Yellow for Sigma’s Steve Lampier

Steve Lampier goes from selling Boardman Bikes to winning the Boardman Bikes Sprint jersey at the Halfords Tour Series

Wearing the Boardman Bikes sprint yellow jersey for the last few rounds of the Halfords Tour Series was Sigma Sport Specialized rider, Steve Lampier. The Peterborough based rider needed a few points to secure the jersey and he didn’t hang about going for them in the first sprint. A break then escaped with those riders mopping up the rest of the available points leaving the Sigma rider the overall winner.

The irony of having the Boardman Bikes Sprint jersey on his back was not lost on Steve who had left a job working at Halfords selling Boardman Bikes to race for Sigma Sport Specialized in 2011.

Steve, who is originally from Cornwall, explained that he came back from Belgium in 2008 and met a girl from Peterborough which is where he now lives. “In 2007/8, I had glandular fever so those years were kind of wasted because I just didn’t do what I should have done because I was impatient. Then, in 2009 I came back and had to get a job and there weren’t many about but I did get a little one in Halfords and sort of progressed within the store in Peterborough.”

Steve’s job in Halfords started out working in the Bike Hut and he then worked as a mechanic. “As a company, Halfords are really good at pushing you on and they wanted to push me on but because of my racing, I didn’t want to take the next step.”

“There was always this nagging feeling that I still wanted to race the bike and racing with Kinesis was good fun and Chris Truett did a good job with the team. Then, last year with Pendragon I was still working. I did take sabbatical leave, three months in all, because every race day was falling on a work day. Then I went back to work in the August until I got a contact with Matt (Sigma Sport) and then left Halfords in December.”

Woking and Steve Lampier had the yellow jersey which he was to make his own during the race leading into Canary WHarf and the final round.

“I had to tell my girlfriend that this is what I have been offered, it isn’t amazing money but I still felt I had more to give and I wanted to give it a try and see how far I can go within the next few years. I’d like to see what I can do in the Premier Calendar series for example.”

The Halfords Tour Series was also a goal especially for his team. Steve doesn’t see himself as a crit rider but his ride to cross to the break in Woking was a key moment in the series for him and he went on to take the yellow sprint jersey which brought with it crucial TV exposure for the British team.

His Tour Series didn’t start until round 3 which was in his adopted home of Peterborough. The delay to his Tour Series came about because of him riding the Irish RAS stage race and even at that point, the yellow jersey wasn’t something that was figuring in his sights.

In fact, he wasn’t supposed to be riding in Canary Wharf but having secured the jersey with his great ride in Woking, Steve had no choice but to ride and some how I doubt there was any disappointment at having to travel down to London for the final round. Far from it as his smile on the podium in Canary Wharf showed.

This year’s Halfords Tour Series was Steve’s second after riding it with Pendragon in 2010 and he explained that in 2011, he did expect more of himself in the series but with the sport getting ever stronger and new teams being present, he also didn’t know what to expect from the Series and what he was going to be up against.

“I wanted better results in the finishes like I had in Woking but until then, it hadn’t happened. With me, the sprint finishes are about positioning. I had a bad crash in Belgium once and the finishes in the Tour Series are hectic. In a road race, you might get the top 10 sprinting in and the rest cruising in but here everyone is sprinting and pushing for position.”

This effort from Steve was the key to his series success … crossing to the break in Woking and setting up his challenge for the Sprints jersey.

“You get guys who will dive bomb you which makes it a bit hairy and the sprints tend to be about nerves and who has the biggest balls really!”

That said, Steve admits it’s a struggle to pick out highlights from the series as he’s enjoyed them all as he simply loves racing his bike. “I enjoyed Peterborough because I live there now so I had to do something so hence that stupid break with my RAS legs and too big a gear. I really enjoyed the Oldham circuit too and was active but just couldn’t get in that break that went.”

Steve explained that his programme for Sigma in 2011 has worked out a lot different to originally planned because of illness and injuries to other riders in the team and that the RAS wasn’t part of his original programme. He also explained that he hadn’t trained specifically for the Tour Series and went into it hoping for a win but didn’t mind where that came. Steve very quickly settled into the routine of racing Tuesdays and Thursday and dealing with the travelling in between.

Speaking about the travelling between events, Steve says, “I got my head round it this year after last year when it was hard. Matt has given us the option that if the drive is too far, we can get a hotel but I find if I drive back from a race, I can chill out a bit more and funnily enough the Peterborough round was the worst because I only had five minutes before I got home and couldn’t sleep until 3 in the morning! If I drive though, that tires you out that little bit more.”

The Tour Series is certainly a very different series of bike races for the riders because as well as the crowds and glamour of it, they can also see themselves on a very accessible TV channel (ITV4) the next day which they can’t in other races. “Gran can watch me and now pick me out because I’m in the jersey!” Steve said of it.

All in all, the Tour Series for Steve and his Sigma teammates, was one long road trip with mates sharing a car to and from events and having a great laugh. Better still, the team came away with valuable TV exposure but now that it’s over, Steve’s focus returns to the Premier Calendar with the next round in Northumberland in the later than usual Tour of Reservoir this Sunday. Good luck to Steve and VeloUK will be there to see how he and the rest of the British peloton get on.

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