Many cycling fans have only recently become acquainted with Alison Jackson, a friendly pacesetter from Canada who surprisingly clinched victory at this year's Paris-Roubaix. IDLProCycling.com took an interest in her story and sought her out for an interview!
Jackson's cycling career has been nothing short of remarkable. She has been part of the "old guard" for a while now, but her professional road cycling journey only commenced in 2015. Until the end of 2016, she represented the colors of the UCI team TWENTY16-Ridebiker. In her final year with that team, she notched her first two professional victories: a stage win in the Trophée d'Or Féminin, followed by a stage victory in the Tour Cycliste Féminin International de l'Ardèche. In 2017 and 2018, she couldn't secure a victory but consistently earned places of honor. The following year, her hard work paid off as Jackson claimed two triumphs and, as the cherry on top, secured a contract with Team Sunweb.
Jackson extremely satisfied with season, but speaks of World Cup disappointment
In 2020, Jackson completed her first full season in the WorldTour. Following that, 2021 and 2022, referred to as the "corona years" two and three, saw the rider from Vermilion racing with Liv Racing, alongside cyclists like Lotte Kopecky and Thalita de Jong. In 2021, she achieved the distinction of becoming both the Canadian champion on the road and in the time trial. During this period, it became increasingly evident that Jackson specialized in early breakaways. She earned her first victory in the Women's World Tour by leading the charge in the Simac Ladies Tour. Last year, while racing for EF Education-TIBCO-SVB, Jackson reinforced this image. At the age of 34, she etched her name in history by winning Paris-Roubaix from a breakaway. She expressed her disbelief at the time, saying, "It often sticks to dreams. It is unreal that it is now coming true in real life. I have few words for it."
Reflecting on her accomplishments, Jackson remarked, "This was unquestionably a remarkable year." She spoke to this website after the GP Plouay - Classic Lorient Agglomération and said, "Winning both the Hell of the North and the Canadian Championship in one year is simply amazing. On the other hand, I would have liked to have shown a better version of myself at the World Cycling Championships." She was quick to acknowledge her self-criticism. In Glasgow, the athlete from central Canada finished 33rd, more than thirteen minutes behind Lotte Kopecky. "I was unfortunately overtired after the intense spring. Moreover, I had also fallen ill the week before the world championships. Such things just come with the territory. Of course, I can't complain at all about a year like this."
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Despite clearly understanding the reasons for her performance in Glasgow, Jackson revealed a hidden regret about not being able to contend for a top-ten position. "It is undeniably unfortunate. As a cyclist, one understands that losses outnumber victories. To achieve a top result, you must be in peak condition. At that moment, I simply didn't have the legs. It's disappointing, but I had to accept it. Especially right after the World Championships, it weighed heavily as a disappointment."
Zoe Bäckstedt is one of Jackson's closest friends, and she's eager to win Paris-Roubaix again
The good-natured Jackson may be blowing out 35 candles in December, making her the second-oldest rider in the pink-clad brigade from the United States. When asked if she feels like a thirty-something, she can't help but smile broadly. "A little bit, especially when I realize that my best friends on the team are Zoe Bäckstedt (19) and Magdeleine Vallieres (22). But because I spend so much time with them, I stay young at heart myself, haha!"
Speaking of youth, Jackson is a sensation on TikTok, the wildly popular app for creating and sharing short videos. Even within the peloton, Jackson is known for her TikTok dances, often involving her teammates. According to Jackson, she primarily makes these videos for fun. "That's how it all started, and it's a fun way to balance out the seriousness of cycling. I just enjoy having a good laugh and connecting with fans through this medium. I receive overwhelmingly positive reactions, which is great. Hopefully, I can bring laughter to others because that's truly valuable."
Most likely, Jackson isn't considering hanging up her road bike anytime soon. However, IDLProCycling.com was curious about which race the affable tough rider would most like to win if she had to choose one. "It would definitely be Paris-Roubaix one more time," she reveals her affection for the iconic northern French classic. "And if I were to win it again, it would be amazing to earn the title 'Queen of Paris-Roubaix.' But then again, the Tour of Flanders is a dream race for me, as is the World Championship. Next year, if all goes well, I plan to participate in nearly all the spring races, so hopefully, I can secure a victory. Additionally, for Canada, the Olympics hold immense importance. As a child, I constantly dreamed of Olympic gold. Next year, they will be held in Paris, and the course should suit me, so maybe I'll opt for that race after all. In any case, I'm eagerly looking forward to it," she concluded with jubilation.