British continental level outfit Ribble-Weldtite are confident they can get themselves on the podium ahead of WorldTour level opposition in the Tour of Britain’s team time trial on stage three.
The team backed by the British bike brand even think it might be possible to win the stage, despite their budget being a fraction of the the biggest teams in the race such as Ineos Grenadiers, Jumbo-Visma and Israel Start Up Nation.
Team sports director Colin Sturgess said the squad had been aiming to make an impression on the 18km stage since it was announced as part of the route and had already recced the route.
“With the riders we have in the team, Dan [Bigham], Simon Wilson being national champions at the discipline, we've focused on it,” he said. “I personally will be happy with a podium, Dan thinks if everything goes to plan we could win it, which is a big call. I’m quietly confident.”
Bigham has been key to the team’s target. The aerodynamicist was instrumental in the Huub-Wattbike track team’s success and more recently has been advising the Danish team pursuit squad that won Olympic silver in Tokyo.
Bigham added: “I don’t see why we can’t win. We’ve got the firepower and the aero ticked off, that’s all it is. It’d still be a shock even to me but stranger things have happened. I’d be happy with podium.”
However, he pointed out that the squads that the big teams had brought had been geared towards the team time trial in appreciation of the fact that the stage will likely be decisive for the overall race.
Former time trial World Champions Rohan Dennis and Tony Martin were selected by Ineos and Jumbo respectively. And Israel Start Up Nation have British champion time triallist Alex Dowsett in their ranks.
Also counting against the British outfit is that four riders from the team suffered crashes on the first day of racing and one other has been struggling with stomach issues which could dent their chances.
But they are well prepared. “Dan has crunched the numbers,” said Sturgess. “There are spreadsheets on spreadsheets, and sub-spreadsheets… He’s got the positioning of the riders in the line-up and who needs to be doing what, where and for how long.”
Bigham added: “One kilo on all the bikes is worth two seconds over the course. One watt average collectively is worth one second across the course. The finish is pretty chewy, it's a three minute full gas berg where you’ve got to ride 500 watts or more.”
A good ride is likely to last 20 minutes, but if they’re able to pull off a win the memories will last a lifetime.
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Having trained as a journalist at Cardiff University I spent eight years working as a business journalist covering everything from social care, to construction to the legal profession and riding my bike at the weekends and evenings. When a friend told me Cycling Weekly was looking for a news editor, I didn't give myself much chance of landing the role, but I did and joined the publication in 2016. Since then I've covered Tours de France, world championships, hour records, spring classics and races in the middle east. On top of that, since becoming features editor in 2017 I've also been lucky enough to get myself sent to ride my bike for magazine pieces in Portugal and across the UK. They've all been fun but I have an enduring passion for covering the national track championships. It might not be the most glamorous but it's got a real community feeling to it.
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