Features Interviews Podcast

Damien Clayton: a one-track mind

An in-depth interview with Canyon dhb SunGod's, one of the most obsessively driven riders we've met

Featured photo: Craig Zadoroznyj. Damien Clayton wins the 2019 Bourne CiCLE Classic

Our latest episode is with Canyon dhb SunGod’s new recruit Damien Clayton. 

About a year ago, we published the first instalment of a three-part interview with Damien on our website. The interview traced his remarkable transformation from an architect who barely rode a bike to a UCI race winner.

Back in the summer of 2016, Damien’s love affair with the bike began. At that stage he’d  barely ridden more than 10 miles in one go on a bicycle, but a company bike ride from London to Brighton suddenly ignited his interest. He may have done it in gym shorts and on a single-speed bike with next to no experience, but he still found himself first to the top of all the hills, including Ditchling Beacon, the highest point on the South Downs. Afterwards, he bought himself a ‘proper’ road bike and then found himself falling headlong into a love affair with the bicycle.

Just three years later in 2019,  not only had he signed his first contract with a Continental team, Ribble Pro Cycling, he’d also won his first UCI road race, the Grand Prix des Marbriers. After that he won his first National A road race, the Bourne CiCLE Classic, and grabbed some eye-catching results in pro kermesses in Belgium, regularly mixing it with – and finishing ahead of – World Tour riders.

It’s was an astonishing transformation, one we documented fully in our three-part interview. If you haven’t read it yet, we wholeheartedly recommend you do so. 

Photo: VeloSkin

A few things stood out to us in that interview.

  • Damien is an exceptionally driven individual. He’s obsessive about his approach to training, nutrition and recovery. Something we wanted to find out more about.
  • He still has bags of potential. He may be 28, relatively old in cycling terms, but nonetheless, new to the sport, he still has plenty to learn and plenty to improve on.
  • He has a special relationship with his coach Rory Townsend, a rider he greatly admires and relies on for support and encouragement.

With a contract newly signed to ride with Rory’s team Canyon dhb SunGod in 2021, we were keen to speak to Damien again to find out more about what makes him tick, how far he thinks he can go in cycling and why he’d decided to switch teams. 

Note that the interview was recorded just before Damien found out he’d been selected to race in the Zwift Academy finals. The finals take place on the 19th December and the winner will be offered a contract with Mathieu Van der Poel’s Aplecin-Fenix team. So at the time this was published, it wasn’t completely clear which team Damien will end up riding for.

We’re really pleased to announce a new sponsor, VeloSkin. For those that don’t know, Veloskin makes an excellent range of specialist skincare products for cyclists. Their chamois cream, soothing gel, shave cream and post-shave lotion are all made using natural products and are designed for and tested by cyclists. This season they have sponsored Damien’s Ribble Weldtite team and next year they will also be supporting Canyon dhb. We’ve used the products ourselves and can vouch for them. They work brilliantly.  
We’ve teamed up with them to offer you 10% off all orders made through their website. All you need to do is head to veloskin.cc and use the code TBC-10, which will give you a 10% discount on your first and future orders. And better still every order made using the code will support The British Continental too.

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Show sponsored by Continental Tyres.