TalkingShop: Dean Windsor in a change of colours

Australian Dean ‘the ‘Duke’ Windsor explains why he is returning to race in Europe and has signed for Endura Racing, his top five Tourist destinations and what his goals are now he’s won the Halfords Tour Series

VeloUK: After a few years racing for a British team, what is different about racing here to what you thought it would be?
Dean Windsor: Coming from the country of New South Wales, I guess it’s a whole different ball game outside of the Scody Cup events… Well, the Scody Cups seem a distant memory now but the Australian Races have their own quirks just like the English races.

In Australia, the races are shorter and more intense, it is quite common to have two x 60km road races in one day rather than one longer race like England. The main differences would be the environment and course.

England’s road races are on small twisty roads, whereas in Australia there are fewer roads and less towns, intersections and corners to deal with. A classic example in NSW is the Goulburn to Sydney -you race for 80km on the Hume highway which is Australia’s busiest motor way joining Sydney and Melbourne, I can’t see a race down the M1 on a Saturday morning!

Dean Windsor leading a type of race that would be easy to organise in Oz as there are so many dirt roads but this is Dengie Marshes (South East England), a Premier Calendar event in 2012.

VeloUK: What was the reason for signing for Endura Racing?
Dean Windsor: I have enjoyed riding for Rapha Condor Sharp in the British races and the criterium scene. I have achieved everything I wanted and was looking for a new challenge.

I always have set my goals for the European road season and Endura Racing have provided a brilliant race program and a big step towards my ambitions in my cycling career. I have never given myself the opportunity to train for Tours, as I needed the intensity for the criteriums.

I have changed my training and will base myself in Spain near the mountains, which will make a big difference. Endura Racing have great support and set up so I can’t wait to start the 2012 season with Endura.

VeloUK: What have been the highlights when racing here so far?
Dean Windsor: Well, the goals when signing for my first English season in 2010 was the Tour Series – winning this year was a highlight and by the end, a great relief. I enjoyed the team format of it too, but individually, I enjoyed the hype of the Nocturnes (Smithfield and Newport), which are probably the best races in England.

There is nothing like getting your hands in the air as Dean wins the Stafford Grand Prix.

VeloUK: You come from Bathurst as does the world’s best leadout man, Mark Renshaw. Does his career motivate you to move in that direction?
Dean Windsor: Mark Renshaw is a motivation full stop; he is like a brother to me and full of advice and experience. I am lucky enough to have him as a mentor and all I need now is his power because he has already given me the know how.

VeloUK: Do you get to train with Mark back in Bathurst and do you learn things from him he’s learnt racing with a WorldTour team.
Dean Windsor: Yes we train together and have had a good relationship since we were very young. I have lived through his World Tour experiences and learnt a lot off him. Although we still spend a lot of training time discussing and joking about other things away from cycling.

VeloUK: Season over in Europe, you’re still racing … how will you spend the summer on the bike? training, racing or both?
Dean Windsor: We have an off-season like the riders in Europe, but instead of just training pre season, we get to race. The domestic riders give the professionals some tough competition as they are in peak form, but racing is the best form of training.

Dean Windsor all smiles after being part of the winning team in the Halfords Tour Series in 2011

I just did the New South Wales Grand Prix series where I finished 6th overall, which showed that my fitness is at a good level at this stage of the pre season, particularly considering likes of Sky’s Chris Sutton and Jeremy Hunt and Rabobank’s Graham Brown and Michael Matthews were racing too.

VeloUK: Preparing for the European season, what is a typical programme of training in Australia where the weather is very hot. Are you changing your training to suit longer races more?
Dean Windsor: Our program would not be much different to the European guys except we get to race national champs and some crit races. The heat around Bathurst is tough because the availability of water, limits you as to how far you can go from town on most roads.

Bathurst is not too remote but some roads do not have towns for miles. We also train much earlier than Europeans would to beat the heat. I have a new French coach who has changed my program to improve my endurance.

VeloUK: Do you use any training tools like heart rate monitors or powercranks or is it a case of the Bathurst ‘chaingang’ battering one another like a race. (Do they call them chaingangs in Oz, have forgotten!)
Dean Windsor: I have an SRM power system which helps me to train harder. I try not to get too wrapped up in the numbers but it definitely pushes you to try and get the max and average numbers up. We have some good bunches out my way.

Everyday we have 6am freaks (they do as much as they can before work) and the 10am gentleman’s hour bunch. We have some weekly favourites too like the Torture Tour Tuesday ride and Super Saturday Smash. I had never heard the word Chain gang before arriving in the UK. We go by the rule of the ride leader or ride organiser who gets naming rights for the ride.

VeloUK: Where are you likely to be based for next season?
Dean Windsor: I have organized to live in Girona Spain. The conditions are more like home and the training is meant to be amazing. Luckily my girlfriend is fluent in Spanish so my unit and everything has already been organized.

The Newport Nocturne in 2010 where Dean was  third.

VeloUK: Finally, If you’re asked by family and friends in Oz, where should they visit in Britain, what are your top five tips of places to go to!
Dean Windsor: Depends on what you want to get out of the trip. I loved living in Bristol and England was very good for me, so I have my top five places on category. There is a big South West influence…

English Experience: A drive through the Chew Valley, past Dundy, Windford, to Cheddar Gorge. After an ale pie at the pub and a walk up the gorge and through the caves to work up an appetite, drive back down to the Pony and Trap where you will be treated to England’s best meal!

Sight seeing: London, where do you start let alone finish!

Must do: The Royal Ascot races, my family would definitely back me up on this.

Dean’s brother Blair, racing in the Halfords Tour Series in 2011

History Lesson: Bristol floating harbour. Most people would stick to Bath and its Roman spa but Bristol is fascinating. Thanks to the greatness of Kingdom Brunel, Bristol has some monumental developments. It is a quirky town now but has not lost its industrial look from the past. The SS Great Britain should not be missed!

Bike riding: Wye Valley in Wales, absolutely beautiful but just because its hard to get the perfect sunny day. For something a little easier – the Bristol to Bath bike path is great because there are no cars and a superb coffee shop called Colonials and Smalls at the Bath end.

Another victory, this one in York in 2010.

This interview brought to you by Endura Racing – check out the review of their fleece lined and water resistent/water proof winter biblongs!

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