Can Ribble-Weldtite humble WorldTour squads in Tour of Britain team time trial?

British continental outfit has been working hard to optimise set-up for the key Tour of Britain stage

Ribble-Weldtite at the 2021 Tour of Britain
Ribble-Weldtite at the 2021 Tour of Britain
(Image credit: Getty)

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.”

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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.