Young Welshman Ed Laverack, who signed with Rapha-Condor-JLT in 2012, tells CW how, since turning pro, he has learned a great deal about when to push hard and when to back off — and how to appreciate frequent helpings of cake

Name: Ed Laverack
Age: 19

Team: Rapha-Condor-JLT
Best result: First overall Mitchelton 
Bay support series 2014
Speciality: 
Road races

In 2013 he became part of the talent hothouse that is Rapha-Condor-JLT, where he’s guided by one of the best mentors in the business, John Herety.

Last year was a learning curve for the teenage pro, learning to look after himself while finding out how hard he can try on the bike. Both are essential for a pro rider, but so is knowing how and when to treat yourself, which Laverack, now 19, thinks he’s also learned during his time with Rapha-Condor-JLT.

What’s more important, nutrition or training?
EL: Nutrition, because it’s often overlooked. I used to eat without thinking, but this year I’ve paid more attention to what I eat and when I eat it, and I’ve really seen a difference.

I’ve got a phone app called My Fitness Pal, and I enter everything I eat into it and it shows the percentages of fats and carbohydrates as a pie chart. So when I’ve eaten enough carbs for that day, for example, I don’t eat any more.

What’s your favourite 
pre-ride meal and why?
EL: Porridge. I’m a bit old-school with that. It’s what I was given as a kid anyway. I mix peanut butter or honey with it in winter, but just 
now I’m having chopped 
fresh strawberries.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given and who gave it you?
EL: It was John Herety and he told me to keep pushing myself, because if you don’t you’ll never know how hard you can go. The best example was during the Ras in Ireland last year.

I crashed and was riding at the back, but then John said, “Stop feeling sorry for yourself, the crash happened, get over it and get stuck in.” So I did, and got in the break on a really hilly day and finished near the front. It felt good after that, and John was really pleased with me.

What’s your favourite naughty food?
EL: Cake, but it’s one of my team-mates’ fault. Earlier this year I spent some time sharing a room with Graham Briggs, and he was always saying let’s go for a coffee at the cake shop. Now I’m stuck with a sweet tooth.

Tell us about a time when you got your nutrition wrong. What happened?
EL: It was the GP of Wales last year. I rode over to the break on the Tumble climb, but then we went on to a finishing circuit and I thought it was five laps of eight kilometres, and it was actually eight laps of five.

I’d eaten too much too early and was running low on food and drink, but with what I thought were five laps to go, I ate my only energy bar. It was really warm too, so I quickly finished my last bottle. Anyway, I popped with eight kilometres to go.

Do you prefer real food or supplements when you are racing or training?
EL: Supplements in racing. My thinking is there’s a lot of science gone into developing supplements, especially the SiS ones we use, and that makes them the best option for racing. I prefer real food in training. Any sort of healthy bar; on a long ride, I’m not keen on coffee stops so I take sandwiches, like peanut butter and banana.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known when starting out?
EL: I wish I’d known how much knowledge was around me locally, if only I’d asked people. I came into cycling at 15, and as a teenager you are sometimes nervous about asking for advice.

If you packed up riding right now, what are the three most important things you have learned from participating in this sport?
EL: Cycling has helped me deal with tiredness. I listen to my body and know when to say enough is enough. It’s taught me teamwork, and if I went for a job interview, I could honestly say that I know how to work in a team so that the team wins.