Interview: Tour Series record breaker Jon Mould

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Interview: Tour Series record breaker Jon Mould hungry for more success

"It's nice to have the most Tour Series wins ever, but I go into every race wanting to win"

Records tumbled in the 2016 Tour Series, which drew to a close in Portsmouth this week, with JLT-Condor bagging their third series win.

In fact, they didn’t just take the team title – which no other team has won more than once since the evening criterium series was founded in 2009 – they dominated the entire event.

Up until Portsmouth, JLT-Condor had not only surged clear atop the team standings but enjoyed a cleansweep of individual wins too and, though Madison-Genesis’ Alex Blain denied them on the south coast on the final evening, there’s been no question as to who Britain’s leading crit team has been this year.

And at the heart of that, smashing records himself, has been Welshman Jon Mould – who joined John Herety and Dean Downing’s squad from ONE Pro Cycling in the winter.

Jon Mould claimed individual victories in six of the ten Tour Series rounds this year, as JLT-Condor won their third team title (Pic: Tour Series)

Prior to this year, no rider had ever won three consecutive rounds – Mould did exactly that in Redditch, Aberystwyth and Durham; victory on the latter course, notable for its steep cobbled hill, also saw Mould overtake team-mate Ed Clancy as the Series’ all-time most successful rider.

  • Tour Series – most individual wins

  • Jon Mould – 11
  • Ed Clancy – 8
  • Graham Briggs – 5
  • Dean Downing – 5
  • Kristian House – 5

The Newport-born rider wasn’t done there either – having already won in Motherwell earlier in the Series, he added individual victories in Stevenage and Croydon to take his career tally to 11 (Clancy has eight, Downing is level third with five).

“It is what I’m good at,” a modest Mould tells RoadCyclingUK as he reflects on the Tour Series. “That experience of starting on the track, with the points race and the Madison, it’s a similar concept – attacking, recovering and a lot of threshold work. It’s right up my street.”

Right up his street, whether that street be a steep cobbled hill in Durham, from a bunch sprint in Croydon or on a rain-battered seafront in Aberystwyth.

Or, of course, a velodrome – the 25-year-old Welshman is, after all, a former British Madison champion and has been on the podium at the UCI Track World Cup for the points race, as he eluded to.

The former British Cycling Academy rider also represented Wales at the Commonwealth Games and he admits that track background – something which has evidently also served Clancy well in the Tour SEries – has been a big advantage.

“I think I’m quite lucky in that, because I’ve been on the track for so long, that the points race work has always been there,” he says.

“It’s made my life a lot easier. I’ve been off the track since the Commonwealth Games [in 2014], but it definitely makes my life easier as that track background I have has stayed in my system.”

Jon Mould credits his track background for his Tour Series success, comparing the efforts needed for points races and criteriums (Pic: Alex Broadway/SWPix.com)

Race pace

That track background has been there in the previous three seasons Mould has raced the Tour Series, for Team UK Youth, NFTO and ONE Pro Cycling respectively – and yet, this year, Mould has won more times in a single series than he – or for that matter anyone – did in the previous three combined.

For that, the Welshman credits his move to JLT-Condor, with an international racing programme providing him with plenty of opportunity to get serious racing in his legs before the Tour Series.

Where last year Mould’s Tour Series preparation came in training, this year he had been in Australia, Croatia and France before the Series kicked off in the Isle of Man in May.

“I’ve done a lot of racing this year – a lot more than I normally would in the past three years really,” he explains.

“Last year especially, we hardly raced in the build-up. We trained a lot instead – which works in some ways, you get your fitness from training – but this year there’s been racing since January.

Mould says more racing in the build up to this year’s Tour Series has proved beneficial (Pic: Tour Series)

“It’s worked pretty well for me this year. It’s been really good heading to JLT-Condor. Last year, with ONE Pro Cycling, the whole year was built around the Tour Series. I didn’t really get much chance to do anything else.

“It’s been good to come at it from a different angle. It’s still a big aim for the season, the Tour Series – it always is – but to be able to come into it in a different way and with a bit more race fitness has helped.”

Fortune favours the brave

Mould has enjoyed Tour Series overall victory before, as part of the all-conquering Team UK Youth in 2013, but he says there are a lot of differences between that team and the ‘men in black’.

Led on the road by Yanto Barker, UK Youth folded at the end of that 2013 season when Formula One driver Nigel Mansell was unable to continue his sponsorship, but several of the riders – Mould included – were reunited at ONE Pro Cycling.

Though guarded in his answers, the ethos at JLT-Condor is different, according to Mould, who has also relished being given more of a leadership role in the team.

While the experienced duo of Russell Downing and Clancy have both raced for JLT-Condor in the Tour Series this year, with the former currently at the Tour de Korea and the latter honing his track form for the Rio 2016 Olympics, it has been left to Mould and 32-year-old Graham Briggs to lead the crit squad for much of the campaign.

Rising star Chris Lawless has chipped in with two individual victories and Briggs one, but this year has been all about Mould – and he admits sometimes just simply being in the right position has been the secret to his success.

“Everyone’s got on really well this year, and we’re all competitive with each other for places but everyone still works hard for each other,” he says of JLT-Condor.

JLT-Condor dominated the series, and Mould says he has relished his more senior role (Pic: Tour Series)

“It’s nice to have the most wins but I go into every race, like everyone else, wanting to win it. This year, there’s been a lot of being in the right place at the right time.

“I couldn’t believe it at times – especially in Croydon, where I was hoping to lead out Briggsy. I thought he was on my wheel and then I ended up carrying it to the line.

“It’s funny how it works out sometimes – I mean, it’s easier said than done but if you put yourself in the right place at the right time, it can come off and it has.”

Crowd pleaser

Mould’s team boss John Herety recently questioned whether British cycling – at grassroots level, at least – really was in the rude health it has often been suggested it is.

But if that’s the case, the Tour Series has been the exception to the rule with big crowds turning out for the popular, fast-paced evening criterium action.

“It’s a big thing for all the British riders,” Mould says. “You tour around the UK and you get some of the biggest crowds all season.

“It’s hard work travelling a lot, but when you’re there it’s great to be racing in front of big crowds – you can’t complain about it really.”

Mould says the efforts
Jon Mould, Tour Series, JLT-Condor - 5

Now, however, the focus for Mould is on a victory at UCI level, with the Beaumont Trophy – now in its third year as part of the UCI Europe Tour – next on the cards in Northumberland.

Connor Dunne’s victory in the Rutland-Melton Classic – also part of the UCI calendar – has set the tone for JLT-Condor, and Mould wants success of his own as he looks ahead to what could be a big second half to the season.

He says: “The Beaumont Trophy, the week before the road nationals, is a big one for this team – UCI 1.2 ranking, at home, in the UK. It’s a big one for the six of us who are going to ride it.

“I want to get a result at a UCI race and it’s also a stepping stone to making sure we qualify for the Tour of Britain.

“The nationals is just a smashfest and you’re hanging on most of the time when the WorldTour boys get it between their teeth”

“Then it’s road nationals and then you hit the national road series – GP of Wales will be a good, being a Welshman it will be nice to win on home soil so that will be one of my big targets.”

And with Mould clearly a man in form, should some of the country’s biggest stars be sitting up and taking note ahead of the National Championships? Mould doesn’t see why not after a tenth place finish in Lincoln last year.

“It’s always a tough one, the nationals – it’s just a smashfest really and you’re just hanging on most of the time when the WorldTour boys get it between their teeth,” he says.

“But there’s definitely a chance for any of the British riders just because of the way it’s raced.”

Whatever the second half of the season may hold, however, there is no question who the star of the first half of the domestic campaign has been.

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