Interview: Chris Bartlett facing uncertainty in his search for a 2014 team


Chris Bartlett, 27, is facing uncertainty in his search for a team in 2014 after learning there is no place in his 2013 team

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Any team manager who can help Chris with a spot in their team, click here

Despite some impressive solo victories and strong showings against the domestic UCI teams in several races towards the end of what began as a very troubled season, this promising rider has yet to sign with a UK squad. With quite a few teams closing or merging after the 2013 season, or downsizing even, there are a lot of riders out there looking for a spot in the top tier teams and by that I mean those who do the Tour Series and Prems etc.


Because of that, competition for places is pretty cut throat to put it mildly and Chris seems to be a victim of that. He won’t be the only one I expect but the rider I saw show so well in his own team’s race in 2013, the Metaltek GP, says despite the problems in finding a squad, he’s exceptionally motivated.

Chris explains in his interview with VeloUK that he always strives to always place himself in the best environment to develop as a cyclist. Chris is spending the winter training full-time in Spain and will return to the UK to target the growing Road Race scene. All Chris says he wants is the opportunity to line up in the Star Trophy and National A races as part of an aspirational team. Here is the interview with Chris:

How long have you been racing?
Chris: I originally started racing when I was 15; though I stopped during my early 20s for four years while I studied towards a PhD. I recently took up riding again in mid 2011 when I moved to the Netherlands.

What inspires you to want to ride professionally?
Chris: Racing a bike is something very special; it took me a while to realize, but it’s what I truly love doing. What inspires me is the fear of not knowing how good I can be. To race a bike professionally, to give it my absolute all, is the only way I know to face that fear.

Do you have a favourite discipline?
Chris: Definitely road racing. It’s a complete test of one’s ability as a rider. That said, I will experiment with some TTing in 2014 as it plays to my strengths.

What are your long-term goals in the sport?
Chris: There are races I want to win and a level I want to reach. But simply, it all comes down to me being able to look back at my career and to have no regrets. That long-term goal is achievable by constantly asking myself “what can I do today, this week, this month that will make me a better bike rider”.

What was the highlight of the 2013 season for you?
Chris: The UCS Coastal GP in September. It was in my hometown, and I couldn’t help but attack as soon as the flag dropped. Unfortunately, my day finished early due to stomach issues but it was just amazing racing out on my training roads alone out front while it lasted. It even went straight past my dad’s house!

Would you rate this year as your best?
Chris:In terms of results, yes, but my best year so far was 2012 when I rode for Marco Polo. It was my first season racing since coming back to the bike; being fully immersed in the culture in Belgium and Europe and just the amount that I learnt, meant that it was one incredible experience. I even won a piglet in a race in Spain at the end of the year!

What would you say is your best asset as a rider?
Chris: I’d say my engine. I’m a strong all-rounder.

2013_Chris BartlettBelgium

If you could change one of your weaknesses into a strength, which one would it be?
Chris: Oh God. My sprint without a doubt. This year I managed to finish 7th in a group kick for 6th! I’ve never won a road race without being a minute or so off the front!

Where do you spend most of your time when not on the road racing?
Chris: I actually spent most of this year being a bit of a nomad. My home is Ipswich, but I spent a lot of time in Bath and Cheshire and Loughborough this year.

How many hours a week would you train on and off the bike out of the season?
Chris: I do three hours of core and weight exercises a week, with 20-25 h riding a week for pre-season, depending on the composition of the rides.

Do you tend to train alone or in a chaingang?
Chris: I almost always train alone, but I have a soft spot for a good chaingang.

What is the best thing about racing bikes?
Chris: It’s just damn cool. I defy anyone not to be enamoured by it.

And what is the one thing you enjoy least?
Chris: When you get to your hotel room after an eight hours in the rain and the water is not just cold, but brown and the backwards hotel refuse to serve you dinner.

Are you ‘geeky’ when it comes to the equipment on the bike or do you just ride what the mechanic puts in front of you?
Chris: I’m definitely interested in the science of bike design but I ride whatever I’m lucky enough to have been provided.

Do you have a favourite bike?
Chris: I do, but it’s unfortunately in two pieces! It was a Schils XLR8R. Handcrafted by Patrick himself. Some prawn drove into me and that was that. I think I’ll try and make it into a table!

What will you be doing training wise during the winter?
Chris: My training is phased with constant but gradual progression through each phase the key. I start out with mostly aerobic sessions with some specific sessions to target a particular adaptation. I am a coach myself with palmarè, and I design my own plans that are constructed using a platform developed by us at palmarès.

Will you try and get away from the weather here and go abroad for a winter training camp?
Chris: No doubt. Why suffer the UK weather when you don’t have to?! I arrange to live out in Spain during the winter. A few of us rent an apartment in Mojacar. It’s the perfect winter training destination!

Will you race at all in the winter?
Chris: Yes, one or two short road races. The piglet race is coming up again in December!

Do you have a specific winter training bike?
Chris: No, I only have one bike that I ride all year round.

What do you enjoy doing most when not riding the bike?
Chris: I really enjoy learning and educating myself, I find it very fulfilling. When I’m not riding, I’m learning how to make myself a better rider.

What are the races you are looking forward to most in 2014?
Chris: Premier Calendars/Star Trophy and the National Championships.

Finally, is winter a great time to relax or do you miss the racing?
Chris: I relax for 3 weeks after the season and just waft around for a bit bothering my mates, but I always stay hungry to race.

Thanks for doing the Q & A Chris and good luck in 2014!

Any team manager who can help Chris with a spot in their team, click here


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