Crashes and missed opportunities but all smiles - Saint Piran at the Tour of Britain's Cornish start

The continental team celebrated riding Britain's premier race on home roads, despite luck not going their way

Saint Piran at the 2021 Tour of Britain
(Image credit: Getty Images)

As far as the race was concerned, Cornish team Saint Piran probably couldn’t have had a much worse day at the opening stage of the Tour of Britain being held in the team’s home county.

“I tried to get in the early breakaway but I missed that. Then I crashed with five kilometers to go so there’s been no result,” said Cornish rider and the team’s most experienced member Steve Lampier. 

But you wouldn’t know it looking at the 37-year-old’s face. He still had a broad smile as in the next breath he added: “What an absolutely amazing day to be part of for a Cornish rider on a Cornish team on the Cornish stage of the Tour of Britain. The shouts of the people out there have been unreal… I want to thank all those people.”

It’s been a steady climb for the black-jersey’d squad which has only stepped up to UCI continental level this year having raced as an elite British squad since its inception in 2018. 

Team manager Ricahrd Pascoe was visibly emotional at the end of the day recalling the reception the team had received and the flags with the squad’s black and white branding he’d seen out on the road. He was quick to thank race organiser Sweetspot and the local authorities that brought the race to his back door.

He said: “Today, was just a testament to the hard work of people that brought it here and their vision. Everyone seemed to enjoy it, it had that carnival atmosphere in town after town after town.”

Many team managers would be furious that their riders hadn’t made a break on such a key day and gotten hours of television time for their sponsors. However, Saint Piran is funded in part by crowdfunding and so isn’t as reliant on commercial sponsorship, which is perhaps why Pascoe seemed keen to give his charges the benefit of the doubt. 

“Steve [Lampier] went with every three moves that mattered in the first part of the race, they got dragged back and the one that went over the top was the one that stayed away [most of the stage],” Pascoe said. "It looked brutal out there for those lads.” 

He added that one of the team’s central aims has been to get to continental level and race at the Tour of Britain. However, having achieved that he clearly felt motivated to continue to grow and improve.

He said: “I wanted to say this was the end of the journey because I planned to get it to this level but everybody wants it now to be the start of a journey now. So we'll look at that. We can’t do it without the support of the people, we're the only team who have no advertising on our jersey we just represent the region, or Great Britain when we go abroad.”

Pascoe knows full well they’ll have to improve in the races to go further but on this one sunny Sunday in Cornwall the result was, perhaps rightly, taking a back seat to the experience.

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Vern Pitt

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.