First race, first win for Tim Elverson and his new team as Chris Opie wins the Perfs Pedal
Race Chat: Tim Elverson (Bike Channel Canyon)
Over the last three years, Tim Elverson has steadily made progress with his team and last year saw his riders on the podium with some stunning successes. None more so than Joe Fry’s win in one of the toughest Prems there is, the Tour of the Reservoir.
Rory Townsend made the podium in the Tour Series as well and the team had their first team victory as well. Great rides in the RAS, a 1-2 in the Chepstow GP, 3rd in the Chorley Grand Prix and results in other events as well made the season a very successful one.
The biggest challenge however was to replace his sponsor for 2017 and this he did with two big names in the sport coming on board, the Bike Channel and Canyon bikes.
On Sunday, Tim and six of his squad took to the Hampshire roads for the Perfs Pedal and pre race Tim admitted it was fantastic to be racing at last. “We arrived at the party late after having to commit to this late but fortunately we have some really good brands and partners and staff involved” Tim explained. “We started this two months later than we should have so it’s nice to finally be racing as ultimately, that’s why we do it”.
Whilst some will criticise a squad like Tim’s for racing an event like the Perfs, there is also the view that it shows respect for the race by them racing it and it would be great to see more big teams and high profile riders racing it. After all, over the years there has been some very successful riders race the event, Wiggo for one, Sean Yates, Julian Winn, Chris Newton, Luke Rowe, Andy Fenn, Rob Hayles and others.
It’s such a high profile race, anyone entering it will know that there is a strong possibility the pros will turn up so really no one can complain. Should other pro teams line up for the race, it would only make the profile of an already high profile event even bigger but that said, many of the teams are restricted by budgets, a race programme further afield or training camps with an eye on the big picture and the major events starting at the beginning of April.
Tim admits that his team, being on the start with six possible winners, were expected to do well but would have preferred to have seen other pro teams there. “It would have been good if One Pro or some other UCI teams rolled out here because it would be much easier if there were 12 or 18 riders from pro teams pressing on. Here, it’s six against 79 and there’s responsibility on the team and me from sponsors and the public to do well, to win, and we did with six good really good guys in the race.”
One of the title sponsors, Canyon, provided the bikes and the Perfs was the first big shake down for them. The riders were on their race bikes for the first time, which provides its own challenges but as expected, there were no issues and Tim and the riders were pleased with their weapons for the event.
“The race bike is fantastic” says Tim “and the wheel combination is also fantastic. We’re also testing tubeless tyres at the minute”.
Challenged but still victorious
The Eddie Soens last year was proof that the big teams don’t always get it their own way when they don’t have the numbers or a course to really do some damage in a race. Look at the Prem results and the big teams do dominate the top step by and large but at the Perfs, despite a challenge from youngsters like Jacob Vaughan (2nd) and Jack Billyard (4th), Tim got his race win thanks to Chris Opie.
“We raced hard and learnt a lot about the bikes and our team performance” he said afterwards. “I was very pleased we took the win, but more importantly very pleased as to how this new team pulled together and bonded. It’s early days but the future looks like fun.”
“Our season is rolling now. We have a team launch next week and then from the beginning of March, we’re pretty much racing until the end of September”.
That racing will include the major events in Britain including the road races and the crit series. From April, that racing gets very intense indeed with major road races every weekend through April until the start of the three week Tour Series which is rumoured to be travelling as far north as Aberdeen in Scotland with as many as three races a week for the three weeks. To cope with such a demanding schedule will require a strong squad and Tim is confident his will be equal to the task.
“Across the last few years, we’ve been a largely crit team but last year I changed that and we had success on the road as well. This year, I feel I have improved the squad again where we were weaker, so I think we have a good blend. We’ll be doing the Tour Series and RAS (Ireland) at the same time and I think we’ll be strong in both.”
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“For the Tour Series, on paper, JLT have a fantastic line up but they’re all good and it’s about playing the game and the tactics and I think we have a strong squad for it. We’re going to it with the aim of winning it. We have improved every year and I think we are stronger bringing in riders like James Lowsley Williams, Chris Opie and Matt Nowell and Sam Lowe too.”
Tim’s team will be going to Holland early March to race an event there, 190km, and he explains that races like that will give his team the chance to race fast and also long before the Prems and the Tour de Yorkshire selection which he hopes to make this year.
“The races in Holland and Belgium will give the guys some experience and a chance to get an early result and get the team name out there pre Tour of Yorkshire selection. We didn’t want to travel too far and the budget is an element of that. Holland and Belgium are easy for us as we can get there easier than most of the British races, so we’ll do a few Dutch events and Belgium as well.”
Good luck to the team and we hope also to see some of the squad racing locally in the coming six weeks before the racing really gets going. Thanks to Tim for the chat.
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