Peloton Watch
  Alice Barnes chasing Rio Olympic selection on the road  
  April 25th 2016  
  Alice Barnes has represented Great Britain at the World Championships in three disciplines - Mountain Bike, Cyclo-Cross and Road. As well as England in Mountain Bike at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Now Barnes has her eye on a spot in Team GB for the road race at the Rio Olympic Games.

While Barnes might be better known for her exploits on the dirt including a World Cup podium last year she is the reigning British under 23 champion on the road after finishing second to now world champion Lizzie Armitstead, who she supported to the rainbow jersey in Richmond last September.

Great Britain failed to qualify a spot in the women's Mountain Bike Cross Country leaving Barnes to chase selection on the road. Aware of the challenge of making the team with the depth of talent in Great Britain, Barnes is focused on the task ahead. A stage win at recent Tour of the Reservoir, the upcoming Tour of Yorkshire and turning professional with Drops Cycling Team are the first steps on the road to Rio.

How did you start cycling and how old were you?

I first started cycling when I was 8 years old. It was very much a family hobby when we started with my sister Hannah [ride for Canyon//SRAM] and also my brother. We lived in the Milton Keynes area, where we became members of Team Keyne, which was also Ian Stannard's first club.

Raced at the Commonwealth Games in 2014 finishing fifth in the Cross Country Mountain Bike what was the experience like?

It was a great privilege to represent England in the Commonwealth Games; it was a great experience with it being my first multi sport games. To be in the village was amazing. It was also great to race with full TV coverage for all my friends and family to be able to watch. The support and atmosphere was incredible.

Claimed silver in the road race last year at the British National Championships and won the under 23 national title what did it mean to you?

I knew I was going into the national championships with good form having just come off of a training camp but my result was completely unexpected as I had not done that much road racing in the lead up to the race. It was a big step forward for me and is a result that I am always reminded of when speaking to people.

Represented Great Britain at the Road World Championships last year what was it like supporting Lizzie Armitstead to the world title?

Riding as part of a team with Lizzie is always a pleasure especially with the form she had going into the Worlds. It was so nice to have someone so confident in their plan and to execute it so well. As you can imagine there was a huge buzz around the team one, which I was very proud to be a part of.

Raced with the British National team at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Omloop van het Hageland and Le Samyn your first experience in the spring classics how did you find it?

Having watched many of the classics on TV over the years I knew they were going to be very crazy. I was pretty nervous going into them especially with them being my first road races of 2016. I found it challenging not really knowing the course as I didn't want to be caught napping at key moments of the race. Having said that they were a great experience; one, which I would love to build on in the years to come.

Great Britain hasn't qualified a spot in the women's mountain bike for the Rio Olympics is that a big factor in switching your focus to trying to make the team on the road? When did you first start thinking about it?

We have struggled with qualifying places in the Olympic mountain bike event, as we do not have strength in numbers in the elite women's field. There has always been a possibility of trying to gain a place the road team; so for now that's my focus. I'm committing 100% to try and make this.

With a lot of depth in women's cycling in Great Britain how difficult do you think making the team will be?

Great Britain have some really strong riders and I know it is going to be a tough ask to make the team, this is why I believe it needs all of my focus on the road for the time being.

When you spoke to British Cycling about trying to make the road team what was their reaction?

There was never really a conversation specifically on this subject. Following last year's results and riding the Worlds with Lizzie it has always been an interest for British Cycling and I. They have supported me very well with all of my decisions.

Hilly course in Rio do you think your Mountain Bike background would be a big benefit?

When in Rio last year for the mountain bike test event I did a lap of the road course. It is a very tough steep course but I do think this will suit me. My climbing has improved a lot over the past couple of years whilst training and racing as part of the Mountain Bike academy. There is a lot of steep climbing involved in mountain bike training and racing.

What made you select the Drops Cycling Team to join to further your road ambitions?

Drops have a great racing calendar and have been doing really well on the UCI scene considering they are a very new team. I love the team atmosphere but also their determination to succeed. I believe this will compliment me really well. I am really looking forward to racing with them from the beginning of May.

After the Tour de Yorkshire with the national team what will your race program with Drops Cycling Team look like?

I am really looking forward to starting my race programme with Drops. It will involve a mix of National and International races including the Tour D'Occitanie.

What does it mean to have represented your country at the World Championships in three disciplines - Road, Cyclo-cross and Mountain Bike?

Getting to represent my country in a World Championships itself is a huge achievement but to be able to do it in three different disciplines is something I'm incredibly proud of. It has provided me with a varied range of experiences that I can carry forward in my cycling career and I have loved racing my bike in all of the disciplines.
 © 2016