Talkingshop: GB Academy rider Sam Lowe


Colston Crawford talks to Sam Lowe who admits that life with the British Cycling Academy can be “like a cocoon”.

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Lowe, who rode for Hargroves Cycles in 2012,  is in his first year in the system masterminded by Dave Brailsford which has become a production line for champions. ​He turned 19 last week but there was not much time for celebrating as he got stuck into training – and more training – at Manchester. He is also just back from a character-building two-week training camp in Australia which included several races.


Warm weather training? The phrase was taken to its extreme when Lowe and fellow Under-23 Academy members Simon Yates, Alistair Slater and Chris Latham found themselves racing in temperatures of up to 46C – that’s 118F in old money – in the Herald Sun Tour, in Victoria, Australia’s longest-established stage race.

But there are no complaints from Lowe. This is what he wants to do. Already in the GB development squad, he was targeting a place in the Under-23 Academy through the summer, after completing his sixth form studies at Chellaston School.
Winning the British Junior Road Race title in May, over a hilly 69 miles in the Brecon Beacons, certainly did his chances no harm. In Brailsford’s system, you have to stay on the pace to stay in the academy – but Lowe is well up for the challenge as he adjusts to his new routine.

“The lifestyle in Manchester is quite full-on to begin with and takes a while getting used to,” said Lowe. “We’re based in the academy flats in Fallowfield and, suddenly, you’re being independent in terms of having to do all your own cooking and washing as well as all the training. But once you get into the routine and start to cope with the increase in training better, it becomes much easier.”

Updating on his son’s progress this week, Lowe’s dad, Dave, admitted: “I don’t see much of him these days!” And Lowe junior added: “It can seem like we go into a cocoon, as we are often just training at the track in Manchester and on the road up there.”

“I’ve been on the academy since October and, usually, riders spend three years on it, so I have a lot of time to go, unless I choose to move elsewhere – which isn’t what I plan for.”

At the moment, it is looking like the road, more than the track, which will become Lowe’s specialisation. “So far since joining the academy, it’s mainly consisted of preparing for upcoming races, which were on the track to begin with,” said Lowe. “However, I wasn’t able to get into the team pursuit squad, so I’m now looking towards the road season.”

“My summer will consist of road races with a few track races such as the national track championships at the end of the year. I’ll be looking to get selected for a number of international races as part of the Under 23 squad, which will be all across Europe, but I won’t find out about them until the weeks approaching the races.”

Racing in Australia was certainly an experience. In the Herald Sun Tour, a full-scale senior race, Lowe had to retire on the second day after getting caught up in a couple of crashes in the peloton. However, other events after that went better.

Lowe finished 11th overall and the first of the four GB academy riders in the Victoria Road Race Championship. Then the four Britons all finished in the top 20 in the Victoria Criterium Championships, successfully setting up teammate Chris Latham to win the race.

Lowe is, to all intents and purposes, now a full-time cyclist and he is relishing the experience. “I’ve really enjoyed just being able to concentrate on riding my bike without having to worry about education any more,” he added.
“Staying up in Manchester, I’m really being able to make the most of what the academy has to offer and British Cycling’s support.”

Link: Original story by Colston here


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