Full Name: Jessie Elizabeth Walker
Date of Birth: 20/09/94
From: Sheffield, UK
Current Team: Servetto-Footon
Current Residence: Asti, Italy
Interests: Art and Photography
Education: Studied at Aston Academy 6th Form: A-Level PE, Psychology, Chemistry 2011 – 2013
I’ve been cycling for as long as I can remember. Ever since I could sit up we’d go on family rides in Sherwood Forest, I loved it. Cycling is in my genes as my mum and dad were both international level racing cyclists. From my mums side it goes back 4 generations, starting with my great grandad who was a time trialist. Even my 86 year old grandad still races to this day. He even got voted Britains fittest grandparent when he was 80 and featured on the Alan Titchmarsh Show.
Before cycling, my brother and I starting running and competed in cross country races. My dad asked my brother and I several times if we were interested in cycling but I didn’t give it a second thought. It wasn’t till 2009 that we went to watch one of my dads closest friends, Russell Downing race at Lincoln GP and win, that my brother Joey said he wanted to race. Once he had a bike he did his first race at Richard Dunn in Bradford. I was surprised to see girls racing and soon gave it a go myself. Unfortunately that was the last race of the season so I had to wait to 2010 to race again. 2010 was my first official racing year as a second year under 16. I competed in most of the National series and the UK School Games which I absolutely loved. I learnt so much that year and it gave me even more of a drive to continue to race.
Then I had the big step up to Junior in 2011. As I didn’t have much experience, it was all new and different to me. I competed in most of the Women’s National Series and some of the Team Series and Tour Series. I mainly concentrated on my GCSE’s as it was my last year at school and I wanted to do my best. I loved the change from small circuit youth races to long distance women’s races. I had a solid winter training making me stronger and ready for the next season of racing.
2012 was an exciting year full of new experiences. I was so thrilled about being in Matrix Fitness – Prendas. I love the feeling of being in a team and being independent. The team launch was the first time I met all the riders so was the perfect opportunity for me to get to know them. As I was now part of a ‘professionally run’ women’s team I had to up my game. This was the first full season I had and I loved all the racing. Then to top off the year I was selected to represent Great Britain at the Junior World Championships. That was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had!! With Lucy Garner winning the race it made it so special and everyone was on a high.
Photo by Andy Whitehouse
2013 I remained with Matrix Fitness. This was my first year as an U23. I completed all the British races and also gained more experience racing abroad in races such as Tour de Bretagne, Tour de Limousin and finally Tour de l’Ardeche.
Photo by Huw Williams
2014 was my 3rd year with Matrix Fitness Racing Academy. This was a big year for the team as we had been given a wildcard place in the first ever Friends Life Womens Tour of Britain. This was my main goal for the season as it was a chance for me to see how I could perform against the best in the World. I bagged myself a 18th place on the first day which I was thrilled about and it really gave me the drive to want more. I backed up my result with a solid ride at the National Championships, making the split with the ‘pros’ and finishing 11th overall and 5th U23.
Matrix Fitness was now registered UCI Professional. This was a great opportunity for me to develop to the next level following my results from 2014. I started the year in France and Belgium training and racing however it didn’t work out as I thought it would with Matrix, so my best option was to leave the team. I then joined RST NFTO Racing Team and competed in the Tour Series in the UK as well as other criterium races such as the Milk Race and London Nocturne. I came away with 2nd overall in the Tour Series aswell as 2nd in the points competition. During these weeks in the UK I was contacted by Servetto-Footon a UCI Italian Womens Team. They wanted a British rider to add to their squad for the remainder of the season so I signed the paperwork and I am now part of the Servetto-Footon Womens Pro Team!
The Italian team was just the opportunity I needed as I had an amazing race calendar. I competed in my first ever Grand Tour, the Giro Rosa, bagging a top 20 and several top 30’s. This then put me on the radar for the British team at the World Championships in Richmond Virginia, USA. It was the most incredible experience racing for my country and being part of the winning team with Lizzie Armitstead becoming World Champion.