Peloton Watch
  Interview: Anna-Leeza Hull climbs to fourth at Tour of Bright  
  December 9th 2014  
  2014 Junior Time Trial World Championship bronze medallist Anna-Leeza Hull continued her run of strong results over the weekend at the Tour of Bright.

On the opening stage Hull finished third just 15 seconds behind Australian Champion Felicity Wardlaw. The first year junior was consistent across the remaining two road stages with top 10 finishes.

As well as her junior world time trial bronze Hull also finished on the podium at the Battle on the Border as well as taking the junior national time trial title.

Hull's strength against the clock and climbing ability saw Hull beat out a number of Australia's top climbers to finish fourth at the Tour of Bright. The experience gained during her time in Europe ahead of the World Championships has already resulted in improvements in her racing.

Below Hull talks the Tour of Bright and heading in to the Aussie summer of cycling and 2015 season.

PelotonWatch: In the opening time trial you were just 15 seconds down on Australian Champion Felicity Wardlaw. That result must give you a lot of confidence?

Anna-Leeza Hull: I couldn't believe I came away with the result that I did in my time trial. I hoped to get at least top seven, as that was my best time trial result in the NRS during the season. Especially since I have only been on my time trial bike a couple times over the last two months I was so excited and in disbelief. It was a massive confidence boost coming into the next few days since I have only been doing base training and haven't had much intensity in the legs so I had no idea what to expect coming to Bright. It also makes me confident that as I gain some form over the next few weeks and months as I start my builds I should hopefully get nice and strong.

PW: The field had some of Australia's top riders including Carlee Taylor, Miranda Griffiths, Felicity Wardlaw, Jo Hogan and Taryn Heather what was it like to race against them?

ALH: I tried not to focus too much on who they were while I was racing. Mostly I watched where they were positioning themselves and how and what they were eating. Little things that I can learn in a race from much more experienced riders will help me out in the future and at my age it's awesome to get good results, but it's about my development and enjoyment in the sport that I really like to focus on.

PW: You finished fourth overall happy with your performance?

ALH: Very happy with how I went in Bright, especially with my time trial result and how I felt really comfortable. I felt I rode smart over the weekend from a lot of things that I learnt in Belgium and at worlds. It's a solid result for just finishing my base training on Sunday and now I can start to really focus on some efforts coming into my next races. I was extremely nervous to go into a race without good form because I have never done that before, but I'm surprised with my performances and am glad I went so that I now have an idea of what I want to improve and how.

PW: Besides the result what else can you take away from the race?

ALH: There are so many things that I realised racing on the weekend that I want to work on now to improve my overall performances. The first thing I noticed was how much my bunch riding has improved and how comfortable I felt. It was easy to maintain my position at the front and I found it easy to move around to where I needed to be, which I used to find really difficult. The peloton is so friendly compared to in Belgium and it felt really safe to me, although I have heard from a lot of people they think it's the most dangerous bunch they have been in for a while. The other major thing I noticed was how I can now descend with the bunch, although still uncomfortably, but that will now come with experience and I have already organised some bunch descending practice to improve.

PW: Your first major race with Specialized Securitor how are you finding the team?

ALH: The team worked perfectly over the weekend and although I made a couple of little mistakes, they were supportive in understanding I will learn as we progress. It made a huge difference at times to just be able to sit in and rest on someone's wheel to save a bit of energy. To have people around me during the race to keep me relaxed made a huge difference in keeping me comfortable throughout the race. I couldn't have asked them for anymore over the weekend.

PW: What do you have coming up in the next few months?

ALH: For the season I'm targeting the NRS [Australian National Road Series] so my next race will be the Santos Women's Tour but I'm also hoping to peak for Oceania's and if the team can make it, the Women's Tour of New Zealand. Although I'm targeting the NRS events, the U19 events are also going to be really important for me to see how much I have improved around those my age and because I would like to go to the World Championships again at the end of the season.
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