Young Gun Ollie Robinson Gets PEZ’d!
Rider Interview: When a young man sets his heart on a career as a professional cyclist he might as well jump in at the deep end. Young English rider, Ollie Robinson, has based himself in Zottegem and the hot-bed of Belgian cycling for the 2020 season. Ed Hood found out all about Ollie’s plans for the future.
It’s that time of the year again; when young men cross the North Sea to the Flatlands, full of dreams of pro contracts, flowers and kisses from pretty podium girls. It doesn’t always work out like that for all of them but one young English rider has made a very strong start to 2020 with excellent early results.
PEZ talent spotter, Dave Chapman was the man who steered us in the direction of young Mr. Ollie Robinson. Ollie spent the last two seasons with the Wiggins development team in England but this year has taken the plunge. . .
PEZ: You’re 20 years old and from Canterbury – how did you get into cycling, Ollie?
Ollie Robinson: Yes I’m 20 years old and from Canterbury. I got into cycling because of my Dad. He did open time trials around our way, I would go to watch him race and quite enjoyed it. Dad started a ‘Go-Ride’ [British Cycling’s development programme for young people. The programme provides a fun and safe way to introduce young riders to the world of cycle sport and provides a platform to improve bike handling skills. ed.] section of my home club Thanet RC and ever since then I just loved riding my bike!
PEZ: You’ve had a great start to the season, what do you put that down to?
I wasn’t really expecting this good of a start, after the last two seasons being nothing special. But I started coaching myself over the winter and put a lot of research into what was the best way to train. I think I had a really good winter and was motivated for this season more than others. I felt I had something to prove.
PEZ: The race at Maldegem Kleit, second place on March 1st any ‘what ifs’?
There were a few ‘what ifs’. I left the sprint way too late and was finishing fastest. But it’s all good training for the big racing coming up.
PEZ: Then fifth place at Wanzeel Koerse on March 4th, another nice result, well in the prizes. . .
Wanzeel Koerse was a tough day out. I was in the break from the start with five others, it wasn’t really the plan but I love a good breakaway. Then another group came across and that was the winning move, so was a hard way to get in the winning move. I was getting in the moves in the last 20k and it finally came down to a sprint and I just ran out of legs towards the end.
But I’m still really happy with fifth with a good field.
PEZ: There were two SEG boys in the top three at Wanzeel, that’s a strong team. . .
SEG are a really strong Dutch team and they brought a big squad so I would have expected them to be up there, but to get two on the podium is pretty impressive. It looks like a really good development team with riders like Fabio Jakobsen and Cees Bol going to the WorldTour through them.
PEZ: Indulek Doltcini Derito p/b Baguet Cycling Centre for 2020, how did you get the ride?
I was looking for a ride in September when I was staying in Belgium and I saw Indulek Doltcini Derito p/b Baguet Cycling Centre riding some of the big races and I emailed Pascal to see if I could ride for his team. And fortunately he agreed let me in the team.
PEZ: What level of support do you get from them? [tell your team mate Matthias Van Beethoven I’m asking after him, I met him at the Three days of Copenhagen]
The support is really good. We aren’t a big team but they offer us as much support they can. The races we are doing this year are based around developing us as u23 riders and there’s no real pressure on us to perform.
PEZ: Are you there for the full season?
I’m here for the whole season; living in Zottegem but waiting for the weather to get better.
PEZ: 2018, the GP Wase Polders, Stijn Bockx wins, Sep Vanmarcke second, you third – nice result. . .
Yeah, that result was probably my best performance. It was my first race with the pros and I was in there with those guys who I’ve seen on TV. To be racing them was amazing and to beat some of them was a bit of a shock.
PEZ: How did 2019 go for you?
2019 wasn’t the best. I didn’t train properly over the winter and so the start of the season I was really under where I needed to be. But with a couple of months of racing the legs I was going well at the end of the year and getting some good results, so I end on a high I guess.
PEZ: Tell us about the ‘Wiggins experience’ – you were with them for two seasons; did you see much of the man?
Team WIGGINS was an amazing experience. To be able to ride with your hero’s name on you jersey is something surreal. The support was fantastic, from the top races, best bikes and amazing staff; it was just a great atmosphere to be in. I didn’t meet Bradley much but when I did it was a pleasure! It’s just such a shame that other young riders can’t experience team Wiggins again now that it has folded.
PEZ: How’s the race programme looking for the coming weeks?
The program looks good, plenty of races to prove yourself at. We are doing a few big UCI 1.2 and couple of UCI stage races. With have a lot of U23 racing, which is good because it’s nice racing people your own age. We just did Craft Ster Van Zwolle which was a 1.2 in Holland, which didn’t go to plan for me due to missing the front group in the crosswinds – but it’s those sorts of racing we will be doing. I think the next big race for me will be the Handzame Challenge, which has a lot of everything I’ve heard so that should be fun.
PEZ: How has the Corona scare affected things?
Corona virus hasn’t really had any effect on me. Where I’m staying is in the middle of nowhere in Belgian, so at the moment no real scare. It’s such a shame that it has caused some of the big races to be cancelled as well as some of the top riders having faced some sort of consequence of it.
PEZ: An awkward question for a kermis man but you did a bit of time testing – any chrono plans for this year?
Coming for a chrono background I do enjoy that kind of racing, just putting it all out there and hoping you don’t blow. But no real plans for this year might give the Nationals a go, but we’re see on that one.
PEZ: What will make 2020 a good year?
2020 has started well but what would make it good on a whole would be to win some bike races and have a fun doing it.
# PEZ wishes the man well. #
Photos supplied by Ollie Robinson.
It was November 2005 when Ed Hood first penned a piece for PEZ, on US legend Mike Neel. Since then he’s covered all of the Grand Tours and Monuments for PEZ and has an article count in excess of 1,800 in the archive. He was a Scottish champion cyclist himself – many years and kilograms ago – and still owns a Klein Attitude, Dura Ace carbon Giant and a Fixie. He and fellow Scot and PEZ contributor Martin Williamson run the Scottish site www.veloveritas.co.uk where more of his musings on our sport can be found.