Interview – Roger Hammond


Managing the Madison Genesis riders at the British Road Champs is a former double winner, Roger Hammond

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Interview – Roger Hammond (below winning at Celtic Manor)

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Racing for Madison Genesis at the British Road Champs Ian Bibby, Scott Davies (U23), Matthew Holmes, Liam Holohan, Tobyn Horton, Alex Peters (U23), Chris Snook, Tom Stewart & Andrew Tennant and in charge of them is Roger Hammond who was twice a champion when the race was held at Celtic Manor.

“I have happy memories of Celtic Manor” he told VeloUK last Sunday. “It was a really challenging circuit which was good for me at the time because I was racing as a professional in Europe. I was coming back from the Tour de Suisse after ten days of climbing a week before. So I never struggled on the climbs there so that was always a big advantage for me coming back”.

“It will be good to go back there for what is a challenging circuit. It will be hard and there’ll be a worthy winner. Strongest guy should win it.”

On the line for the winner and the first under 23 will be the ‘stripes’, the special champion’s jersey that the winners will get to wear in races for the next 12 months. “My favourite memory is riding as national champion in Roubaix” says Roger.

“So it’s not just the race itself but if you win, you’re set apart from everybody else in the jersey and get a lot more attention as a rider. I was always very proud to be national champion which is a difficult race to win every year”.

Back when Roger won, and also David Millar which was also in Abergavenny, the European pros numbered a handful if that, far different from now when Team Sky will hit the race with numbers and this year there are others from Netapp-Endura, Movistar, Orica-GreenEdge, Quickstep, AN Post and Garmin. In all, 19 European based pros entered.


Talking to Matt Stephens at the Madison Genesis launch this year.

“In my day, I was disadvantaged because there were only one or two of us from Europe so there was no getting together and riding off on the first lap like they (Sky) have done for the last few years. They (his riders) need to be aware that all these guys are riding for different teams and all have a common interest and that is to make it as hard as possible from the start and get rid of everybody else”.

“That is what they will be trying to do. And that’s what I would do as well so the others will be fools if they don’t react to it. If you have the legs fine, if you haven’t, there is nothing you can do about it”.

When asked in a race like that, surely there is no margin for error, making mistakes and wasting energy, Roger replied “every race is like that now. The standard is so high, there is no margin for error here today (Beaumont)”.

“The teams are all strong enough to expose it if you do. Next weekend will be a bit more exaggerated because you’re riding against guys coming back from the Tour de Suisse and Dauphine and races like that so they have massive stage races in the legs which does give you that fitness that carries you through. The other side of coin though is that it’s not up to us to make the race and that is a huge advantage for us. It is all about how you use a situation to your advantage”.


Tobyn Horton going full gas for his team Madison Genesis last Sunday, a rider to watch next Sunday.

And speaking of advantages, his riders not only have a manager who has won the title twice but one who knows both the British based riders and the European ones having raced for Sky etc. Roger though was quite modest saying “Every rider and manager has their strengths and strings to their bow!”

“One of them in my bow is I am UK based but also know the Europeans, how they think and work having been there for 15 years living inside and out it. I think I understand what they will be thinking so for the one race of the year where it’s an advantage to understand that system, that will be good for us and the same goes for the Tour of Britain and RideLondon”.

Finally, when asked if was the biggest single day race of the year, Roger replied “I don’t think so. I think RideLondon is the biggest but it’s one that is very important. It depends too on what you mean biggest. If you win it, it’s the biggest race of the year, if you don’t, it’s not. The nationals is a fantastic race to have won but it is always a difficult one to win too!”

Good luck to Madison Genesis who have chances in both the senior race and the Under 23 one.

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