Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Star of the Future: Calum Anderton – The GHS ’10’ Winner’s Move to Belgium


HomeInterviewsStar of the Future: Calum Anderton - The GHS '10' Winner's Move...

The GHS ‘10’ – as in George Herbert Stancer (OBE, 1878 – 1962), racer, journalist, cycling administrator and the man who lends his name to the British juvenile ten mile championship.

Stancer was a champion of the race against the watch and the event was first organised to honour his memory and encourage youngsters to ride in time trials.

On many occasions the winner has gone on to win the Junior BBAR and then…

But not the 2013 winner, Calum Anderton; he’s packed his black alpaca in the cupboard, left his book of time trial secret course codes on the shelf and headed for Belgium.

It was that champion for British riders heading for the Flat Lands, Nico Sport and Kingsnorth’s Mr. Peter Murphy who suggested we speak to young Mr. Anderton – here’s what he had to say to VeloVeritas.

Calum Anderton
Calum has been racing with the Kingsnorth International Wheelers in Belgium.

The GHS ’10’ was a big goal for you Calum – how did you prepare for it and what was your time?

“I had done some specific TT training combined with some threshold hill efforts leading up to the final.

“A week before the GHS I rode a club 10, treating it just like the GHS – same kit, same bike, race wheels and a full warm-up.

“The final wasn’t my fastest time, I had previously ridden a 20:51 during 2013, but at the GHS I did a 22:29.

“The course had a large climb with a couple of dead turns, but overall, I was fastest on the day, and that’s what counts.”

Calum Anderton
Like many other good riders, Calum has topped the GHS ’10’ TT podium.

GHS apart what are your other best results?

“I had a good ride at the International Youth Tour of the North West last year, going into the final stage I was 20 seconds down on the GC.

“I gave it everything in heavy rain and rode away from the group, finishing 19 seconds ahead.

“Not enough to win the GC, finishing second by a single second.

“During my last season racing cyclocross I helped win the National Inter-Area Championships for the London Cyclocross Association, that stands out as one of my more memorable wins, and the first time I made it to a national podium.”

How did you get into cycling?

“I started riding with my Granddad when I was much younger, firstly on a tag-along before I got my first bike.

“I joined my local club, VC Deal when I was 12. The coach, Richard Wood focused primarily on Mountain Biking, and that was what I started racing.

“At the age of 14 I won the South East of England XC Series. The same year I rode my first time trial, which happened to be the qualification ride for the GHS.

“That was the last year I raced a Mountain Bike seriously.”

Calum Anderton
Calum embraces the Belgian weather conditions.

Who are your role models?

“I want to be a strong rider and be able to win a race alone, just like Cancellara. Watching the way he can tear apart a classics race is exactly what I want to be like.

“I’m not the sort of rider to sit on a wheel; I like to attack and grab the race by the horns. I’m a big Boonen fan too, again, another rider who can split a field.”

What got you into Belgium rather than anywhere else?

“Belgium has the best bike races in the world.

“I was advised to start racing there by John Barclay and Pete Murphy.

“I knew that to make the step up in my racing career I needed to go where the best racers were.”

But what about that Belgian weather?

“I love it! I live on the SE coast of England, so the weather isn’t really different from what I’m used to.

“I like to go out and train in the rain and wind, I’m not really a fan of the turbo trainer; I would rather be outside.

“My coach always says ‘If you train in it, you can race in it’.”

Calum Anderton
Next major target for Calum is the junior Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.

Tell us about your ride in the West Flanders stage race, last year.

“After finishing second in a stage race in the UK, I knew my legs were able to cope with the West Flanders Youth Tour.

“Stage 1 resulted in a bunch sprint, I spent most of the race in the bunch as I knew I had teammates trying to form a break, and I didn’t want to disrupt that.

“Stage 2 was a TTT. I had a good team, but it was agreed that I should do the biggest turn as I was probably the strongest TT man on the team.

“We finished quite well, but could have probably ridden stronger, but we had never ridden together before, so we took what we could.

“I had a good ride in stage 3 – I rode away from the peloton to try and catch the break and ended up in a two man chase with Adrian Costa, the USA National Champion. We couldn’t quite catch the break but I finished fifth on that stage, which moved me into the top 10 in the GC. By the final stage I was sitting 10th overall.

“I was going really well and my legs felt good but with three laps to go I punctured. After a wheel change I had to fight to get back into the group and hold onto my GC position.

“I managed to get back in and moved up the GC into ninth. It was a great race, and one which I would call my favourite race of all time. So far!”

What’s the biggest difference between UK and Belgian racing?

“Where do I start?  The racing in Belgium is rumoured to be the best in the world.

“I can’t see anything being any better. The crowds, the atmosphere, it all adds to a fantastic spectacle.

“Racing in the UK is mainly done on closed circuits but I love racing on the road, for me that’s the biggest difference.”

Do you like riding on the Belgian cobbles?

“I’ve not really had a great deal of experience with cobbles, but riding on the roads in England is probably worse!”

Are you going to spend some time in Belgium in 2014?

“Certainly – In fact I’ve been over in Belgium this week.

“I go out there for regular testing with Energy Lab in Beringen. My race programme is probably a 50/50 split between races in the UK and in Belgium.”

Calum Anderton
Calum enjoys some great off-the-bike support.

You have the junior Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne on your programme, is that with a UK or Belgian team?

“I’m racing Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne for John Barclay’s SE England Cycling Team, the same team I rode the West Flanders Tour for.”

Has British Cycling expressed any interest in you joining one of their programmes?

“British Cycling has a fantastic Development Programme, but it’s very heavily focussed on the track.

“I haven’t ruled out a future with BC, but currently, I feel that with my coach, Malcolm Whitehead, Dr Damien Coleman from Canterbury Christchurch University and Wim Van Hoolst at Energy Lab behind me, I couldn’t be in better hands.”

With your TT abilities is individual or team pursuiting something you’ve thought about?

“Again, I’m a relative novice on the track. Living where I do in England, we do not have a velodrome local to us.

“I’m hoping this will change once the Olympic Velodrome opens to the public. I would like to think I could make a good pursuiter, but it’s all unexplored territory for me at the moment.

“I’m happy to concentrate on the road and TT’s.”

Do you have a coach – what’s his philosophy?

“I have a team of people behind me; most notably Malcolm Whitehead.

“Malcolm himself is a former National TT Champion.

“He’s fantastic, not only is he my coach, but also a very good friend of mine. We spend many hours out training together and I wouldn’t be where I am without him. He’s a very relaxed guy, I respect him and I do as I’m asked.

“I think that’s important; Malcolm is a huge believer in positivity and belief. We don’t talk negatively, I really think that helps.”

And 2014 will be a good year, if …

“I could win my first race in Belgium!”

We’ll be keeping an eye on this one – and no doubt Pete Murphy will keep us right if we miss anything.