38 episodes

Stories about British bike racing, teams and riders. Presented by Continental.

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Stories about British bike racing, teams and riders. Presented by Continental.

    Colin Clews | The return of the Women's CiCLE Classic

    Colin Clews | The return of the Women's CiCLE Classic

    27 June 2021 will be a landmark for British road racing. It will see the first elite-level road race in the UK for 666 days. Fans, riders, and teams have had to wait nearly a full year two years for an elite road race on home soil. And whilst many a cycling fan will have their gaze fixed on stage 2 of the Tour de France, it’s important too that we celebrate this moment. 
    The race we allude to, of course, is the 5th edition Women’s CiCLE Classic. A relatively new race on the calendar, it has quickly established itself as an important event for the women’s domestic peloton. And as the first round of the National Road Series after such a long lay-off from elite road racing, it takes on even greater significance this year. 
    Ahead of the race, we spoke to the organiser Colin Clews, who coincidentally was also the organiser of the last National A road race in the UK: the Bourne CiCLE Classic. In a fascinating interview, Colin explains the challenges of putting on a top-level race in these times, tells us why the event will be much more than just a bike race, highlights the massive interest the race has had from both teams and the local community, discusses the new route, and what kind of race we might expect.
    The incredible Pete Stanton was also on the call with Colin, but for some reason, our technology failed to capture his end of the recording. Pete is the very generous sponsor of the race and has been since its inception, as Colin explains in the interview. The hiccup means, however, that, unfortunately, we can’t hear from Pete this time around, so we’ll have to get him back on the podcast another time.

    View the startlist. A race preview will be published soon too and we'll add a link here once it's up.
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    • 32 min
    Emily Nelson | Winning the CiCLE Classic

    Emily Nelson | Winning the CiCLE Classic

    Ahead of the women’s CiCLE Classic this weekend- the first National A road race for 666 days – we are publishing two special episodes focusing on the race. In this first episode, we talk with the race’s reigning champion, Emily Nelson, who gives us an insight into what it takes to ride – and win – one of the UK’s most prestigious one-day women’s races.
    It has been a dizzying few years or so for 24-year-old Emily. 
    One of the world’s top track riders, she hit the heights in 2018, becoming the world madison champion on the track, and adding a world championship silver medal in the team pursuit to her palmares too. With both events on the 2020 Tokyo track programme, her Olympic dreams were looking bright. 
    The following year she then won scratch gold at the European track championships, and silver in the elimination race at the same event. And she excelled on the road that year too, despite riding only a handful of road races. She won the East/West Midlands women’s road race championships, and finished 12th in the national road championships road race too.

    But her most notable feats were her victories at the Women’s CiCLE Classic and the women’s Bourne CiCLE Classic. The former is one of the most prestigious women’s road races in the UK, famous for its off-road sectors and Belgian roadside atmosphere. The latter, meanwhile, holds notoriety not only because it was a cracking event but also because it was the last National A road race held in the UK. All that will change, however, this Sunday, when the Women’s CiCLE Classic returns.
    Unfortunately, things have not been plain sailing for Emily in-between times. She was dropped from the Olympic squad towards the end of 2019. Determined to continue racing, however, she joined the Belgian Isorex-NoAqua squad the following season to pursue a road racing career instead. But almost before she had started, the pandemic hit, and racing was put on hold. And after some tricky deliberations, Emily decided to retire. 
    With the Women’s CiCLE Classic due to return, we were lucky enough to speak with the race’s reigning champion before a new one is anointed.
    Emily speaks about what it was like to miss out on her Olympic dreams, why she decided to hang up her wheels, what it takes to win the CiCLE Classic, what she did with her giant pork pie, and her sister Josie’s great start to her road racing career in Belgium.
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    • 26 min
    2021 Baby Giro Diaries | Stage 10

