Feature Interview – Pete Williams


In the Aviva Tour of Britain 2015, Pete Williams (One Pro Cycling) came away with two jerseys including the Sprints one for the second time in his career. We talk to him …

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Feature Interview – Pete Williams


After what many say was the hardest Aviva Tour of Britain so far in the history of the race, Pete Williams of One Pro Cycling came away with two jerseys, Sprints and KoM. He’s not the first rider to do that as Angel Madrazo (Movistar) and Thomas De Gendt (Topsport Vlannderen) had already done that in previous years.

Williams however was the first rider to win the Sprints competition for the second time. Over the years, getting a jersey in the race for British teams has become a major aim but something only a few have achieved with the competition from the bigger pro teams always a real threat.

History of the KoM and Sprints Jerseys
In the first Tour of Britain (2004), Aussie Ben Day from a Belgian team won the KOM and Rodney Green from Barloworld won the Sprints. The next year, Welsh rider (now a GB coach) Julian Winn won the KoM jersey competition for Wales whilst Eric Baumann (T-Mobile) was the sprints winner.

2006 and Johan van Summeren (Davitamon Lotto), a Paris Roubaix winner no less, won the Sprints classification whilst Andy Schleck (CSC) the KoM jersey. Yes, that Andy Schleck.

British teams continued to be denied in 2007 when two very famous sprinters, Ben Swift (Barloworld) won the KoM jersey and Mark Cavendish (T-Mobile) the Sprints jersey. In 2008, again, no glory on the podium for the British teams as Danilo Di Luca (LPR) won the KoM and a double winner of the race now, Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia), the Sprints.


2009 and Thomas De Gendt (Topsport Vlannderen) won both KoM and Sprints jerseys whilst in 2010 Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil) won the KoM jersey and Michal Golas (Vacansoleil) the Sprints.

The tide started to turn in 2011 though when Jonathan Tiernan Locke of Rapha Condor Sharp won the KoM jersey but the Sprints jersey went to Pieter Ghyllebert (An Post). Rapha Condor won the KoM jersey again in 2012 through Kristian House and Pete Williams (Node 4 Giordana) had the first taste of podium glory with the Sprints jersey.

In 2013 though, the very funny Spaniard Angel Madrazo (Movistar) took the double of KoM and Sprints with Williams in third in the KoM and 2nd in the Sprints showing how good he is at making those breaks. It is a skill for sure!

A year on in 2014 and Liverpool’s Mark McNally made the KoM jersey his own for team An Post while Sebastian Lander (BMC) denied the local teams the Sprints jersey.


This year however, it was the local teams that dominated the competition, for the first time really, with Williams winning both KoM and Sprints but Madison Genesis (Tom Stewart and Mark McNally) and NFTO (Ian Bibby) also in contention in the KoM scrap for points.

It is easy after this year to think that the KoM and Sprints competitions are ones for the local teams to scrap over but the stats show that whilst British teams have been successful in them, they certainly are not given them on a plate.

Julian Winn in 2005 racing for Phil Griffiths (Yellow Ltd) was the first domestic based rider to win an overall jersey classification (KoM) and one of only four riders to do so. The others being Pete Williams, Kristian House and Jonathan Tiernan Locke. Other British riders have won these jerseys, (Swift, Cavendish and McNally) but not whilst being based here in the UK racing.

It takes a special rider to win them. One who can get in the right breaks that the peloton decide to let go and one who can do that not once but two or three times in the event as Mark McNally did so impressively last year.

This year’s star of those competitions, Pete Williams did not go into the race with a specific aim. “I had good form all year and knew it was good coming into this” the double jersey winner explained. “I wasn’t sure what the plan would be for the team, whether it was going for results like stage wins or a decent GC but they wanted to be at the front of the bike race and get in the moves and I can do that”.


Pete Williams with Lisa on the podium at the 2012 Tour of Britain

“I’m pretty good at picking out the moves and in doing that you have to ride, recover and do it again. I didn’t do last years race so it’s hard to compare but this year was hard with long days of over 200km which is especially hard for the British riders”.

“But to win any jersey in the biggest race in Britain is an honour. I grew up watching the Tour, I think it was the PruTour then and you look up to them riding in the jerseys and so to be racing at this level and achieve things is nice. It is always nice to get something out of the race.”

It was said a few times whilst on the race that the Tour of Britain is the ‘Worlds’ for the domestic teams who except for one stage when they got caught out behind the Cavendish crash and on tough roads, were trapped in a grupetto with a lot of higher profile riders wanting to take it easier (not easy!), the locals did help make the race in the other stages and none more than Williams.

“If you are not motivated as a British rider in a British team for this race then you shouldn’t be here” he said. “Everyone is motivated and wants to be achieving in this race”.

His chasing a jersey (or two) did receive a knock, a rather heavy one, when he fell on the stage to Floors Castle) and the way he was holding his arm as I followed him back to the team car park was rather worrying. A broken collarbone I remember thinking?

Nothing of the sort but it didn’t help his quest in the chase for a jersey. Talking a few days later, he explained “I was pretty beaten up in the crash on Thursday (Kelso) but recovered and the aim the next day was to get through the stage and if we can come away with a jersey by the end of the week, that will cap off a great week”.

Get through the stage and the rest of the week as well he did indeed do and he also got his jersey and another as a bonus.


