Endura will head into its next stint of continental racing with re-newed confidence, after successfully making it through the Tour of the Mediterranean, Haut Var and the Tour of Murcia.
"We're in good spirits," explained Endura's directeur sportif, Garry Beckett. "The team benefited greatly from those races although not everyone got a chance to ride. All in all it was a positive experience considering the shocking weather".
Next on the agenda - after the first Premier Calendars of the year, the Tour of the Reservoir and the Tour Doon Hame (formerly the Girvan) - will be the Tro Bro Léon and the Tour du Finistère one-day races in France.
Beckett was particularly impressed with his young charge, Jack Bauer, the recently crowned Kiwi road race champion.
"I was very impressed with Bauer," Beckett enthused. "He was only 20 seconds down on Lance Armstrong in the time trial at the Tour of Murcia and it was his first time on the time trial bike. He's a very good time triallist and not too shoddy on the climbs either".
Ross Creber and James Moss also impressed; "particularly Moss because he took a nasty fall in the Med and lost a lot of skin," Beckett explained.
Having battled their way through their first continental racing stint, Endura will have more confidence when they return.
"Without doubt we have more confidence now," Beckett said. "It's a brand new team and when we were out there, there were still a lot of things that needed putting in place. We earned a lot of respect and had the option to ride two races in France the week before Tro Bro Leon but it wasn't possible logistically".
Respect for the team was not universal, however. Beckett almost came to blows in Murcia with a Dutch directeur sportif after the Dutchman took exception to the team, cut the Endura team car up on a narrow mountain pass and recruited other teams to try and rob Alexandre Blain of his points jersey. Endura held firm, however, and the jersey was safe.
Beckett was also keen to stress that despite their continental foray, the team will not necessarily dominate in the UK.
"The trick is keeping the benefit of that racing for the next period of racing but we're not thinking we can dominate. There are some very good teams out there especially Rapha and even Sigma. Racing in Britain really is on the up and it will be a very hard season. But that's good".
Upcoming race programme:
Tour of the Reservoir (Premier Calendar - UK) - March 28
Good Friday track meet - Herne Hill, UK, with Rob Hayles and Alexandre Blain - April 2
Tour Doon Hame (Premier Calendar - UK) - April 3-5
Tour du Finistère - France - April 17
Tro Bro Léon - France - April 18
Photo special: Endura's south of France cafe run
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