2015 NFTO Mini Training Camp


Last weekend saw the UCI Continental team NFTO gather in the team’s house near Hereford where they would have their first mini training camp.

RST Cycle  Clothing & Trigon Bikes

2015 NFTO Mini Training Camp

All of the team except for Steele Von Hoff and Ian Bibby who are still in Australia, were at the team gathering and it was a chance for everyone to get to know each other. Cycling is such a team sport, that having everyone, staff and riders, in the squad all knowing each other and able to work well in the chaos of a road race is essential where the difference between winning and losing is marginal.


So the camp was a chance for the riders and staff to get to know each other and on Friday, the riders all converged on the team house during the day before a team meal at a steak house in the evening before a game of Rugby on the box in the evening between Wales and England. Banter aplenty there!

Prior to that, the day gave the new NFTO manager Dave Povall the chance to meet and chat to the riders on what was a very busy day for him. “It was a perfect weekend getting everyone together” he says. “It was the first time we had everyone under the same roof and seeing the interaction between riders and staff with everyone mixing well and no prima donnas, it was perfect”.

During the day, riders kept the mechanics busy tweaking their positions on their Felt bikes which they were all really pleased with.

The new team bike from Felt is a custom bike for NFTO as are the saddles.

Matt from The Shed bike shop in Hereford was there too with the Retul Bike Fit equipment for some of the riders and whilst that time consuming job was being done in the team house gym, others had time to lounge around and relax with bike racing on the big screen in the corner.

There were ‘new’ faces like Eddie Dunbar from Ireland, Jonny McEvoy who has been riding in Europe and Edmund Bradbury mixing with riders who are familiar ones in the British pro peloton. New riders to NFTO like Tom Barras, Rob Partridge and Rhys Lloyd have been part of the British peloton for many years whilst Rhys and Zach May were part of the same team (Metaltek) last season with the new NFTO boss Dave Povall.

New rider for NFTO and a prolific winner of British races, Justin Hoy brought along his kit bag to show off the contents of what the riders get from the team sponsors including Felt, Saddleback, Castelli, Oakley, CNP, Kask Helmets, Bont shoes, Speedplay Pedals, Enve wheels, Fenwicks (cleaning products), Cotswold BMW (team cars) and Tripp Luggage.

The following day saw the start of two days of training for the riders and a chance to test each other on the Felt bikes. The day dawned cold but thankfully the roads were largely clear of ice and the sun was shining.

Team owner John Wood was keen to support the local economy which is why the get together was held in the Hereford area. The team had organised team cars to follow the riders whilst the manager Dave Povall who achieved such success with UK Youth was on a motorbike with mechanic Ethan.

Rhys Lloyd gets mechanic Ethan to adjust the saddle on his Felt bike before he is paced back to the others by the motorbike piloted by his manager Dave Poval.

It is little things like having the motorbike there to help a rider wanting to adjust his bike without the group having to stop that shows just what a military exercise such camps are with so many details needing to be sorted and put into practice.

Two by two, the riders set a good pace between the two café stops and after setting out at 10am, it wasn’t until 3pm that they approached the house again after a good day on the bike. On the final run in to the house, the riders started to ride through and off and then the attacks began.

Rob Partridge and James Lewis had a dig and when they were brought back, the ‘peloton’ started to explode as Jonny McEvoy and Eddie Dunbar broke the elastic and headed full gas towards the final destination. It’s that time of year when the riders are hungry to let the animal inside loose and sure enough, that happened at the end of five hours in the countryside.


Rob Partridge and James Lewis trying to escape their teammates on the final part of the team training ride.

Two by two, one by one, they arrived at the house having had a good work out and a chance to relax before heading out for dinner that evening. Legs were rested and then the next day, more riding was on the menu ahead of everyone heading off back home except for the riders staying in the team house.

So early Sunday, a three and a half hour tempo ride with no café stops hit the road and on a climb, the riders were set free to ride it how they wanted, whether that was full gas or at their own pace. A refuelling stop at the top saw the riders take on food and drink and then it was back to the house with thirty minutes of through and off to give the legs a good work out.

More banter at the house followed before the riders departed ready and motivated to return for another longer training camp as the pre season preparations continue apace. The team expect to be racing in March both here in Britain and abroad to give them the opportunity to fine tune everything ahead of the first Premier, the Chorley Grand Prix in Lancashire on April 4th.


James ‘Tank’ Lewis chases his team boss John Wood who has clipped off on the run into Hay on Wye and the second café stop.


Team coach Courtney Rowe (father to Sky pro Luke) gives the riders a briefing before they head out onto the roads.


The saddles for the Felt bikes are custom made for NFTO

2015 TEAM

Dale Appleby
Tom Barras (joins from Wheelbase-Altura MGD)
Ian Bibby (joins from Madison-Genesis)
Edmund Bradbury (joins from Cambridge University RT)
Eddie Dunbar (joins from Kanturk CC)
Sam Harrison
Justin Hoy (joins from Felt-Colbornes-Hargroves)
James Lewis
Rhys Lloyd (joins from Metaltek)
James Lowsley-Williams
Richard Mardle (joins from Felt-Colbornes-Hargroves)
Zach May (joins from Metaltek)
Johnny McEvoy (joins from NetApp-Endura)
Rob Partridge (joins from Giordana Racing)
Steele Von Hoff (joins from Garmin-Sharp)
Hugh Wilson
Joe Wiltshire (joins from the NFTO Race Club)

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