Joanna Rowsell Back to Main
BORN: December 5, 1988
BIRTHPLACE: Sutton, Surrey
HEIGHT: 5'11"
ON WHOSAY SINCE: Mar 18, 2014
HOMETOWN: Sutton, Surrrey

5 Things You Didn't Know About Me

  • I prefer raw cake mixture to actual cake!
  • My very first competitive cycling race was a BMX race. Unsurprisingly I came last.. definitely not my forte!
  • My favourite subjects in school were Biology and Maths
  • I want to design and build my own house one day. Just need to find a plot of land first!
  • When I was younger I used to want to be a Blue Peter presenter or a vet!


I started cycling in 2004, aged 15, having gained a place on British Cycling’s Talent Team program. I was not a cyclist previously and when British Cycling’s talent scouts came to carry out testing on the school playing field I thought I may as well go and see what it was all about. As it turns out this decision changed my life completely! Tests were carried out on mountain bikes which they provided and involved a sprint and endurance test against the clock. I was surprised to hear my times were good enough to be invited back for further testing, this time a lot more scientific where our power outputs were measured on static bikes. It was in this test I really shone and was recognised as having potential! A 3rd stage of testing followed before I learned I had gained a place on the Talent Team, one of only 5 girls in the region. The Talent Team introduced me to all the different cycling disciplines and my first full racing season was in 2005 as a first year junior where I made my mark by winning the Junior Women′s National 2k Individual Pursuit title.

In 2006 I gained a place on British Cycling’s Olympic Development Programme and represented Great Britain in both the Junior European and World Championships on the road and track. This year I also retained my National Title on the track, setting a new National Record in the process, and became National U23 road race Champion and took the bronze medal in the senior race, aged only 17.

2007 was a busy year for me as I took my A levels in Biology, Physics and Maths but it was also my first year as a senior. I got my first taste of International Elite women’s road racing whilst riding for the UCI Women′s Global Racing Team. I also picked up 4 National medals this year on the track and road.

Having completed my A levels and now a full time rider I moved up to Manchester for the 2007-2008 winter season and focused on the track. This was great for me as coming from London with no indoor velodrome this was the first time in my career I was able to train regularly on the track. The winter’s hard work and regular training paid off in March 2008 when I competed in the Senior World Track Championships for the first time and won the first ever Women′s Team Pursuit! The team for the event was Rebecca Romero, Wendy Houvenhagel and myself.

I was over the moon to be World Champion and the whole event was amazing as it was held in Manchester so the home crowd really made it special! In addition to our World Title there were also 8 other gold medals and 2 silvers for the team, so altogether a very successful championship! There was also an overwhelming amount of media coverage of the event in Manchester. In light of my achievement my first cycling club, Sutton Cycling Club, awarded me a Local Hero Award to coincide with their 10th birthday which I was very honored to receive.

2008 continued to be a good year for me by also winning two National Titles on the road and 4 elite women’s races in Belgium over the summer. The highlight for me was winning the women′s races at two of the post Tour de France criteriums in front of massive crowds!

I competed in the U23 European Championships on the track and came away with a European title in the Team Pursuit, plus my first individual medal on the track in the form of a bronze medal in the Individual Pursuit. This kicked off my winter campaign of individual pursuiting where I trained for this event for the first time. I competed in my first ever World Cup in Manchester where I won a bronze medal as well as a gold in the Team Pursuit. I improved on these 3 weeks later in the Melbourne round of the World Cup, this time winning double gold! The final World Cup in Copenhagen in February 2009 saw me gain another individual bronze and team gold and therefore winning the overall UCI World Cup title in both the Individual Pursuit and the Team Pursuit! 4 Golds and 2 Bronze medals from my first World Cup season was very pleasing!

The 2009 World Track Championships in Poland saw me compete in the Individual Pursuit at this level for the first time where I placed 4th and rode a new personal best time which I was very pleased with. I was also really happy to retain the World Title in the Team Pursuit and now be the proud owner of two rainbow jerseys!

It was announced in December 2009 that the Women’s Team Pursuit was to be included in the London 2012 Olympic Games! This was very exciting for me as my team and I were the current World Champions and World Record holders. So from then I concentrated all my focus on success in the Team Pursuit in London.

Following a successful Olympics where we won the Team Pursuit and also broke the World Record 3 times I had a year racing on the road in 2013 and won the National Time Trial title. 2014 sees me back on the track as I work towards the Commonwealth Games and the Rio 2016 Olympics.

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