Rising star: junior Gent-Wevelgem winner Pfeiffer Georgi
Pfeiffer Georgi, if ever there was a name made for stardom and success there would be no need to look any further. Into her second season of racing as a junior, her palmarès is already starting to accumulate some impressive results.
With a win at Gent-Wevelgem junior race in 2017 and taking fourth in the mountains classification at her first WorldTour level race, this year’s Tour de Yorkshire, a healthy upwards trajectory appears to lie ahead.
Raised just a stone’s throw away from Herne Hill velodrome and now toughening her road skills on her home roads of Gloucestershire and Wales, the 17 year old’s family upbringing has always been about the bike.
Why cycling? Well I started riding when I was four. I used to live in Herne Hill, just a couple of minutes away from the velodrome and my dad used to race internationally, so he took me. My brother was doing it already and then my mum started and my grandad too. So it’s the whole family involved. I guess I’ve been brought up with it.
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When did you start to take racing seriously? I started racing when I was six and I wasn’t very good but I always enjoyed going with my brother every Thursday night. We’d go to the local racing circuit and we’d just have a good time and I made loads of friends. And then I guess when I was about 13 I started getting a bit better at it and I thought: ‘oh this might be something I can do’. I just started to love it even more.
Are your friends solely cyclists? I definitely think that my close friends are from the cycling world, yeah. That’s because at school it’s hard to explain what I’m doing and because I train quite a lot I don’t get to hang out with my friends as much as I would like. I tend to have stronger friendships with my cycling friends because we all are in the same boat and all have the same schedules. We understand what it’s like to be training so much.
Is there room in life for anything other than cycling? Well, I don’t do that much. I did ballet for about 13 years from when I was three to when I was 15 or 16, so I used to do a lot of dancing. But I’ve had to stop that in the last couple of years when cycling became more serious. And I’ve always liked doing art. So if I had time outside of revision or cycling I like to do that.
Balance is good, are you ever so tired from training you fall asleep at your desk? Yeah, I definitely feel that way some days, although I also find that after I’ve been training, I’m often more awake and able to do more revision. But there are some days when you’ve had a four hour ride and all you want to do is sleep. So it can be quite hard.
How were you first spotted by British Cycling? There are these Olympic development apprentice days, there’s about six across the country. They’re regional events and our one was based in Newport. So from the national series races we were doing that British Cycling watch, we were then invited onto these one-day camps.
Who are your role models? Lizzie Deignan is the person who I’ve looked up to the most in the last few years. Then I did the Tour de Yorkshire and getting to race with world and Olympic champions, and just seeing how the WorldTour teams work, was an amazing experience.
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How did it feel racing against those people? It was a bit nerve wracking because obviously they are on such a high level and you do get pushed around a bit by the older girls. But it was so fun because there was no pressure, we could just enjoy the race. It was some of the hardest racing [I’ve done].
What surprised you most about racing a race like the Tour de Yorkshire? I guess the team aspect of it, because it’s just on such a higher level and so much more organised. If a team decide they want to do something, like they want to do a lead out, or if they want to split the race, they just have so much strength to do it.
Did you find keeping your position in the bunch hard? Yeah, definitely. One minute I’m at the front then 30 seconds later I was right at the back. You constantly have to think about moving up because if you’re not then you’re at the back again – and that’s where more crashes happen. You just have to concentrate so much.
What’s been the toughest moment for you so far? I guess just dealing with things when they haven’t gone your way and you’re not feeling good. You just start to question things when your performance isn’t what you’d expect it to be. When you’ve put the training in, that can be quite disheartening.
What does the future hold? My main ambition in my career would be to become an Olympic and world champion in the road race – and potentially on the track in the madison, now that’s come back to the Olympics.
What do you prefer: climbing or descending? Oh, that’s a tough one, I think descending because I like the thrill of it and going fast. And also when you’re descending down a mountain you can take in the views a bit more than when you’re going up, suffering.
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How do you motivate yourself on winter days? I always think if someone else is training and you decide not to, then they’re going to get a gain on you. And if everyone else is sat at home because it’s raining, you can make big advances if you tough [out] the rain and the cold and get the work done. I know if I don’t go out then I’ll regret it in the summer if I get a kicking.
How would you explain a bike race to a non-cyclist? In junior racing I would say it just starts off absolutely crazy, everyone is fighting for position. People sit on the startline for about an hour before the race to get a good position. There’s a lot of rustling in the bunch, a lot of barging into people and a few crashes for good measure.
Your friends at school must question why on earth you do it? Yeah, I just say I love the feeling you get when you’re racing and your adrenaline is running. It’s really exciting. And all the places we get to visit and all the opportunities and people we meet,: I just love it.
Rouleur’s Rising Star series profiles Britain’s most promising young riders and features in British Cycling’s weekly member newsletter. To find out more about British Cycling membership visit britishcycling.org.uk/membership
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