Catching up with... Jessie Walker

Jessie Walker, Sheffield Grand Prix 2013

Although her father Chris was one of the most successful domestic riders in the 1990s, Jessie Walker is looking at making a name for herself, too.

Having finished her A Levels last summer, 19-year-old Walker is hopeful that her first proper winter of training will help her be competitive when the racing season starts.

"The biggest difference is the time that I can rest. Whereas before I was normally busy when I wasn't on my bike, I've been able to have a more normal structure to my training," said the Matrix Fitness-Vulpine rider, who is in her third year of racing.

"I'm doing a lot more riding in the week, too. There are a lot of chaingangs in the area - one on Tuesday normally has Russ and Dean Downing, Ben Swift and Graham Briggs in it, which is a really good workout.

"Then at weekends I go out with my dad and brother [and fellow racer] Joey. My dad still loves riding hard, there's a lot of aggression there!"

Not content with taking to two wheels with some of Britain's best, Walker recently got to spend a day in the saddle alongside 2006 Tour de France winner Oscar Pereiro for a film promoting the Harewood House Festival of Cycling.

"I played the role of a fan who is really excited about the Tour de France coming to Yorkshire," she said.

"I had to pretend to sleep in a bed in which only Queen Victoria and Queen Mary have slept in. That was quite amazing!"

"It was meant to look like we were riding in summer, too. Oscar had to wear a short-sleeved jersey and shorts all day, and coming from Spain, he must have been freezing!"

Walker added: "We did a bit of filming with Lizzie Armitstead two weeks ago, as well. I'm sure she gave me a cold that I've only just got rid of!"

With the dominant Brit of 2013 Hannah Barnes moving to America this winter to ride for the UnitedHealthcare team, there is an opportunity for riders to step in the void she left.

And Walker hopes that a good season will give her a springboard upon which she can progress through the ranks.

"You only have to look at what Hannah did to see what can happen if you win races in Britain. She's in America now, my former team-mate Emma Grant is back there again, too, and getting interest from bigger teams is what everybody wants," said Walker.

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Nick Bull is an NCTJ qualified journalist who has written for a range of titles, as well as being a freelance writer at Beat Media Group, which provides reports for the PA Media wire which is circulated to the likes of the BBC and Eurosport. His work at Cycling Weekly predominantly dealt with professional cycling, and he now holds a role as PR & Digital Manager at SweetSpot Group, which organises the Tour of Britain.