Thursday, June 20, 2024

George Woods – “happy to be back on my bike and racing again” (and winning in Belgium!)


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George Woods
George Woods.

It was back in July when we first heard about 21 year-old George Woods (Richardson’s Trek Racing Team) ‘doing the business’ in Belgium, we ‘had a word’ with him but with all that Tour carry-on we didn’t get round to writing the interview up.

Then the other week we saw he was in the frame again, winning a 114 kilometre kermis at Deinze.

High times we gave ourselves a shake and got the piece published!

George is from Canvey Island, my observation about it being the home of cult 70’s R & B band, Doctor Feelgood fell on deaf ears; ‘never heard of them,’ said George.

Sometimes I forget how old I am…

The young Woods started off riding with his dad in the Southend & County Wheelers on a small wheeled bike.

For season 2012 he joined the Maldon Club but had some problems with his knee at age 14, as he explained, his journey to winning bikes races in Belgium; ‘hasn’t been a smooth run.’

After Maldon he rode for the Neon Velo club before moving to Richardsons.

This is his fourth year with the squad, a team to be commended for their commitment to getting their boys over to the Heartland.

If you’re a VeloVeritas regular you’ll remember we’ve spoke to their men Luke Ryan and Jez McCann in recent years – both of whom have won in the Flatlands.

We kicked off by asking George about his ‘raids’ into Flanders…

“We zoom over for the long weekend, coming back on the Monday, they’ve updated the entry system in Belgium, you can enter on the line or on the internet so most of the time we enter on the ‘net.”

You Richardsons boys certainly get yourselves over there a lot.

“We have two team managers and they fully encourage the young riders in the club to sample racing over there.

Steve Skuse, who you’ve mentioned on your site before is one of the guys who comes over with us, he loves it, the last time I was over with him I took two third places – one on the Saturday and one on the Sunday.”

Do you have a coach, George?  

“Yes, Andy Lyons, he keeps me right, I have a lot of respect for him and listen to what he tells me.

“He was a very good road racer in his own right; that was in the days before the Premier Calendar races, the season long competition was called the ‘Star Trophy’ and Andy was on the podium in international races like the Grand Prix of Essex.”

George Woods
George Woods. Photo©DPM Photo

When we spoke to George he was on five wins for the season, four having come in the UK and one in Belgium but with his win in Deinze he’s doubled his continental wins – he was also fifth in the Rapha London Nocturne against top pro opposition, where he; ‘just got stuck in and enjoyed it…

He’s also had numerous placings in Belgium with second place in one kermis to one of the ex-pro ‘Kermis Kings’ whose name he can’t remember but who was on his eighth win of the year (could be the legendary Mario Willems?).

And there are also results like third in the GP Gilbert Molle at Ichtegem, second in the Slypskapelle at Moorslede and third in the Sint-Aldegondisprijs at Zwevezele.

What do you do for accommodation on your excursions?

“We just find the cheapest digs we can for our races, Richardsons help us out, which is great – and we have a manager with us to look after us.”

George Woods
George Woods. Photo©supplied

But it’s not been all ‘ice cream and fairies’ along the way for you?

“Last February I was in an accident which saw me unconscious for 14 minutes, I was in hospital with that one and then in March, I suffered another concussion.

“And the year before that I was involved in two car accidents and had multiple head traumas and had to have six months off the bike.

“You never want things like that to happen but I learned a lot about my body from those incidents.

“I’m just happy to be back on my bike and racing again.”

Where do you see yourself heading?

“After last year, now that I’m fit and healthy I think the sky is the limit for my ambitions on the bike.”

Sorry for the delay in getting your piece up, George we’ll be keeping our eyes open for your results for the rest of the season.