Pete Williams (left) and Tom Stewart chatting in the jerseys at the start of a stage.

When did he realise that a jersey was in all probability going to be in his luggage going home?

“After stage 5 to Hartside when I was in the break, I knew I could keep the Sprints jersey but that also put me in the KoM jersey where there were a few guys who could have taken that off me pretty easily. So after stage 6 where things didn’t change, it was ours to lose on stage 7 and we able to defend it. It was after all, a jersey in a HC event so you are not just going to give it away.”

“That was a good day out and a great battle with Madison Genesis”.

Asked did he feel one jersey was better than the other, Pete replied “I guess the KoM one carries a bit more prestige but having won the Sprints one before, it was nice to win that and the KoM one. I’d say they are equal!”

Stage 7 was a cracking one with the competition for the KoM jersey exploding all over the flat roads between Fakenham and Ipswich. His closest rival Tom Stewart (Madison Genesis) got in a break and gained a KoM point to go equal with Williams.

Whilst One Pro Cycling chased down the break to avoid Stewart getting any more points, the race for the jersey was getting interesting. On the TV coverage, the talk was who would win on countback and that was going to be Williams but both his team One Pro Cycling and Madison Genesis had not finished the battle and nor had NFTO who were also in contention.


The battle for points on stage 7 was a memorable one! Here Chris Opie denies Tom Stewart maximum points in the first KoM sprint

A new break escaped and were taking the points which was good for Williams but then Madison Genesis, NFTO and even Lotto got on the front and brought the break back to give Williams and his rivals one last shot at the jersey and it was Williams who would win the last KoM battle with Stewart a few places back.

So, was that stage stressful I asked Pete? “Coming down to the last sprint I didn’t feel stressed because I felt pretty in control because I had my team around me and it was about Tom Stewart (Madison Genesis) taking the points off me rather than me taking them off him. So it wasn’t too bad from my point of view.”

“I was quite relaxed really because anything I got was a bonus because I had already shown myself in the race and already had a jersey. It wasn’t as stressful as the Tour Series anyway!”

Away from the battle of the jerseys, what was the highlight for him in the 2015 edition of the Tour of Britain? “Racing on home roads on the second day when I was away on my own for a bit on roads I train on. Dowsett then came across to me and that was pretty cool having the biggest race in the country on my training roads.”

With the Tour of Britain over, Pete now turns his attention to 2016. “The racing will probably start earlier than we are used to and I want to be going into those races at a good level” he says.

So Pete intends to have an easy October before the hard work begins in November. A final word on riding Pro Conti and he says “I know when I am going well, I can compete with these guys. I may not be a world beater but I can hold my own. The calendar with stage races will suit me quite well so it will be nice to get an opportunity to ride the bigger races more often”.

Good luck to Pete in 2016 and thanks for his time.

Tour of Britain Jerseys over the years

Yellow: Mauricio Ardila (Chocolade Jacques)
Points – Julian Dean (Credit Agricole)
KoM – Ben Day (MrBookamker.com)
Sprints – Rodney Green (Barloworld)

Yellow: Nick Nuyens (Quickstep)
Points: Luca Paolini (Quickstep)
KoM: Julian Winn (Wales)
Sprints: Eric Baumann (T-Mobile)

Yellow: Martin Pedersen (CSC)
Points: Mark Cavendish (T-Mobile)
KoM: Andy Schleck (CSC)
Sprints: Johan van Summeren (Davitamon Lotto)

Yellow: Romain Feillu (Agritubel)
Points: Mark Cavendish (T-Mobile)
KoM: Ben Swift (Barloworld)
Sprints: Mark Cavendish (T-Mobile)

Yellow: Geoffroy Lequatre (Agritubel)
Points: Matt Goss (Saxobank)
KoM: Danilo Di Luca (LPR)
Sprints: Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia)

Yellow: Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia)
Points: Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia)
KoM: Thomas De Gendt (Topsport Vlannderen)
Sprints: Thomas De Gendt (Topsport Vlannderen)

Yellow: Michael Albasini (HTC)
Points: Greg Henderson (Sky)
KoM: Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil)
Sprints: Michal Golas (Vacansoleil)

Yellow: Lars Boom (Rabobank)
Points: Geraint Thomas (Sky)
KoM: Jonathan Tiernan Locke (Rapha Condor Sharp)
Sprints: Pieter Ghyllebert (An Post)

Yellow: Nathan Haas (Garmin Sharp)
(Note: Jonathan Tiernan Locke of Endura Racing won but victory taken away by UCI ruling)
Points: Boy Van Poppel (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling)
KoM: Kristian House (Rapha Condor)
Sprints: Pete Williams (Node 4 Giordana)

Yellow: Sir Bradley Wiggins (Sky)
Points: Martin Elmiger (IAM)
KoM: Angel Madrazo (Movistar)
(note Williams 3rd)

Sprints: Angel Madrazo (Movistar)
(note Williams 2nd)


Yellow: Dylan Van Baarle (Garmin Sharp)
Points: Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma Quick-Step)
KoM: Mark McNally (AN Post)
Sprints: Sebastian Lander (BMC)

Yellow: Edvald Boasson Hagen (MTN)
Points: Owain Doull (Team Wiggins)
KoM: Pete Williams (One Pro Cycling)
Sprints:Pete Williams (One Pro Cycling)

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