Alison Jackson made history in 2023 as the first Canadian, male or female, to win a Monument, her claim on the fabled cobblestone trophy at Paris-Roubaix last April defining her season and her career. In just a few days she will be back at work building toward a defence of the ‘Queen of the Cobbles’ title, racing at the new Challenge Mallorca for women.
The Canadian champion joined EF Education-Cannondale for a restart this spring, the Continental programme grabbing her talents when the WorldTour-level EF Education-TIBCO-SVB team folded at the end of last year. Despite a learning curve with a new team in her ninth season as a pro cyclist and big races on the horizon leading to the Paris Olympic Games, Jackson uses words “fun” and “happy” a lot to describe serious work.
“I love that the team allows me to be who I am and have a happy heart. A happy heart goes to make a happy life,” Jackson told Cyclingnews from Spain just before the start of 2024 racing.
“I felt that this team has been such a perfect fit for me. I think it’s because they really love personalities. It comes from EF, what they do with their company and storytelling. All the partners with us, too, love storytelling – Rapha, Wahoo, MucOff. To do things in a different way and still be serious about your sport and get great results, I love that.”
Jackson’s story which will be retold for a long time took place last April. She went from breakaway rider to sprint winner at Paris-Roubaix Femmes and danced her way into the hearts of many with social media celebration videos.
“For me, it was going to have a lot of meaning to win a Monument and also to write my name in the history book as the first Canadian, male or female, to have won any of the Monuments,” Jackson admitted. “You have to believe you can win, in order to even think that it could be possible. Cycling is fun. Racing is fun. But winning is a special type of fun.”
Following a training camp in Mallorca this month, Jackson and a contingency of EF Education-Cannondale riders will begin their UCI racing season at Challenge Mallorca, a three-day series of road races. The first race is the Felanitx-Colonia de Sant Jordi Trophy.
“I’ll get to jump in a couple of them, the Challenge Mallorca. And that’s kind of right in the middle of our team camp. I love that we’re doing that, bringing learning skills together, whether we can actually put them in a bike race or come back after and learn from it and take it into the next big races. For me, it will…