Interview – Tom Stewart


One of the stars of 2014 was Madison Genesis’s Tom Stewart with two Pearl Izumi Tour Series victories and that epic third on stage 6 of the Tour of Britain

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Interview – Tom Stewart

One of the stars of 2014 was Madison Genesis’s Tom Stewart with two Pearl Izumi Tour Series victories and that epic third on stage 6 of the Tour of Britain.

It’s all a far cry from weekends on the mountain bike and racing full gas in the Rotherham chain gang with the likes of Russell and Dean Downing who at the time spoke highly of his ability. Tom, at that time, was studying at Sheffield Uni from which he graduated and after a spell with the Cycle Division’s RST team, went to Raleigh in 2013.

Then, 2014 was Tom’s first season with Madison Genesis and that was a great success so it was no surprise that he is again for 2015, part of the team looked after by former professional Roger Hammond.


Tom was at the team’s launch recently (above)  in Milton Keynes before heading to Majorca and a training camp to prepare for the coming season. His first race is expected to be the Tour of Normandy where he’s named along with Mike Northey, Erick Rowsell (former stage winner), Tom Scully (former stage winner), Mark McNally (KoM in Tour of Britain) and James McLaughlin.

Asked how his winter was, Tom replied it had gone well and all started with a trip to New Zealand at the end of the 2014 season. “New Zealand was great” he explained. “Matt Holmes and myself went to stop with Tom (Scully) and his family”.

“We did the Tour of Southland while we were there and it was a great thing to do at a time of the year when there was not a lot happening. So I did a week long stage race in November which is fantastic for my training but the trip was also about relaxing and enjoying it and doing some exploring. New Zealand is fantastic and I’ll have to go back again. It’s a beautiful country.”

After New Zealand, Tom returned home for a month and then went away again just because it’s nicer when it’s warm, something I don’t think anyone will argue with!


That break in the Tour of Britain with Alex Dowsett and double stage winner Matthias Brändle who went on to break the hour record

The highlights from 2014 for Tom included his success at the Friends Life Tour of Britain and Pearl Izumi Tour Series but the very modest rider added his results were not the only things that made him happy.

“When I look back, the whole team had momentum from the word go which we managed to keep going all year long and it’s been fantastic to be part of a team that week in, week out, had riders up there in races. Some of the proudest rides I’ve had are those where I have helped someone else”.

“The Pearl Izumi Tour series was something I used to my advantage. I didn’t do them all. I did two and then went to the Tour of Fjords in Norway and came back strong from that and did well in the following rounds. I was able to dive in and out of the Tour Series and keep quite fresh”.

“So, I wasn’t doing them week in, week out and I then had a few months where I was able to get fit for the Tour of Britain so my race programme all worked out well for me.”

“I still don’t feel crits are my strong point and perhaps I came in at the end of the Tour Series when some riders were a bit tired and I was going well off the back of the racing I had done in Norway. They were also two quite tough circuits. They weren’t fast and flowy but very grippy and difficult. So it was perfect for me.”

Asked if he felt he had moved up a level in 2014, Tom replied, “Riders can get a feel for where they can improve with their training and the way they target certain races. Each year, you look at the next thing to improve and start tightening the screws here and there. So you can definitely constantly move forward but I need to keep that momentum, that’s the main thing.”


On his way to winning at the Pearly Izumi Tour Series in Jersey

Having won two rounds of the Tour Series and shown in the Tour of Britain he can ride with the best pros, I asked Tom if he felt any responsibility to carry on winning for the team like he had in 2014?

“No, we’re all responsible for putting in the work and getting results but the team is full of riders who can win. We don’t have any leaders in the team that stand out at all. We just have a bunch of strong guys and we’ll be going to races and we’ll be attacking, attacking, attacking, and whoever is in the break, the team will be pleased with that”.

“That’s the whole point, we don’t have to get a specific guy up there so there is no more pressure on me than there is on anyone else. That is what works so well for this team. We can all go to a race knowing we’re going well as individuals but also surrounded by really strong teammates.”

Having done that epic ride in the Tour of Britain, and battled each day to be at the front of the race, what did Tom learn from the 2014 Edition of the Friends Life Tour of Britain. “The Tour of Britain for us as a team is perfect as we have everything to gain from it”.
“We don’t go there with any pressure from other teams to control the race as we’re not one of the big teams there but that’s perfect. Getting that result (third on stage 6) wasn’t something I’d believe I could get a week before”.

“But once you have that result, you realise it is possible and those guys still hurt”.


Looking ahead to 2015 where his season will kick off in the Tour of Normandy, Tom says “I just want to carry on from where I left off last year with that momentum. I want to keep improving as the team will improve too.”

“I haven’t set any goals like I am going to win this or that race because there are too many things you can’t control but I’d like to just get some good form and hit the ground running. Every week we have a big race”.

Good luck to Tom in 2015.

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