Peloton Watch
  Strong start to 2015 for Georgia Baker  
  March 25th 2015  
  Georgia Baker announced herself on the international stage in 2011 with gold in the team pursuit and silver in the scratch race at the Track World Championships. The following year Baker went one better and defended her team pursuit World title and also found the top step of the podium in the scratch race.

2012 also saw Baker celebrate her 18th birthday riding the junior road race at the World Champions in Valkenburg. "It was really cool! That is one of my greatest cycling memories," said Baker. "Racing up the Cauberg with the spectators lining the streets and cheering us on was awesome.

"The last time up the climb my parents yelled "Happy Birthday George!" and although I was in a world of pain I couldn't help but smile!

Tasmania has produced a number of the top women's track endurance riders in recent years. From Amy Cure in 2009 and 2010 to Georgia Baker in 11 and 12 and more recently Lauren Perry and Macey Stewart the past two years. Commenting on the success "I think we have the best of both worlds in Tassie, we have great terrain and roads to train on.

"The Tasmanian Institute also provides us with great support network and facilities which enables us to achieve our best."

The end of 2014 saw Baker join Wiggle Honda, to race a number of the end of year criteriums. "I had a great time and learnt a lot and had the privilege of riding with some of the best female cyclists in the country." After racing for Wiggle at the end of last year Baker has joined Rochelle Gilmore's development team for the NRS season. "The team collectively has lots of goals but the main goal is to dominate the NRS series," revealed Baker. "It is really exciting for women's cycling, and I am really proud to be a part of it.

"I wouldn't say I am spending more time on the road, I just think I am doing more road riding because in previous years I have had commitments like Junior Worlds around the road season."

2015 has seen Baker defend her team pursuit national title, claim bronze in the omnium at the National Championships and stand on the podium in two stage of the Women's Tour of New Zealand. Below Baker talks track cycling and the start of her 2015 road season.

PelotonWatch: Three Junior Track World Championship titles, two in the team pursuit and one in the scratch. Looking back what do they mean to you?

Georgia Baker: These races mean a great deal to me and I think they will always be memorable races in my career. At the time these were the biggest titles I had ever won and they were made more unforgettable by breaking the world record in the team pursuit in 2012. I learnt a lot and gained heaps of experience from Junior Worlds that has helped me in the years that have followed.

PW: You were part of the Australian squad at the Guadalajara World Cup last month, your fourth World Cup. What have you been able to take away from these experiences?

GB: I feel really privileged and proud to represent my country so anytime I do it is memorable. Guadalajara was the first time I had raced with the new format of having three rounds in the teams pursuit. It is important, if the first round didnít go as expected not to dwell too much as you have another chance to win a medal.

PW: Competed in your third senior Track National Championships in January. Happy with how the four days of competition went?

GB: The Teams Pursuit win was definitely a stand out for me; it was great to be able to race it with a great bunch of girls. I was unfortunately unable to race the women's scratch race as I had to make my flight to the Tour of Qatar, I was a little disappointed in my IP time, I was unable to reach the time I had been training for, but a few things didn't go my way and thatís the way it goes, I will be better next time.

PW: Tasmania successfully defended their title in the team pursuit. How did defending it compare to winning it for the first time last year?

GB: Winning the title last year was really exciting and more of a shock as the margin to WA was so small. They had been the reining champions for so many years so we were really eager to win the title. This year it was up to us to back up and I think we had a lot more confidence within the team; we were all just really excited to race and have some fun. I am really proud Tassie got the title again this year.

PW: Just after Track Nationals you were off for the Tour of Qatar. One of the craziest races with the wind what did you learn from the race?

GB: I had never raced the Tour of Qatar until this year, but I had heard lots of things about how windy it can get. My teammate Jess told me to be prepared for a lot of gutter action! But funnily enough the first stage wasn't even windy, we had a tail wind the whole way and it was blowing at 6km/h! That soon changed though, the next day the wind picked up and the bunch was in echelons and split in the first 8km. I learnt that it was really important for us to maintain good positioning in the bunch at all times.

PW: You took two podium finishes in bunch sprints at the Women's Tour of New Zealand what can you take away from these results and have they been confidence boosting?

GB: I have taken lots of confidence away from the Tour of NZ, this tour is typically known as a hill climbers tour. So for me that isn't my specialty and my main role was to contribute strongly in the TTT and help Ellen and Tessa (our climbers) in the stages and GC.

I was unfortunately involved in a crash on the second stage but eventually got back onto the front bunch and sprinted for third. I gained confidence from the podium finish and sprinted to second in the final stage. Ellen also won the under23 category so it was a successful Tour for the High5 Dream Team.

PW: It has been a busy start to 2015 racing in Australia, New Zealand and Qatar all within the space of a month. What have you most enjoyed about it?

GB: I have really enjoyed it! I have gained a huge amount of experience from the racing I have done, I have been able to race against some of the best female cyclists in the world and I have been able to get a better idea of how they race and what I need to improve on.

Baker on route to bronze in the omnium at the 2015 National Championships
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