Feature – Raleigh’s Brad Morgan


From 4th cat to riding the Tour of Britain – former skier Brad Morgan races for Raleigh-GAC in 2015

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Feature – Raleigh’s Brad Morgan

The next interview from the vault of recordings on my phone is Brad Morgan of Raleigh GAC. Thanks to Joey Severn for the pics of Brad in Raleigh-GAC kit

When a rider like Bill Nickson, who rode for the original TI Raleigh team in 1977 and before that, won the overall in the original British stage race, the Milk Race, sings your praises, you must be pretty good on the bike.


Brad Morgan (above), who rides for the 2015 Raleigh-GAC team, almost 40 years since Bill rode for the Nottingham brand, is that rider. Just over a year from his first race, Brad was riding the Tour of Britain where he finished 99th.

Okay, not a result that will have team managers reaching for their cheque books but just to get through the Tour of Britain which a teammate of Brad’s called brutal, is a sign that Brad is a rider who could well be making a name for himself soon enough.

Brad, who lives in Chorley where the first prem of the year is being held, was an ambitious skier who from an early age was away from home chasing the big time. But even then he was out on the summer chain gang where he rode with the likes of Bill Nickson.

Making a living in skiing was not easy though and here he was a few years later wearing the iconic Raleigh colours at a testing session at Perform (St Georges Park). It was there, he explained , there was a real dead spot in the sport of skiing where there was no programme through the British system.

“I wanted to achieve something in sport though and cycling was the next one to have a go at”.


Brad (left) with Liam Stones who rode for Raleigh-GAC in 2014. 

In six races in late 2013, Brad had three second places and two wins in Regional B events in the North West such as the CDNW Series. That is pretty good for anyone and provided a spring board to go ‘pro’ in 2014 for Phil Griffiths Giordana team managed by, Bill Nickson senior.

The results in 2014 were no less impressive as he was riding elite events now. Fourth overall in the Tour of the North, third in the Lancaster GP crit and second in the CDNW league RR at Lazonby are just some of them.

Bill Nickson Junior had supported Brad the season before and the former skier was happy to see where the sport took him when he started in 2014 racing for Bill Nickson senior. The winter wasn’t spent building up a huge base however but earning a living as a ski instructor in Chamonix (France). Some turbo training kept the legs turning over and he was soon back in Britain racing and learning.

There is so much to learn in cycle racing when you really look hard at all the facets involved. Brad knew how to handle a bike as he was riding a BMX as a youngster and done many a mile since then so that was one box ticked.


But in the “black art” of cycle racing there is so much more to learn. “Last year with the team, I was just trying to gain some respect from the riders” he says. “Listening to them, taking it on board to learn what people do in bike racing. I am still learning” he adds.

“Reading the races is something I need to learn, knowing about the moves to go with and so on”. Riding for Bill though, and a lot of experienced riders in races like the RAS, Brad was quickly picking up new skills that many just don’t get the chance to unless in a pro team like Giordana. But the learning also included having to deal with being forced to rest when ill.

Brad lost almost two months of his season, as did a few of his fellow pros, when he fell ill after the Durham and Edinburgh Pearl Izumi Tour Series rounds. No surprise those rounds are probably the hardest and Brad is no lightweight. It was during the tough Irish RAS when he thinks he caught the bug and the next two races just wore him out.

He admits when skiing, he was 90 kilos and has had to start shedding weight since taking up cycle racing. Hence why two of the hilliest Tour Series races in Durham and Edinburgh probably took their toll on him.

But Brad bounced back and earned a place in the Tour of Britain for Giordana where there would be a lot of climbing and time limits to contend with. It was, he admits, uncomfortable, but get through it he did. The first stage was in Liverpool and it was not pan flat either as the race climbed up to Sefton park before dropping back to the start finish opposite the Liver Building.


Brad (centre of pic) in a group with Marcel Kittel at last years Tour of Britain

Brad got through that in 78th, in the same time as the winner Kittel. How cool must it be for a newby in the sport to be in the same peloton as Kittel and Cavdendish not to mention a rider from his neck of the woods, Bradley Wiggins.

“ I had to learn to block out the fact I was around all these big names and just try and get through it” he explained. “The Tour of Britain is a different style of racing from the Premier Calendars” Brad says. “It’s consistently a more awkward pace, just a little faster and more uncomfortable than what I was used to”.

The Raleigh rider for 2015 though got through and even cracked the top 30 on the final stage and admitted he enjoyed the experience. With his 2014 team not assured for 2015, his manager helped him liaise with Raleigh – GAC and there he was a few weeks ago with all the kit getting ready for a trip to Majorca.

“I still can’t believe I am riding for Raleigh. I never expected it” he says. He’s had a better winter ahead of this season getting a coach (Mike Rawson). “He’s looked after me this winter and it’s been good to have specific goals to work towards”.

The training has been in Britain and whilst the weather is not that kind, Brad says he just gets on with it and if it snows, he goes out on the mountain bike and enjoys the training. Looking ahead to 2015, he admits he doesn’t mind what races are in his programme as he just enjoys racing. One he wants to ride though is the home town event which kicks off the major events in 2015, the Chorley Grand Prix.


Brad looking a little uncomfortable during the Tour of Britain, just a over year from his first race. Look out for the name in 2015.

Who better then to give us an insight into the obstacles in this new race than Raleigh’s new signing. “There is a long climb out of Belmont and usually there is a tailwind up it but it’s a tough climb” says Brad. “Five times up that and riders will definitely feel it” he explains.

It’s a nine or ten minute climb Brad says depending on wind direction and the speed of the race but adds that it is not the only tough bit. “You come off that climb into the descent and then it’s just a draggy section all the way to Buckshaw village. If the wind is in your face on that section, it will be tough”.

The course should split the race up he adds and with it being the first major race of 2015, there is bound to be a lot of riders still coming into form making the race wide open.

Good luck to Brad making the selection for the race and for the rest of 2015.

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