Vermilion cyclist the Rio deal?

By Geoff Lee

June 28, 2016 12:00 AM

Cyclist Alison Jackson, who calls her family farm near Vermilion home, could be going for gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics in the woman's road race. Cycle Canada will officially name the team Wednesday.

Lloydminster could have a local Olympic athlete to cheer for at the 2016 Rio games.
Cycling Canada will officially name its three woman team in Ottawa, Wednesday, and Alison Jackson could be one of the picks for the Olympic road race.
In an interview from Ottawa where she is competing in the 2106 Global Relay Canadian Road Championships June 25-29, the Vermilion area cyclist hinted the news could be good.
The hint came after being asked who she would call first if she makes the team .
She noted her parents were with her in Ottawa.
“My family already knows how the decision is going to go, so we will just let the media handle the news,” she said.
“There is nothing I can do at this point—roll along and take each race as it comes and just focus on the national races.”
If she is selected, the 28 year-old will be back at her family farm over the Canada Day week to re-group for final Olympic preparations.
“We have a race prep—I’ll go to B.C. Superweek (Vancouver, July 8-17)  for a bunch of races, and then Cascade Cycling Classic in Oregon at the end of July,” she said.
“So we kind of do those lead up things—get some good efforts—that is how the prep would be,” she said.
The 130-km women’s Olympic road race takes place Aug. 7.
Jackson headed into the nationals knowing she is one of the favourites coming off a 10th place mass finish as a professional rider at the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic on June 5.
She finished fifth in a group finish, with the time trial event to take place today.
The nationals and her strong result in Philadelphia against some of the top pro riders in the world have no bearing on Cycling Canada’s decision on who gets to go to Rio.
The selection period ended May 31, so it’s wait and see.
“It’s pretty exciting, I am one of the people in contention for those spots,” said Jackson.
“In the end it comes down to who Cycling Canada sees as the best fit for what their particular goals are for the Olympic games.”
Jackson is a member of Twenty16 Ridebiker professional cycling, based in California, that took her to a series of prestigious race in Belgium and Italy this spring.
“Although that was the first time the team had taken riders there, I put a lot of pressure on myself,” said Jackson.
“I wanted to see how good I could do.”
She said she had some good results and learned a lot with her best finish a 21st placing in the Pajot Hills Classic in Belgium on March 30.
If she gets to Rio, look out.
Jackson is great at racing strategy with a knack for powerful sprint finishes.
She got involved in cycling later in life when she started training for triathlons at age 19.
Her early success in the sport landed her a running scholarship to Trinity Western University where finished her kinesiology degree in December 2014.
When told 525 school students from Lloydminster, from ages six to 15, were taking part in this year’s Kids of Steel triathlon on Friday, Jackson said, “They’re getting a way better start than me.”
She also offered some advice to the young athletes how to get to a high level of competition like her.
“Entering races or events like that, finding other like minded people and just riding your bikes,” she said is the way to get going.
“Most of it is just your personal commitment to whatever you choose to do, whatever sport or activity.”
Jackson’s said her biggest supporter as an Olympic calibre cyclist is her husband, Alex, who is a videographer and avid mountain biker.
“He gets excited about the racing and understands it take of time and travel away, but he’s my biggest support even just coming as much as he can to the races,” she said.
Jackson said he even works for the team a little bit, taking some photos and videos although he’s not able to be in Ottawa for the nationals.
“It’s cool to see how he has embraced the cycling career and gotten himself involved,” said Jackson.

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