Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Sean Flynn – the Young Scot with Top 12 and Top 20 in UCI 1.1 Races

“The SEG Agency will continue but the team is ending ... thankfully, I’ve found another team but I can’t mention the name until the official announcement is made.”

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HomeInterviewsSean Flynn - the Young Scot with Top 12 and Top 20...

Ineos’ 33 years-old Ben Swift retained his British Elite National Road Race Championship title for the ‘Old Guard’ at Lincoln in what was a savage race – it was way back in 2008 when VeloVeritas first spoke to Ben – BUT the ‘New Wave’ is closing fast.

In second place on the Lincoln podium we had Fred Wright [Bahrain Victorious] at 22 years-of-age, third was Ben’s 23 years-old, so talented team mate, Ethan Hayter; whilst fifth was ultra-aggressive Lewis Askey [Groupama FdJ] at just 20 years-of-age. 

And in a solid 12th place, just behind Arkea’s former National Champion and Tro Bro Leon winner, Connor Swift was 21 year-old Scot, Sean Flynn riding for top Dutch development team SEG Racing, in what was one of the team’s last races before sadly, it folded. 

We caught up with Sean not long after another fine ride, this time in the last race of the European season, the  188.5 kilometre UCI 1.1 Ronde van Drenthe where he was rubbing shoulders with men of the quality of Dylan Groenewegen and Taco Van Der Hoorn.

Sean Flynn
Sean Flynn. Photo©SEG Racing

The Ronde Van Drenthe, you were in the arena to the bitter end, Sean.

“It was a good race but I was a little disappointed – in the last hour I was in a really good group of six but there was a Topsport guy there and he was disrupting things because he had Herregodts, who won, up the road, cooperation broke down and we were brought back.”

Your 12th place in the British Champs; that was a ‘death race.’ 

“Yes, I was happy with 12th, I was feeling strong but my placing could have been better; I missed a move and had to chase, but it was nice to be mixing it with the World Tour guys.” 

Sean Flynn
Sean Flynn and James Shaw (l) bridge up to the front of the race at the British Road Race Championships 2021. Photo©Ed Hood

You’ve posted some very solid results this year in races like Gooikse Pijl, GP Marcel Kint, Lichtervelde, Ronde de l’Isard and Circuit des Ardennes.

“I’m pleased with my progress, as well as getting stronger, I’ve become more knowledgeable and can better exploit the opportunities that come my way – at the back end of the season I was always ‘there.’  

“I know I’m very close to fighting for that first win, I just need a little bit of luck.”

You we were close to the top of the podium on Stage Three in the Circuit des Ardennes.

“It was the ‘Queen Stage’ and I was surprised at how well I was climbing that day.

“I won the sprint but there was one guy just up the road by a few seconds – I was happy with my ride but the win was so close that day.”

Which of your performances gives you most satisfaction this year?

“I think definitely the Ardennes, I’ve felt good in my last five or six races and that second place showed I could fight for the wins.

“I’ve been top 12 and top 20 in UCI 1.1 races; to start with I was DNF in races at that level but now I’m in the mix.”

Sean Flynn
Sean Flynn looks pensive at the start of a rainy British Road Race Championships this year. Photo©Ed Hood

Were you based in the Netherlands with SEG?

“Yes, most of the time I was based in Sittard in Limburg with the occasional trip home but the calendar was packed at the end of the season so I wasn’t home much the last few months.

“Being based in Sittard meant that the longest drive we ever had to a race was three hours so you’re not travelling so much and have more time to recover. 

“The original plan was that I was to be based in Girona but Covid put paid to that.”

SEG had a great programme.

“I was very happy with it albeit at the start of the season there were a lot of races cancelled and we were scavenging for starts but that was the same for everyone.

“I did a 1.1 pro kermis in Belgium in May and then in June the announcement came that that the team was folding at the end of the season.

“We were worried that perhaps things would peter out but that didn’t happen, we had a good programme until the end of the year and towards the end of the season there were perhaps too many races and it was hard to fill spots with guys getting sick and motivation slipping.

“But not me, I still felt fresh and was keen to race right up to Drenthe.”

Sean Flynn
Sean Flynn with SEG Racing at the Tour of Rhodes this season. Photo©Nassos Triantafyllou

Originally your programme was going to be road and MTB?

“At the start of the year I did a couple of MTB World Cups but was finding it hard to get results – guys like Mathieu Van Der Poel and Tom Pidcock can pick and choose their programme but I wasn’t in a position to do that and I was struggling to manage both disciplines.

“I was enjoying the road but lacking endurance, I took a break mid-season and reflected on things; I decided to make the most of the opportunity I was being given on the road and that I should take advantage of it.

“I don’t regret my decision, I’ve proved to myself that I have the potential to be a good roadman.”

SEG folding was a bit of a shock.

“The SEG Agency will continue but the team is ending; the reason they gave is that when they started the team seven or eight years ago there weren’t so many development teams and there was a need for what they provided.

“But now with so many of the World Tour teams having their own development teams – Jumbo Visma, DSM, FdJ – there’s not the need. 

“It was a frustrating situation, not just for me and the other riders but for the staff too.

“One more year with them would have been perfect for me.

“We worried that the team may fall apart but it wasn’t like that with everything going smoothly until the end of the season; but it still caused me a lot of stress.

“Thankfully, I’ve found another team but I can’t mention the name until the official announcement is made.”

Your MTB ambitions are shelved then?

“Yes, for the moment but, ‘never say never.’”

Sean Flynn
Sean Flynn has represented Scotland in mountain bike racing. Photo©Keith Valentine

Are you on your winter break now?

“Yes, I’ll have three weeks off the bike and then get back into it in advance of the first training camps with the new team.” 

Are the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on your radar?

“Yes, I’ve been in discussion with Scottish Cycling and I’ve already met the selection criteria so the Games road race is definitely on my mind.

“I represented Scotland as a young rider so it would nice to do so as a senior; it’s always a proud moment to pull on a Scotland jersey.”