Alfie George targets busy 2020 after fitting end to season in Yorkshire
LEEDS-BORN ALFIE George emerged as a rising star in British cycling with an outstanding performance at Yorkshire’s UCI Road World Championships.
George, 18, was the highest-placed British rider in the men’s junior road race, covering the tough 148.1 kilometre course from Richmond to Harrogate in three hours, 39 minutes and 49 seconds - one minute, 45 behind winner Quinn Simmons of the United States.
His seventh place was an impressive achievement in a field made up of the world’s best 17 and 18 year olds, particularly as George is better known as a track rider.
Great-grandson of former Yorkshire Evening Post rugby league writer Arthur Haddock, George was raised in Scotland, but spends much of his time during the racing season staying with grandparents in Leeds.
A member of the British Cycling Junior Academy, he is still buzzing after having ridden in a home World Championships, something some top cyclists don’t achieve in their career.
“The whole week we were able to enjoy it,” George recalled. “We stayed at the team base since Sunday (four days before the junior race) and going out on team rides everyone was seeing us and shouting ‘go on GB’.
“When we stopped at the side of the road people were coming up to talk to us and ask for autographs. As juniors, that’s great - we don’t always get that so we were able to enjoy it then, but also while we were racing.
“My toughest point of the race was going up Summerscales, a big, long six-kilometre climb, steady, but not too steep.
“That’s when I was really hurting, but I knew that was going to be the hardest point for me and if I could get over that I’d be fine.
“When you are hurting and you hear ‘come on GB, get up there’, you think I will get up there, because you’ve got the hopes of a nation behind you.
“They want you to do well. It’s not just for you or your coach, it is for all these people at the side of the road.
“They have come out to see you and you can enjoy that, it gives you a sense of pride.”
The junior men’s race was staged in wet weather last Thursday, but George was staggered by the number of spectators.
He added: “Right out in the Dales, where normally when you ride you don’t see a car and you only have sheep for company, there were huge crowds, whole villages out to support us.
“Obviously the majority of the crowd was British and you could hear them shouting ‘come on GB’.
“You can enjoy that, it was great - and then coming through the finish the first time, when the Tour de Yorkshire is on you hear people say the crowds are amazing, but that was my first chance to experience it.
“I went through the first time and the noise was ringing in my ears, it was overwhelming.
“The crowds are absolutely amazing in Yorkshire.”
George confirmed he has “something lined up” for next year when he will be riding both road and track.
“That’s my season over now and it was a nice way to end it, at the world champs,” he said.
“I’ll be having two weeks off before re-setting and building up for my first season as an Under-23.
“I’ll do a bit of track through the winter and then the road season through the summer.”