    2021 Baby Giro Diaries | Stage 10

    Stage 10 from San Vito al Tagliamento to Castelfranco Veneto was the last stage of this year’s edition of the U23 Giro and it ended on a high for British team Trinity Racing, to cap off an excellent race all round for the development set-up. 
    As we predicted, the flat-ish parcours didn’t result in any real changes to the GC, but it didn’t give the sprinters their day either. We said it might be a day for the break, even going so far as to tip Trinity Racing’s Ben Turner. But instead it was Trinity’s other Ben – Healy – who took the spoils. And well-deserved they were too. 
    The opening half of the stage was marked by numerous attacks and escape attempts, with riders desperate to grasp a final opportunity for a stage win. It wasn’t until around the half way point, however, that a meaningful break formed. It contained just three riders: Jacopo Menegotto of the General Store team, Harrison Wood’s SEG Racing teammate Daan Hoole and the Irish road race champion Ben Healy. 
    A strong group then, and one that quickly carved out a good advantage over the peloton. Just eight kilometres from the finish, the three leaders still had a three minute advantage and it was clear by then that one of them would take stage honours. Healy attacked three kilometres out and kept his lead over Menegotto and Hoole right to the end. He becomes the first ever Irish stage winner at the Baby Giro, a neat landmark to add to his record of being the youngest ever stage winner at the Tour de l’Avenir. He was aggressive all race and the win was no more than he deserved.
    The peloton came in 54 seconds behind, containing all of the main GC riders. It means that the prodigious Juan Ayuso wins the Baby Giro in just his first year as as under-23. He seems destined to be one of the WorldTour’s next bright young things. Alongside him on the podium are Tobias Halland Johannessen and Henri Vandenabeele. 
    It means 4th overall for our diarist Tom Gloag. With Ayuso taking all the acclaim, it’s perhaps easy to overlook what a fantastic performance that is for a rider who is still only in his second year as an under-23. And as he told us when we interviewed him for this podcast, it’s not that long ago that he really started taking racing that seriously. If WorldTour teams hadn’t already had their heads turned by him, it surely won’t be long before suitors begin knocking on his metaphorical door.
    Elsewhere on the GC, Healy moves up to 12th, a fine result in itself. And our other diarist Harrison Wood – a relative late starter when it comes to racing – can take a lot of confidence after a resilient performance to finish in 19th overall. We’re certain there is a lot more to come from him in future years. 
    We should also give shoutouts to the other Brits in the race. Ben Turner animated the race, especially in the early stages, even taking the race lead for a day. The cyclocross talent has had an outstanding start to his road season and it’s surely just a matter of time before he picks up his first UCI road race win. And whilst Ollie Rees may not have made headlines with his result, we know that he put in a lot of solid teamwork to support Tom and the Bens in the race, a role which is oft-overlooked but absolutely vital nonetheless.

    We want to say a huge thank you to both Tom and Harrison. It was a last-minute decision to do this daily diary show, yet both of them embraced my request to send in dispatches. We are hugely grateful to them both for taking the time to record their thoughts and help to illuminate one of the most under-reported yet potentially career-changing races around. 
    In his final dispatch, Tom is also joined by Ben Healy in a fantastically entertaining entry. While Harrison sends his in relaxed mood from Venice. What more could you want…
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    • 17 min
    2021 Baby Giro Diaries | Stage 9

    2021 Baby Giro Diaries | Stage 9

    Stage 9. The last mountain stage, the penultimate stage of the race., and with only a flat final stage to come, this was the last opportunity for the GC riders to get one up on their nearest rivals, the last chance for the mountain goats to earn a potentially career-changing stage win.
    There were no killer gradients, no monstrous extreme altitude climbs. But with climbing from the start, three category one climbs, a category three climb, and over 3000 metres of vertical gain, this was no easy stage either. The stage finished with two ascents of the Nevegal climb, and it was on these slopes that the decisive action occurred. 
    The early stages of the race were more about whittling down the bunch than establishing breakaways and after about 80 kilometres, only around 45 riders were left in the peloton. As they passed through the town of Belluno there was a fright for the Maglia Rosa Juan Ayuso and our diarist Tom Gloag, who both fell on the cobblestone streets. But they recovered quickly and rejoined the reduced bunch well before the major action began. 

    On the first pass on the Nevegal, Trinity Racing drove things, whittling the bunch down yet further and as they crested the summit there were just twenty riders left in the group. Development Team DSM then took up the pace until, in the last 6 kilometres, there were unsuccessful attacks from our diarist Tom Gloag, Asbjorn Hellemose and then Anders Johannessen. It was Yannis Voisard from the Swiss Racing Academy who then seized the moment and his attack stuck, earning him his first ever UCI race win. 
    Behind him, Ayuso led in a fractured lead group, with the other Johannessen, Tobias Halland, on his wheel. Tom Gloag crossed the line in sixth just a few seconds later. 
    Our other diarist Harrison was the next best Brit in 21st, a minute and 25 seconds behind the stage winner. Ben Healy, who did a lot of work for Tom during the stage, finished 25th.
    On GC, Tom remains 4th and looks likely to stay there, barring disaster or a superlative final stage ambush. His teammate Ben Healy, one of the most aggressive riders in this year’s race, now lies 15th, while Harrison has made it into the top 20, sitting 19th overall.

    The final stage from San Vito al Tagliamento to Castelfranco Veneto feels a little anti-climatic given its relatively flat nature. It’s unlikely to result in any major GC changes. But with tired legs and a few hills in the middle of the stage, a bunch sprint isn’t a foregone conclusion either. So this could be one for the break, perhaps even Ben Turner, who has continued to look incredibly strong. Let’s see…
    We have the pleasure of dispatches from both Harrison and Tom once again in our diary segment. It was an eventful stage for them both. Harrison was on the attack, crashed hard and yet was still at the pointy end of the race right until the final slopes. Tom sounds tired, and understandably so, after throwing the kitchen sink at his GC rivals. Like Harrison, he crashed too, although says he came off pretty lightly. 
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    • 14 min
    2021 Baby Giro Diaries | Stage 8

