Promotional feature with Ribble Cycles
2020 has been one of the most challenging years facing the sport, so how has one team, working on a tight budget with a bunch of British riders who mostly work or study, come out of the last six months with motivation in abundance?
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“We like to try and do things a little bit differently,” said the Ribble Weldtite head of sport Jack Rees. “They love riding their bikes anyway, but the guys have been out discovering routes and doing some big gravel rides, and we’ve been using Zwift events and Strava segments as some extra motivation.”
Having started their season with a last minute call up to the inaugural Saudi Tour where they mixed it with the WorldTour teams, Rees and his riders quickly re-assessed their options when racing stopped. “We took the time to solidify what our riders are good at, with a lot of time devoted to getting things we can control right,” he said.
“Our internal ‘project speed’ has seen all our TT specialists working hard at aero testing as soon as the local outdoor track opened, and our road specialists have been getting in the miles in case racing returns. We wanted to replicate the training volume this year so no one would be impacted physically, and also make sure riders would be ready to transition in to race fitness if and when the time came. At the same time we’ve also made sure to keep things interesting.”
Key to motivation was riders setting themselves a mad challenge every 10 days or so. It gave them something to focus on, like a race would have done in a normal season.
“We’ve got a really active Facebook group where someone would come up with an idea.” The mad challenges included a 200km ride on Zwift, a big point-to-point ride and discovering more gravel and off-road routes. Jacob Tipper even considered doing a triathlon before he discovered he couldn’t run without injuring himself.
With a fan base looking for inspiration and ideas, Ribble were able to capture the imagination of many with their approach, something they found quite refreshing. “Rather than just focus on the next big race we were able to spend a bit more time planning and have a bit more fun with these other challenges.” Rees said. “We weren’t forcing anyone to do it, they were just enjoying themselves riding their bikes.”
The approach has reinforced a fledgling plan to run an alternative calendar like the EF Education First team, albeit on a smaller scale, with the Dirty Reaver and mountain bike national champs already on the 2021 planner.
So while some companies might be rethinking their involvement in the sport, all Ribble Weldtite’s partners are committed long term. “The team are great to work with and their value stretches way beyond their ability win races across multiple disciplines,” said Andy Smallwood of Ribble. “The engagement we get through the creative content from their exploits, personalities and experiences as Pro athletes and riders is just as important. They are brand ambassadors and test pilots putting our product through its paces and providing valuable R&D feedback and insight.”
But there are still results to be chased. Expect John Archibald and Dan Bigham to be near, if not at, the top of the podium for the national 10 and 25 this year.
Then there’s 2021 and the plan to continue the team’s growth and earn selection for the Tour of Britain. “We want to provide a platform that gets the best out of our riders,” Rees says. “We’ve got a core group that we’ve built up over time and we’ll remain committed to help them develop to their maximum potential.”
WIN with Ribble Weldtite
Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling and supporting partners – Ribble Cycles, Weldtite, Huub, VeloSkin and ONE PRO Nutrition, have come together to give one lucky winner the chance to get kitted out with a full team rider bundle worth over £7,500.
This incredible prize bundle includes:
Pro Team edition Ribble Endurance SL R Disc (worth £5,499),
Bundle of Weldtite bike maintenance products (worth £975),
Team jersey and bib shorts from Huub (worth £185),
Range of specialist skincare products from VeloSkin (worth £195),
Selection of ONE PRO Nutrition goods (worth £500).
A Pair of SunGod Volkans™ sunglasses (worth £150),
Abus AirBreaker road helmet (worth £195).
Terms & Conditions:
See competition page for more details. https://www.ribblecycles.co.uk/competition/
The competition closes at 23:59 hrs on 31/08/20. Entries received after this deadline will be exempt from the giveaway. Ribble Cycles will contact the competition winner. The competition winner must respond within 72 hours otherwise another winner will be selected. There is no cash substitute or return value for any of the prizes offered. Ribble Cycles will contact the winner for details of sizing requirements and a preferred shipping address. Prizes will be received inline with available stock dates.