Feature – Steve Lampier set for Tour


King of the Mountains in the RideLondon Classic, Steve Lampier hits the mountains to prepare for the Tour of Britain

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Feature – Steve Lampier set for Tour

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A ‘name’ seen in British pro racing for many a year, Steve Lampier (Giordana Pro Cycling) made the podium in RideLondon after winning the King of the Mountains prize which was only fitting as he then hit the mountains to prepare for the really big race for British riders, the Tour of Britain.


Steve admits unsurprisingly that getting selected for the Tour of Britain is a big deal for British based riders. “It’s our biggest race and the one, that if your cards fall in the correct order, could mean a big result or a big day in the break giving us exposure on a world level that we don’t often get. So yeah it’s pretty cool!”

Steve has been riding in the orange colours of the Giordana Pro Cycling team in 2014, the team backed by Phil Griffths of Yellow Ltd and managed by former TI Raleigh rider and hitter Bill Nickson. Steve explains how he doesn’t have to grapple with a 9-5 job like some British pros do and so has time to prepare for races like the Tour.

“I am pretty lucky but I do a lot of other things like my fiancé owns a few properties and there is always work to be done, but training does come first” he says. With the British scene losing teams at the end of last year, it was a nervous winter for Steve who didn’t sign for Phil Griffiths team until December.

Despite the typical challenges for British riders at the end of a season getting a team, 2014 he says, has been on par with others and a high spot was the performance in RideLondon. “The aim was to get a Giordana rider in the move as last year it was a big bunch kick and we don’t have a bunch kicker”.


“It’s the first time I’ve been in a move in a race of that standard and to hold on when we were caught with riders were going out the back was a big boost for moral”. Steve admits making the move for the early break was as simple as going with the one move and they were away.

“I held on once we were caught and was feeling ok to go around riders losing the wheel. Once over Box Hill, I knew I would be fine, but the winning move had gone and there was only Cannondale chasing so it wasn’t that bad.”

Prior to being caught though, there were plenty of KoM’s on offer and Steve admits that winning that overall had not been a goal. “The Giant Shimano rider Steven Lammertink went for the Hotspot so that was gone but I knew where the first KoM was and knew the hill from the test event and RideLondon last year.”

“I got that, then was second and second and made sure I won the last. It wasn’t so much a goal until the second KoM climb. I just wanted maximum exposure for myself and the team as I was the only UK rider in the move”.

Steve admits that while he was quietly confident of making the Giordana team for the Tour of Britain, the team managers were not giving anything away so like everyone, he had to wait until they were told who was going and who wasn’t.

Last year, Steve was 17th on the Overall and a highlight for him was 12th on the summit finish at Haytor in Devon where he was the first of the British based riders across the line. That made the 2013 Tour the most enjoyable yet for him whilst on the flip side, he admits in 2011 he was a lamb to the slaughter and that wasn’t so much fun!

Seeing riders from Britain racing well with the European based pros is frustrating for those of us who would like to see them given a chance at racing there. When I put that to Steve, he replied “a little! It shows the level has gone up in the UK and it would be mega to do more racing in Europe but the expense and a full UK calendar deems it not always possible.”


Tour of Britain 2013

Looking ahead to the Tour of Britain after an August in Britain with a few road races but not the type of programme the European pros will have, Steve says he’s done a few extra hours on the bike with less food ;-) ”

“My coach, Stephen Gallagher of Dig Deep coaching has set me some good stuff to do. I had a trip to the Pyrenees book ended with two pro kermesses in Belgium”. The lack of racing for the British pros is a problem admits Steve but adds that they can train through races. “We don’t get the volume of racing the conti pros get, or the speed, so you have to make it count in other ways”.

Time gentlemen, time …
The pattern in a pro race like the Tour of Britain is 99.9 per cent the same. The race reaches Zero kilometre and it’s a free for all before a break goes that those in charge deem to be okay and the racing becomes controlled until the stage finish when the break is caught and it’s a free for all again.

The main ‘variable’ in it all is how long the free for all carries on at the start of the stage. It could be the first move or it could take an hour or so before the powers that be sit up and call for a nature break. Then there’s some chit chat as they spread out in club run mode across the road and the gap to the break goes up very very quickly. Once it’s got to a point the teams deem to be far enough, the controlling team sends their ‘boys’ to the front to line ‘it’ out and keep the gap constant.

This will generally fall to the team looking to win the race overall like Team Sky unless they have a ride in the break that is. It’s quite a different pattern to the racing that fans see in a single day event like Ride London which was much more of a free for all although still controlled for a while.

For the riders who have missed the ‘move’ it can be frustrating to be stuck in the peloton especially if they haven’t reacted quickly enough and the gap to the break has already gone out to a minute or so and everyone is riding full gas at the front.


A memorable race in 2013, attacking in the Welsh GP, causing Mark Christian to cramp and going on to be second to teammate Mike Northey

Steve says riders are mega motivated to get away at the start before the race is shut down by Sky or whoever. “Last year I saw Bernie Eisel shouting at Pete Williams saying Sigma have a rider ahead, and Josh Edmondson saying ‘hey it’s fine he’s my mate’, so Pete got away. But they do control it.”

“It’s the biggest UK race of the season though, the biggest I’m ever going to do so why shouldn’t I try? The big names race day in day out so there is not as much sentiment involved for them to do well in the race.”
The only major men’s stage race in the UK outside of the Tour is the two day Reservoir event and talking about how British riders get through those eight days in the Tour of Britain, Steve explains “I’ve ridden four Irish RAS tours and two Tour of Britain’s so am used to eight on the bonce. I’m always thinking of the next day, eating well, etc and that seems to work for me.”

A lot of the teams will have a set structure of team leader, team sprinter and domestiques but Steve says with his, it may well be a free for all. “We have a strong team with some good riders capable of getting in the move and on TV. I’ll have to wait to see what Bill Nickson says. “Normally it’s along the lines of ‘ay lads, when it gets to ay ay, just smash em!’”

Final question for Steve was – is it the front or the back of the peloton once the break has gone? “Depends on weather conditions or who I’m chatting to at the time” he replies …

Good luck to Steve … we’ll be watching!


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