Ribble Pro Cycling
How have the preparations been going for the new season?
Well! We have had everything in place for a while so that takes a bit of the pressure off. It’s just the final nice things we are waiting for now – new Le Col clothing, bikes, race wheels, etc. We had a full team meeting in December which was a really good opportunity for all the riders and staff to meet properly, outline plans and sponsors that sort of thing. From then a lot of our riders are doing independent training camps to break up the British winter before the team’s full camp in late February.
You’ve stepped up to Continental level for 2019. What was the thinking behind that move?
We have strong backing and it seemed a logical progression for us, we’ve progressed sustainably year on year.
Will the step up mean a different a race programme for 2019? Can we expect to see the team racing abroad more often for example?
Possibly. As a non-UCI team last year, we did 18-20 foreign race days so I expect it to be just a bit more than that. Our key territory is still the UK and we need to shape our season around the Tour of Britain selection criteria [yet to be announced for 2019] before looking to supplement that with good quality UCI race days.
I know these things are works in progress, but beyond the domestic races, do you have any races confirmed as yet?
A couple. We will start at the GP de la Ville de Lillers in March. We’ve got 10 foreign UCI race days confirmed so far, but we expect that to be around 20-25 in total once our full programme is confirmed.
And at home, what about the Tour de Yorkshire and Tour of Britain? What do you think your chances are of getting places in those?
Reasonable, otherwise we wouldn’t be pursuing it.
And what do you make of the new-look domestic racing calendar this season?
It’s certainly developing, I think Jonathan Rigby and British Cycling have done a great job re-developing the British scene. It’s not going to happen overnight but it’s firmly now heading in a better direction.
You have a large squad. What was behind the thinking to go up to the maximum limit of 16 riders for continental teams?
We have some specialists on the track that will start the season later and then also some contingency for injuries, etc. Also, 75% of our riders work in some capacity so it’s about managing them, their time and not putting too much pressure on with travel and off-bike stresses. As we mentioned we will also continue to support the UK domestic scene outside of the national series programs.
How will you go about trying to ensure everyone has a solid race programme?
Same as we always have, start with the key programme of UK events and look to fill gaps and supplement that racing with UCI races or Pro Kermesses.
You’ve made some notable signings, including Mark Stewart, Scott Auld and the return of Jacob Tipper. What do you think they will add to the squad?
Depth. All three have different experiences they can bring in and will hopefully make us a bit more well rounded across all competitions.
Our budget is realistically probably about 25% of Madison … but I think we will still surprise a few people
How competitive do you think you’ll be able to be against the bigger British Continental teams?
It doesn’t matter too much, we are just focused on doing the best we can do. If you’re being analytical our budget is realistically probably about 25% of Madison, for example, so based on that they should be more competitive than us. But I think we will still surprise a few people.
You’re competing in the Zwift KISS Super League. What’s your approach to that?
Try to win! Again just aim to be competitive and have a bit of fun in the process. eSports is the next big thing regardless of your opinion on it.
Finally, what would a successful season for Ribble Pro Cycling look like?
Tour de Yorkshire and Tour of Britain selection. Consistent performances at the top level in the UK and plenty of wins along the way, whilst staying true to our the approach we’ve always had: a good group of lads not taking things too seriously and having fun racing bikes.