With Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling rider Cameron Jeffers recently taking the first big road event of the season – The Eddie Soens Memorial Handicap at Aintree we thought it might be a good time to catch up with some of the names on the team who caught our eye and ask them just five questions each, by way of a quick introduction; a young Scot entering the pro ranks, a man continuing on his comeback trail and a seasoned professional with World Tour T-shirts to his name…
22 years-old, the young Scot joins the team from the u23 ranks.
Tell us about the team training camp, Finn.
“The training camps been going great so far.
“It’s the first time we’ve come together as a team, minus Charlie Tanfield and Si Wilson so it’s been great to bond.
“There are a lot of new guys on the team, including myself so it’s been nice to meet some new and some familiar faces.
“We’ve had some pretty tough days on the camp, focusing on team drills, endurance, race simulations and also trying to survive our DS Colin Sturgess’ half wheeling us…”
What are your first impressions of the team?
“I’ve been really impressed with the team so far.
“They’ve been welcoming and supportive, which has made the transition into the team really enjoyable.
“As riders, we’ve all bonded well creating a nice team environment.
“The management also works closely with the riders, making the team operations pretty slick.
“On top of that, we’re kitted out with some amazing equipment from Ribble, Mavic and HUUB so it’s been good to put them to the test this week and I’ve been very impressed.”
Where will you be based?
“I’ll be based in Stirling, Scotland where I’m finishing my degree, as well as it being a great place to ride your bike!”
What would make ‘22 a success for you?
“If I’m to improve upon last season then I’ll be more than happy.
“I’d like develop and learn as a rider, and it’d also be nice to also get on that top step a couple times.
“We’ve got a really strong and experienced team this season so I have no doubt there’ll be team success throughout.”
What about the new bike, what’s all the fuss about?
“The bike’s great; it’s been put to the test last week at training camp and at Gifford last weekend, and safe to say it’s rapid.
“Ribble have put together a ‘real race machine’, and I’ve no doubt you’ll be seeing it at the front of events this year.”
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After a stellar early career 27 years-old Alex was snapped up by the mighty Team SKY but after one season took time away from the bike. He came back last season with Swift Carbon, winning the prestigious Ryedale GP. Unfortunately, Swift folded at the end of the season and he joins Ribble Weldtite for 2022.
Is it good to be back after your time away from cycling, Alex?
“I’m really pleased to be with the team and preparing for the 2022 season.
“I had a good winter with some focused training in Gran Canaria and I have recently started working with a new coach, Phil Smith from Teesside University which I think is going to make a real impact to my performance this season.”
How hard did your 2021 Swift team folding hit you?
“I was obviously disappointed that Swift ended at the close of the 2021 season, I had a great time there and was well supported by the team.
“However this year with Ribble Weldtite is a fresh new opportunity for me and I am pleased both Ollie Peckover and Ross Lamb have joined Ribble Weldtite from Swift so there are already some familiar faces.”
How did your winter go?
“I had a solid winter, spending my time between London and Gran Canaria, I really enjoy the warm weather training and it’s nice to escape the UK winter!”
What are your ambitions for this year?
“I want to be happy and enjoy riding my bike.
“I feel Ribble Weldtite is the perfect home for me and I am looking forward to working with the team to target different races throughout the season.”
Tell us about the new machine.
“It’s been a bit of whirlwind for me, my first time on an aero bike and with disc brakes, I can’t wait to start racing on the bike and see how fast it really is.”
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27 years-old Harry is the man with the World Tour T-shirts after a season with Katusha, then one with AG2R and finally a third with Team Qhubeka. Sadly, Qhubeka folded late in the day last season leaving many riders scrabbling for a ride. A Vuelta rider, Commonwealth Games medallist, Tour of Britain stage winner and recently top 20 in the tough UCI 1.2 Dorpenomloop Ruchpen, he’s a heavy duty addition to the Ribble line up.
How much of a shock was Qhubeka folding and how did you get the Ribble ride, Harry?
“I knew from early September that there were some issues with the current team sponsorship but like everyone else it wasn’t until the end of September when the team failed to apply for the World Tour license that it really hit home about the situation.
“There was still belief in the team that a sponsor would be found for the team to continue on some level because of the team’s values and the work it does for the less fortunate across the world.
“But as time went by, the odds were really against us.
“From September I was keeping Jack and Tom at Ribble up to date with the situation in Qhubeka and the position I may find myself in, whilst still talking to some ProTeam and WorldTeam squads but it was late in the year and places were scarce.
“So I felt it was best for me to come to a team with ambition to progress in the sport, year on year.
“With partners which have stood by the team, making it one of the most stable in the U.K. whilst still having the opportunity to race in the Europe Tour.”
What will you miss about the World Tour?
“I guess going back to small vans/campers/cars at races won’t be the same but in the WT it’s a real luxury.
“As well as the travel and logistics budgets making life as nice as possible outside of the races.
“But for sure the races themselves, I’ve experienced some great WT races, memories that will stay with me throughout my future racing.
“Both good and bad – but mostly good, being a part of a well performing team.”
What won’t you miss about you the World Tour?
“To be honest, I’m not sure.
“Maybe some horrible mountain stage in a stage race where I’m suffering to get round for the day?
“But for the most part it’s bike racing; you take the hard days, do the best job you can for the team and crack onto the next.
“I’d probably say some of the travelling too, and being at home more.
“After my first year with Katusha I kinda got used to being away and all the travelling, I guess it just becomes more normal.
“But after last season where I was injured and multiple races were cancelled leaving a big hole in my season, I’d definitely, happily have travelled to race.”
It was silver last time, is the Commonwealth Games Individual Time Trial a target this year?
“It is yes, I’ve applied for both the Road Race and Time Trial selection for the Games.
“I haven’t had the focus on the ITT stuff last year and haven’t invested the time and energy into it.
“I am looking more towards the Road Race at the Commies due to the nature of the course.
“But I would like to get back on the TT bike properly this year, being back in the U.K. more and getting a few good rides in to hopefully put me in with a chance for selection.”
Your thoughts on the new bike?
“It’s sweet, rolls really well.
“The first time I actually rode it was the day before the team’s training camp. As I’ve done more miles on it, I’ve tweaked my position and got used it a lot more.
“The handlebars took a bit of getting used to but think I am there with them now.
“I’m quite a fan, I’m not going to lie; I’m looking forward to getting stuck in to a couple of races on it to see where I’m at and give it a proper run out.”
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VeloVeritas will be keeping an eye on Ribble Weldtite’s progress as the year progresses, particularly Finn and fellow Scot Stuart Balfour – we wish them all well. We’re also hosting the team’s Official Blog so check out the behind-the-scenes details!