Saturday, April 20, 2024

Paul Double – Stepping up to UCI ProTeam Level

“I’m super excited to announce I will be turning pro with US ProTeam Human Powered Health – formerly Rally Cycling – for the 2023 and 2024 season!"

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HomeInterviewsPaul Double - Stepping up to UCI ProTeam Level

Young Englishman Paul Double is a wee bit of a ‘forgotten man’ – out there in an Italian continental team racing against some of the world’s best – but not by VeloVeritas

We keep an eye on his results, most recently a fine seventh on final GC in the Tour of Slovenia, won by a certain ‘home boy’ named Tadej Pogacar with his faithful UAE Polish henchman, Rafa Majka in second spot.

Paul was originally with the redoubtable Flavio Zappi’s development team in Italy but then joined top ranked Italian u23 team, Colpack.

It perhaps wasn’t the best match and Paul went back to Zappi for a season – where he achieved a fine fourth in the Tour of Bulgaria – before joining Mg.kVis VPM last year, where he remains this year.

Paul’s results this year are all the more commendable given he was hit by a car early in the year and had to fight back to fitness.

We spoke to Paul in July but things have moved on for the man from Winchester since then…

Paul Double
Paul Double in the Coppi e Bartali. Photo©ExtraGiro

You’re home in the UK, down in Somerset, having a wee break from racing right now?

“Yes, there’s a bit of a lull in the Italian calendar so they’re letting me have a bit of time at home.

“There’s a one day in Bulgaria on 24/07 coming up and then August we’re into the Italian late season semi-Classics.”

Your team has an additional sponsor, this year?

“Yes, we’re now Mg.K Vis-Colour for Peace-VPM.

“Mg.k Vis is a manufacturer of vitamins and supplements; vitamin C, magnesium, the kind of stuff you find in a health food store.

“VPM is a specialized petrochemical production company – lubricants, garden and farm products, car cleaning materials and the like.

Colors For Peace is a non-profit association that promotes children’s art internationally to reduce cultural, social, and economic distances between rich and poor countries; a little but like the Education First organisation.”

Is the level of support still good?

“Yes, we have a bus now and the image is good and everyone is passionate about what they do, soigneurs, mechanics – but at the end of the day, we’re a continental team.

“Equipment-wise we’re still on nice Olmo frames but with Shimano Ultegra mechanical gruppos.”

Paul Double
Paul Double (r) on the podium at the Giro di Romagna. Photo©ExtraGiro

And you have a new team mate in fellow Englishman, Max Steadman who won the Tour of Antalya in 2020.

Yes, I get on well with him and I’ve been getting some good advice from him, the Canyon SunGod team he was with previously was a good, well organised set up.”

Where are you based?

“I have an apartment in Porto Sant’Elpidio in Marche on the Adriatic coast, it’s not a ‘special’ place but it’s nice.

“I do my own cleaning and cooking but whilst I like to cook you lose your passion for it when you’re just cooking for yourself.

“The apartment is above a good bar and there are good local restaurants and pizza places so I don’t go hungry.

“I have my car out here now which makes life easier.”

How’s the Italiano coming along?

“Pretty good, I’ve been out here a while now and I have an Italian girlfriend now, she speaks English and has been a great help with the language.”

Paul Double in Green at the Giro di Romagna. Photo©ExtraGiro

Who coaches you?

“I’m self-coached, I chase Strava KoM’s!

“I do a lot of steady work but also efforts on climbs – I just do what feels right for me but would really like the opportunity to be coached at a higher level…”

Is your management ‘weight obsessed?’

“Italians in general are very much into being light and lean and not eating too much – whilst I’m lucky in that I’m naturally lean, it makes sense not to be carrying excess weight.”

You’ve had some nice stage race finishes: sixth in the International Tour of Hellas; ninth in the Adriatica Ionica then seventh in the Tour of Slovenia.

“I was also 15th in the Tour of Sicily before those results – but was still on my way back from getting taken out by that car.

“I wanted to win in Hellas but the break went early on Stage One and never came back – however, I have to say that the Black Spoke guys were very strong, Aaron Gate [now a triple Commonwealth Games medallist on the velodrome, ed.] won with Scotland’s Mark Stewart third. 

“In the Adriatica race I targeted the Monte Grappa stage but got a bit over-excited on that one, went into the red and finished 18th – but I came back to get third on the next stage. 

“The reality of that race was that there weren’t enough big climbs in that race to make a difference.

“In Slovenia the last day was pretty easy but the last climb was savage; Mohoric and Pogacar were battling each other, I tried to get across with Majka but I just couldn’t follow him on the last part of the climb – but I was pleased to be up there in that company.”

Some nice one day results too, sixth in the UCi 1.1 Giro dell’Appennino and fifth in the UCi 1.2 Giro del Medio Brento.

“I felt good in Appennino, there were big crowds out for that one – I was away in group of 10, my sprint wasn’t too bad that day and I got sixth.

“I was disappointed in Medio Brento, I went there as a favourite but got over-exuberant and went too early.” 

In all these races you’re the team’s best finisher, do you get good support?

“The boys are really, really good, Max Steadman looks after me and my New Zealand team mate Paul Wright always gets me where I need to be – so no complaints, I’m really looking forward to next part of the season…”

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POSTSCRIPT

During the interview Paul revealed to us that he had some exciting news which was ‘top secret’ at that time – but we’ll let him explain in his own words:

I’m super excited to announce I will be turning pro with US ProTeam Human Powered Health – formerly Rally Cycling – for the 2023 and 2024 season!

“Starting at Zappi’s late on a rather different pathway, it’s been a battle. 

“Persevered, I did – pleased and proud, I am… really looking forward to fulfilling the opportunities that will come!

“The last year and a half with MGKVIS have also been great and a huge thanks goes to all the team for everything. 

“That said, we still have some big races still to come where we hope to finish the season well!

“For now, I head to Sazka Tour and Arctic Tour of Norway to meet the guys at Human Powered Health!

Paul rode with Human Powered Health in the Artic Tour and Sazka where he took third place in the King of the Mountains.

We’ll continue to keep an eye on Paul’s results – always good to see a young man, ‘Just Doing It!’’