Brother UK Cycling Podcast - Abi Smith interview

Season 4, Episode 40,   Aug 19, 2023, 05:00 PM

Who knows more about the Ryedale Grand Prix than 2022 winner Abi Smith (EF Education - Tibco - SVB)? Having grown up just two kilometres from historic Ampleforth Abbey, the race HQ and its start and finish location, it’s fair to say that Abi has local knowledge in abundance. 

Not that she needs it. With victories in the three biggest domestic races and experience as a professional in some of the most prestigious races in the women’s sport - Strade Bianche, the Women’s Tour and Giro Donné, to name only three - Abi is a world-class talent who still finds satisfaction in racing on home roads when the opportunity is presented. 

In this revealing interview, Abi describes experiencing the Ryedale Grand Prix’s ‘small’ circuit as a young child, before she’d even heard of the race, practising on her bike with her brother. As the years passed and her infatuation with the sport grew, she attended the 2012 national championships on the Ryedale course and spent some of her time at the circuit gathering autographs. 

Her insights into the specific demands of a race widely regarded as the hardest on the National Road Series calendar are well worth hearing. The importance of positioning, the ability to climb out of the saddle on its many testing ramps, and, as importantly, to recover from the effort in the short period before the next one are all key skills, she says. 

Abi contrasts the effort with the long, seated climbs of the Giro Donné, ridden at threshold. She also compares the gruelling demands of Ryedale and the even greater challenge of the legendary Strade Bianche. She offers insights into the differing roles she adopts as a professional, riding in service of her team leaders and, effectively, as an independent rider competing on home roads.

Listen now to enjoy Abi’s conversation with co-host Timothy John as she prepares to return to top-tier competition following a knee injury suffered in early spring. The 2023 Ryedale Grand Prix, which she will start as defending champion, will tell us much about her recovery as she makes final preparations for the inaugural edition of the women’s Tour de l’Avenir.