30-year-old Jenny Rutter (née Powell) was born and still lives in Cheltenham. Following two very successful years with a string of good results first for EliteVelo-Kalas in 2016 and then with Nikki Juniper in 2017, Jenny is moving to Nikki’s new team NJC-Biemme-Echelon.
In addition to scoring numerous wins for herself, she’s known to be a very strong team rider, assisting her team in controlling the peloton and chasing down breaks. Her favourite rider is former World Champion Lizzie Deignan.
When and how did you first get into cycling?
With a background in swimming and running, I bought a bike in 2012 with the ambition of competing in triathlon. Soon after I started riding I got hooked and I haven’t swam or run competitively since. Riding a bike is faster and you go further – that’s what I really enjoy about it!
Which is your favourite cycling discipline, and what is it about it that appeals to you?
I love the road. I love the freedom riding a bike brings you. You get to enjoy the beauty of the outside throughout the seasons of the year and watch them change, with all the good and bad weather that it brings to challenge you. I love exploring, finding new training roads and seeing more of the wonderful country that we live in.
And what do you love most about the sport?
The community that it brings to life. It’s an amazing sport for all ages and abilities.
What do you love most about your team? What was it that made you think “that’s the squad for me”?
It’s a team that just want to enjoy racing bikes. Putting in some hard graft but having a laugh along the way.
Which bit of your racing kit is most important to you?
Socks! No one ever won a race with a poor sock game!
What should the UCI and British Cycling be doing for women’s cycling?
I would love to see the same coverage for women’s races as they do men’s throughout todays media. They say women’s races are boring but how do they know they aren’t watching them!
Race organisers often moan that they don’t get as many women as they’d like signing up to their events. What could they do to make you think “Yeah! I want to race that one!”?
I love an attritional race. If I am going to travel a long way for a race I want it to be a good tough course with the duration to justify the expenses.
After a race, an eight-year-old approaches you and says she’s got her first ever race the following weekend. What advice would you give to her to get her cycling career off to a good start?
Make sure you have fun. Have confidence in yourself and always give 100%.
What were your highlights, favourite race and hardest race in 2017?
Favourite race was the Tour De Yorkshire, it was also the toughest. It was amazing to be apart of such a high class race and mix it up alongside some world class pros.
What are your main aims for the coming season?
Have fun and race as much as possible!
What does the future hold for women’s cycling? Are you optimistic
Optimistic – you should always be.
Describe your warm-up routine. Do you use rollers or a turbo? If you use music, what do you listen to?
I tend to use rollers for convenience and I do listen to music, as for what it depends on what I fancy on the day. It’s strange what songs can get you motivated. Frank Sinatra is up there!
There are still some people out there who think women’s racing isn’t as interesting or competitive as men’s racing. What would you say to convince them otherwise?
Just watch it and see.
Finally, here’s the keys for the Neutral Service time machine – you can use it to go for a ride with anyone in cycling history. Who’s it going to be?
Eddie Merckx – he’s cycling top trump, and I’d interrogate him for his secrets to success.
Previous Ten Minute interviews on Neutral Service
Laura Owler – Lucy Sturgess – Hannah Larbalestier – Felicity Gledhill – Liz Burrows – Seonaid Thompson – Sophie Holmes – Emma Jane Hornsby – Nikki Juniper – Rebecca Johnson – Joanne Newstead – Connie Hayes – Alice and Tom Staniford – Catherine Coley – Sian Botteley – Maddie Gammons – Gemma Sargent – Gaby Homer and Savannah Morgan – Valentina Scandolara – Alicia Speake – Meredith Miller – Anneke Prins – Giorgia Bronzini – Marijn De Vries – Heather Bamforth – Georgina Pymer – Nicola Soden – Detta Guerrini – Isla Rush – Jen Edwards – Anika Todd – Alice Cobb – Deborah John – Tanya Griffiths – Laura Morgan – Rebecca Nixon – Suzanne Deveny – Karla Boddy – Sjekkie Vos