so lovely to see in person and something I look forward to continue seeing throughout the year.
“Having sponsors joining us in both Mallorca and London was really good too. Getting to know them, their business and the products we will be using this year was a fantastic experience and prepares us well for the season.
“Whether it has been the Met Helmets, our Brubeck under jerseys, the Sportful kit, the NAQI sports lotions or all the other amazing companies that support us, they have all specifically looked at what we need both as a professional sports team, but also as a women’s team and looked to develop products that suit those needs. I’m so excited to be working with them all.”
This year is a big one for Alice. Her inclusion in the GB Road Race World Championship squad was a testament to her outstanding performances in 2016. But in 2017, she’s hoping to turn even more heads.
“This season I am really looking to improve my strengths and weaknesses as a bike rider as a whole, we have a great racing calendar with some new and exciting races,” she says. “This is really going to help me develop more experience which I can take forward year on year.
“I am specifically going to look at the Tour of Flanders and the Women’s Tour. Flanders is a brand new race for me this year which is exciting in itself being one of the most prestigious races of the year, like all the classics the carnage and excitement of the cobbles and climbs draws me in so I can’t wait to get in and amongst it.
“Last year was my first time racing the Women’s Tour. I had some great races but I want to improve on days that I wasn’t so happy with to take me into contention for the Overall and the Young riders Jersey competition.”
Alice is next in action at in Holland at Drentse Acht Van Westerveld on the 12th of March where she’ll be looking to build on her positive start to the season.