Abby-Mae Parkinson took a trip back in time this week.
The Trek-Drops cyclist paid a visit to the place that helped shape the professional athlete she would become – Bradford Grammar School.
After spending 12 years of her life in those classrooms and on those playing fields, it was a cathartic visit for the 20-year-old who, due to the exciting nature of her profession, now lives in the rather more sunnier climes of the south of France.
“I absolutely love coming back,” said the Dewsbury-born rider who was taking part in the Every Can Counts recycling intitiative.
“It’s so nice to be back, I’ve got so many happy memories.
“The warm weather’s nice in France, that was a big motivation for moving down there, plus the terrain of the roads. My life is in the south of France now, but it’s always nice to come back to my old school, catch up with my teachers and help motivate a few kids to get out on their bike and come and watch the Tour de Yorkshire.”
In return, Parkinson hopes they come out and support her on the 132.5km trek from Beverley to Doncaster today, followed by the slightly tougher 149km jaunt from Barnsley to Ilkley tomorrow.
“It’s going to be an epic race, and super tough,” added Parkinson.
“The second day will be really difficult. I know those roads from the countless training rides I’ve done on them, they’re really grippy.
“And I think day one is going to be more open than people think.
The second day will be really difficult. I know those roads from the countless training rides I’ve done on them, they’re really grippy.Abby-Mae Parkinson
“It probably still will end up in a sprint, but if it’s windy it could really split the bunch up and we might get a surprising finish.
“It makes sense for us (Trek-Drops) to get a rider or two up the road because we have a couple of sprinters in the team.
“I’d like to get in a break if I can. This is my last race before a mid-season break, but the home roads give me so much motivation.”
Despite her relatively tender years, Parkinson comes into the expanded Asda Tour de Yorkshire Women’s Race in good form having posted creditable finishes in strong company during the Spring Classics season; the Tour of Flanders, Amstel Gold Race, Fleche-Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege.