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Alison Jackson: Simac Ladies Tour stage win a 'gift' after tough pandemic year

Alison Jackson (Liv Racing) wins stage 1 and takes the overall lead at the Simac Ladies Tour
Alison Jackson (Liv Racing) wins stage 1 and takes the overall lead at the Simac Ladies Tour (Image credit: Getty Images)

Alison Jackson (Liv Racing) followed a string of promising results over the past few seasons to finally take a Women’s WorldTour victory on stage 1 of the Simac Ladies Tour. The Canadian, known for her gregarious personality for which she uses TikTok videos as an outlet and has gained a strong following, said her first top-tier victory felt like a "gift" after a tough year through the pandemic

“I won the bike race,” Jackson said in disbelief after the stage in Hardenberg. 

“I saw an opportunity early on and normally I’m waiting for the sprint but we’ve seen that long breakaways actually get a lot of success when you're with some strong people. Just happy that the other two bridged to me and yeah we worked hard and just snuck in that win and I'm just, yeah, super happy. A win is a win but it's been a tough year and I just really think it's a gift.”  

The 32-year-old began her career as a triathlete before signing for TWENTY16 presented by Sho-Air in 2015, where she won the points classification at the 2.2 Tour of the Gila stage race as well as placing sixth in the World Championship TTT event. 

Jackson joined her first Women’s WorldTour team last season, for Team Sunweb, after two years with TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank, and then joined Liv Racing for 2021. At the Giro Rosa in 2020, Jackson took two top-10 results and later came ninth at Brugge-De Panne. She had a breakout performance at the Ladies Tour of Norway where she stood on her first top-tier podium with a third place in stage 2. 

She received a last-minute call up to the Tokyo Olympic Games in July after Canada were reallocated a third spot due to a smaller nation pulling out of the Games. Jackson raced alongside Leah Kirchmann and Karol-Ann Canuel and placed 32nd in the road race.

In her post-race interview at the Simac Ladies Tour, Jackson described having a “tough year” during the pandemic and that this victory has given her confidence.

“I think anytime you are on the WorldTour podium, that's a big confidence booster. And also that's why we race, we race to win,” Jackson said. “And I think with the pandemic and yeah, a lot of just like stresses on home life and and stuff for me for being over here. Yeah a win just means a lot and it's so fun to win.“

On the tightly-fought battle to hold off the sprinters alongside her breakaway companions Maëlle Grossetête (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope) and Nina Buysman (Parkhotel Valkenburg), Jackson said it was their commitment to the effort that led to the victory.

“I knew we had the tailwind coming back, so we had to fight really hard the three of us. I really pushed the girls to ride hard in the headwind, just to keep as much of a gap as we could,” she said. 

“And then yeah, Maelle and I just pushing each other. I knew I was the strongest and so I was taking the longest pulls because I knew that we had to get here and then my team behind just rooting for me the whole time. So yeah, it was a positive headspace.”  

While Buysman fell off pace near the end, Jackson and Grossetête narrowly held off the charging peloton, with Jackson winning the two-up sprint.

Asked if she expected the day’s result, Jackson said, “Did I expect to win? We sort of had that plan. We thought it would, maybe, be out of a sprint but yeah, I think just more and more you have to believe in the move that you make and commit fully,” she said. 

“And yeah, when you hold that idea of the win in your head, it gives you a lot of motivation.”