Colin Sturgess, the former head sports director at the Ribble-Weldtite team, is to join WiV SunGod for 2023, just weeks after learning that his former team would be no more come the end of the most recent season.
The highly respected Sturgess brings a raft of experience to the Hampshire-based UCI Continental team, who will also see AT85 join them as a title sponsor in 2023.
AT85 are part of Astatine Investment Partners, investing in and managing transportation, digital and utility related infrastructure in North America and Europe.
Speaking to Cycling Weekly, the popular former professional and individual pursuit world champion explained that once he had initial conversations with team founder Tim Elverson about joining WiV SunGod, the decision was a “no brainer” on his part.
“Tim’s setup has got longevity, you know it's gone through different guises over the years, but it's got longevity. Let’s face it, Canyon, WiV SunGod, Bike Channel, whatever you want to call it you know, has always been in my mind the number one Great Britain Continental team,” Sturgess said.
“You only have to look at the Tour of Britain this year, they had jerseys left right and centre and they’ve dominated the scene this year.”
“Tim and I were talking and were on the same page for what we wanted to do in 2023, then hopefully into 2024 looking to move up to Pro Continental. That for me was an absolute no brainer,” Sturgess added. “Once Tim and I met, sat down and did a little bit of number crunching, then it was just like ‘yeah, let me sign right now.”
One of team founder Elverson’s main goals is for the team to achieve Pro Continental level in 2024. Something which Sturgess believes is very much achievable, if the team manages to continue its progression in the year ahead.
“The projection is that we consolidate on 21, 22 with 23 being hopefully that next step up again,” Sturgess explained. “Especially with our budget, backing and infrastructure around us, then we’ve got Anders, myself and Tim as a good pool of DS’s there ready for the jump into Pro Continental.
“We’re looking to get into a different couple of .pro races other than just the Tour of Britain this year. Because obviously, we need to blood the guys at that level and show race organisers that we are able to hold our own at that level.”
WIV SUNGOD AIM FOR PRO CONTINENTAL LEVEL
WiV SunGod had a sensational 2022 season which saw them pick up stacks of wins through the likes of Matt Bostock, Jacob and Rob Scott, as well as wearing the leaders jersey at the Tour of Britain through Ben Perry.
Only Rob Scott remains with the team for the coming year, but Sturgess explains that seeing riders progress from his new team will continue to make them an attractive proposition in the years to come.
“It doesn’t matter what team you’re with, there’s always a reset. From a continental teams perspective, there is that expectation that we put riders up into the next categories. That’s good for us, because then people want to come in and race for us knowing that there’s always a chance,” Sturgess said.
Speaking to Cycling Weekly, Elverson explained that he anticipates bringing Sturgess into the fold at WiV SunGod will see the former Ribble-Weldtite DS become a real asset to his new team.
“It’s something I’ve been talking to Colin about for a while. When we hopefully go pro I will need to have more DS’s, and it’s a conversation I’d already had with Colin,” Elverson said. “It started to shape up that it was going to be something we could make happen for 2023, and so we were keen to do it.”
“I’ve gone against Colin across the years in various guises of his DS’ing. He’s got certain attributes that I really like. He brings more experience into the environment that we’re going to have, and I think all of his strengths will become bigger strengths with us, and he’ll become a real asset to the riders and myself,” he added.
MINDSET OF A WINNER
Looking ahead to the coming months, Elverson explained to Cycling Weekly that he sees no reason why his team can’t continue their phenomenal success, and that bringing Sturgess on board will help them meet their long term goals.
“I do believe we can be as good as we were, it was a great season, but there’s no reason why we can’t continue that level of success. I’d like to win a .1 race in Europe this year. We’re lucky enough to get invites to some of the races that feel like proper classics which multiple WorldTour teams are at,” he said.
“I think we’re capable, and we’ve got riders that can win them. I think we ride in a way which gives us the opportunity to take our chance. I believe we are competitive at that level, and I think we’ll continue to be competitive at that level. I’ve got race winners amongst my guys, so we’ll take our chances next season,” Elverson added.
Elverson’s philosophy was echoed by Sturgess who explained that he “gets a kick” out of being part of a team that goes up against WorldTour outfits and holds their own, something which he sees Wiv SunGod continuing to do next year.
“I’m looking forward to being part of a conti team, and going up against some of these big dudes, and holding our own. I really get a kick out of that you know. I’m still very competitive in nature, and my mindset is that of a winner,” Sturgess said.
“I still want to win races. I can’t do that physically anymore, but I can hopefully help others do that. It’s the overseas races that really challenge me. Racing in Belgium and Holland was my bread and butter and I absolutely love the whole culture in bike racing over there. That’s for sure what I’m looking forward to this year,” he added.
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