    2021 Baby Giro Diaries | Stage 8

    Stage 8 already; where has the time gone? Just two stages left to go now and then it will time for some well-earned rest. The riders might need a lie down too.
    Anyway, with that terrible joke out of the way, let’s get stuck into the stage round-up. Stage 8 from Aprica to Andalo was another mountain stage, featuring 2300 metres of climbing. A good chunk of that climbing began immediately, with the riders tackling the first category Passo del Tonale almost from kilometre zero. It was on these early slopes that a large group of no less than 36 riders made their escape over the Maglia Rosa group. The two Bens – Healy and Turner – were in there, as was our diarist Harrison Wood, making good on his objective to get in the breaks. 
    Before the break reached the final 15-kilometre climb to Andalo, Ben Healy escaped from that lead group with the Swiss Racing Academy rider Andréa Mifsud. Healy soon dropped Mifsud, stretching out a lead of over a minute on the chasers. On the final climb, Healy was joined by Riccardo Ciuccarelli, Harrison’s teammate Marco Frigo, Didier Merchan and Yannis Voisard. The Irishman eventually lost contact, however, as Ciuccarelli went on to take an impressive solo win. Behind, there was once again nothing to separate the main GC men, with Ayuso, Vandenabeele,  Johannessen and our diarist Tom all finishing a minute and 37 seconds back. Fellow diarist Harrison was also in that group – a great day out for him – while Ben Turner was just 6 seconds further back. Impressive. Healy faded to 41st, but hats off to him for such an aggressive display. 
    On GC, Tom stays 4th, Healy drops to 13th and Harrison is up to 21st.

    Stage 9 – the penultimate stage – will be another mountainous day for the riders. With the final stage a fairly flat affair, this is probably the last opportunity for the GC hopefuls to gain time on their rivals. The last chance for Tom to leap up to the podium. 
    There are no killer climbs as such but like stage eight the opening kilometres are uphill to the category one Passo Valles. Then after a long descent, there is a category 3 climb before the riders tackle the final climb of Nevegal twice. No easy day out, especially with eight days of frenetic racing in the riders’ legs.
    In our diaries, we hear first from Harrison who talks about his day in the break and finishing with the top GC guys. Tom’s back again too. He shares his recollections from stages 7 and 8 and ponders whether he can make up the seconds he needs to make it on the podium.
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    • 10 min
    2021 Baby Giro Diaries | Stage 7

    2021 Baby Giro Diaries | Stage 7

    Welcome to the latest episode of our Baby Giro Diaries! We're getting to the business end of the race now and stage 7 was one that appears to have been a decisive one in setting the GC pecking order for the remaining three stages.

    Taking the riders from Sondrio to Lago di Campo Moro, it was a short one at 120 kilometres, But it was also brutal, featuring over 3000 metres of ascent. For hors d'oeuvres, it served up 2 category 2 climbs but without a doubt, the main course was the challenging 28.8-kilometre climb to Lanzada | Lago di Campo Moro. 

    It was another stage where the break took a long time to form, with five riders eventually getting away. They reached the foothills of the final climb but by the time they had reached the steepest ramps, they had been caught and overtaken by a new front group of five made up of the Maglia Rosia Juan Ayuso,  Colombia's Jesus Peña and the riders lying 2nd, 3rd and 4th on GC: Tobias Halland Johannessen, Henri Vandenabeele and our diarist Tom Gloag. The imperious Ayuso forced the rhythm, gradually, detaching all but Jesus Peña, who he then dropped with a stinging acceleration, propelling him to his third stage victory of the race.

    Peña finished in second, 52 seconds back, while Vandenabeele, Tom and Johannessen finished in that order a further 22 seconds behind.  Ben Healy was 20th, nearly five minutes back, while Harrison was 28th, almost six minutes down.

    On GC, Tom remains 4th overall, just five seconds from a podium spot. Healy drops to 9th, and Harrison is up to 23rd. 

    Stage 8 from Aprica to Andalo is another short one at 116 kilometres. It's not as fearsome as the one we've just had but has enough climbing to allow more GC action, especially coming on the back of such a tough stage. It will certainly be a tough start, with the opening 30 kilometres all uphill. The stage is then mainly downhill until the final 15 kilometre climb to Andalo. Our preview writer Jospeh Doherty says it’s a little harder than the average grade of 5% suggests thanks to some false flat kilometres that allow riders to recover before the final few clicks to the line.

    In our diary section, we hear from Harrison, who had another good day, making more gains on GC. He talks about how his day went and discusses how he'll approach the remaining stages and the balance between riding for GC and looking to make it into the breaks. No entries as we speak from an understandably tired Tom and the continually hectic Callum, but if that changes we will of course stitch their entries into this episode as soon as we can. 
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    • 7 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
20 Ratings

20 Ratings

DJHares ,

A great podcast on domestic cycling

Denny does a great job of keeping us updated on the latest riders. Fab podcast, highly recommended!

FootyFan84 ,

Fabulous stuff.

There are lots of cycling podcasts out there but very few relate to British domestic riding and racing so this is much needed (and excellent to boot!).

Ath3na07 ,

Like it!

Loved the long interview with Jake Scott. Its really nice to listen to some coverage of the domestic scene, subscribed and look forward to more episodes. Keep up the good work!

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