Sat 20 Jun 2020

No athlete can ever make it on their own, there’s always a huge support crew behind, helping them through the good and bad times whether it’s a coach, a friend, a sport director or a parent. These people are the #UnsungHeroes, the ones that don’t stand on the podium to collect the medals, but the ones that truly deserve a medal.

For Part 5, our final in the #UnsungHeroes series, young 21-year-old British talent Jess Roberts tells us all about her heroes.

Can you name one person that had a large impact on helping you to start your career?
“There’s two, it has to be both of my parents.”

What exactly did they do to help you?
“They would drive me all round the country to races on the weekends and training sessions with my local club during the week and would just always support and help me with whatever I wanted to do.”

Why was that so important to you in making you who you are today?
“It was such an important part in me coming a cyclist, because without their commitment in supporting me and taking me to these races/training sessions I wouldn’t have even been able to discover my love for cycling.”

Do you think you would be as good as you are today without their help?
“No, I don’t think I would, they were always there to encourage and motivate me to keep going even when times were hard.”

Can you name a specific moment/memory that you have of them helping you that stands out?
“Every year when I was younger, I’d race in the Youth Tour of Assen in Holland. We’d stay in a field in the camper with loads of other riders and I loved it.

“I always remember me and my dad riding to the start of some of the stages as we didn’t have a car to get around in, and he’d strap a massive set of rollers to his pretty bog-standard old mountain bike so I could warm up on them. I just always remember him going out of his way to make sure I had what I needed.”

Do they still have an impact on your career today?
“Definitely! Although I don’t live at home anymore and don’t have to rely on them to drive me to races. They still keep me going with love and support and that helps a lot.”

Do you think they are proud of you?
“Yes, I think so. Mum tells me a lot how proud she is, and Dad isn’t one for saying much but I know he is proud even if he doesn’t say it haha.”

Do you think they realise how much they assisted you to build your career?
“I really hope they do because they were and still are a massive part of my career. I hope one day I can repay them for all the sacrifices they made to help me.”

What traits do they have that inspire you?
“Determination and competitiveness. They always strive to be the best at whatever they are doing.”

Have they been to any watch any of your professional races?
“They’ve watched me race for Great Britain several times but have not had the chance to watch me race in the Mitchelton-SCOTT colours yet.”

Thanks Mr and Mrs Roberts.

Previous #UnsungHeroes pieces: