Peloton Watch
  Emily Nelson makes successful start to elite career with World Cup medals  
  February 12th 2016  
  Emily Nelson has been one of the big improvers of the 2015/16 track season. After claiming the team pursuit junior world title in 2013, breaking the world record in the process Nelson was earmarked as a future star of the sport. The following year her final as a junior she added the European team pursuit title to her palmares.

The step up from junior to elite can be challenging especially in the top track cycling nations like Great Britain, but Nelson has grabbed the opportunities presented her with both hands. Confirming the talent many saw as a junior.

A World Cup debut in January 2015 with Team USN gave Nelson her first taste of racing at the highest level. The year since has seen Nelson step up and join the British Cycling Senior Academy. In the Revolution Series Nelson claimed three wins for a total of 10 podiums across the five rounds she raced. In fields that including Olympic and World Champion Laura Trott.

After racing the Cambridge World Cup in December, in her first elite appearance for Great Britain, Nelson was then selected to ride the final round in Hong Kong. Teaming up with former world champions Elinor Barker, Laura Trott and Joanna Rowsell as well as Ciara Horne to claim silver.

With her track season over Nelson spent two weeks in Majorca with the British Cycling Academy team as she prepares to race on the road in 2016. It is not all eyes on the road however with the Under 23 European Track Championships another focus as she eyes the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

How did you start cycling and how old were you?

I used to be a swimmer and joined a triathlon club that trained at the pool near where I lived, which was much closer than my swimming club. Through the club I ended up joining Lichfield City Cycling Club, and started racing competitively at Cyclo-cross as a second year under 14.

Junior World Champion in the team pursuit in 2013 and broke the World Record in the final looking back what does it mean to you?

Winning a rainbow jersey is something that every cyclist dreams of. To win one at the age of 16 really was a dream come true. I know how it feels now to be on top of the world and that's something that I want to happen again! It's made me even hungrier for that kind of success.

Made your World Cup debut in Cali in January 2015 with Team USN how important was the experience?

I think that getting to ride a World Cup in my first year as a senior was a massive step up! Getting the opportunity to race on another continent, which I'd never done before, bought things such as jet lag and travel into the equation as well as the race itself!

The step up from junior to elite can be challenging how have you found it so far?

I've really enjoyed the transition from junior to elite! Moving away from my family and getting the opportunity to train full time was something that I had always wanted to do. However, it was hard having to do everything for yourself on top of training full time. I couldn't drive when I first moved away so that wasn't ideal. It was a massive step in my progression as an athlete though.

Selected for the Cambridge World Cup in December with a young development team where you finished eighth. Happy with how you and the team went through the rounds?

We were happy to get second rides, to go all that way for one ride was not on the agenda! It would have been nice to finish higher, but we learnt so much and that was the reason that we went.

Were then named in the team for the Hong Kong World Cup. What did it mean to be selected in a team with the likes of Laura Trott, Elinor Barker and Joanna Rowsell?

I was quite surprised to be named but really excited to get the opportunity to race in Hong Kong alongside such talented riders!

On the opening day you claimed bronze in the UCI points race in a field that included Jolien D'hoore, Jasmin Glaesser and Elena Cecchini how did you find the race and what did it mean to stand on the podium?

I went in with an open mind. I really didn't expect to get on the podium but after I'd got some points I realised a medal was in reach and gave it everything I could to get one!

Came in for the final of the team pursuit claiming silver in the final with Canada just proving stronger happy with your ride?

It was a massive step up, and so much faster! Again, it was really exciting.

Of course we were all really happy to have gotten a medal, but I think unless you get gold you always want to have done better. After the race we sat down and analysed what we could have changed or done better, which is crucial to progression and ultimately riding faster each time.

Been one of the top riders in the Revolution Series with three wins and seven other podiums happy with how you have been riding there and the results?

I love riding the Revolution Series it's a fantastic atmosphere and there is always good competition! I can see my progression throughout the series and it's a real confidence booster.

How important is the opportunity to race the Revolution Series against some of the worlds best?

It's very important to get to practice and experiment with different tactics because there aren't many opportunities to race on the track throughout the year.

Part of British Cycling's Senior Academy how important is the support and racing opportunity you get for your development?

I wouldn't be where I am now without the support of the Senior Academy! It has been fundamental to my learning and success so far and gives me the opportunities to race on both the road and track through out the year.

You and the team have been in Majorca on a training camp how did it go?

It went really well! The weather and the roads out there are so good and we all really enjoyed the time out there. It's our first camp together as a team, so it was really good for team building as well!

Team is going to be doing some racing on the road this year, what are your goals there?

I'm really excited to start road racing with the team this year on both the national and international stage! I got the chance to race the Energiewacht tour last year and loved every minute of it! Hopefully I'll get the chance to race it again this year with the team and we can pick up some good results!

Looking further forward on the track what are your longer term goals?

The big goal for me is the Olympics but that's four year away. However, between now and then there are plenty of races to get stuck into! In the short term though there's the U23 European Track Championships to look to.
 © 2016