Young Brit Jessie Walker making an impression in Italy’s Giro Rosa
New girl in the pro peloton, Britain’s Jessie Walker makes a big hit in the heat of Italy
Interviewer: Owen Rodgers
Despite losing time and the mantle of top Brit on stage six of the Giro d’Italia Femminile, it’s been a good week for Yorkshire’s Jessie Walker. The Servetto-Footon rider began Thursday’s stage between Trevisio and Morbegno 47th on General Classification, some 20 minutes ahead of her nearest compatriot, Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans).
However, yesterday’s stage north of Milan, the hardest in the nine-stage race so far, saw Walker lose 29 minutes, slipping down the standings to 58th.
“Today it really hit me,” 20-year-old Walker told Cycling Weekly. “In the neutral I was struggling on the back, thinking this was going to be a hard day. On the second climb my legs just had it, I ended up in a group of five and we plodded along to the finish.”
Daughter of the 1991 Milk race winner Chris Walker, she set the tone for her Giro with 20th place in stage three into Mantova on Monday. Her best performance, however, was Wednesday’s mountain-top finish to Aprica, where she finished 30th, in a group just one second behind stage winner and World Champion Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Rabo-Liv).
>>> Jessie Walker joins Italy-based UCI team Servetto Footon
“It was a 15k climb to the finish and I was yo-yoing the whole way, but I held on. It eased up a few times and I just struggled to get back on, then I gave it everything to the line. I think that’s why I’m tired today, it took more out of me than I thought.”
It’s not just the peloton and the route that have proved challenging for the Dave Rayner funded athlete. “I think it reached 47 degrees