Chat: Pete Hargroves (Team Owner)

Pete Hargroves talks to VeloUK about changes to his racing team for 2017 as it looks to help local riders

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Chat: Pete Hargroves (Team owner)

You will, I expect, be familiar with names like Owain Doull, Dan Mclay, Jon Dibben, Ian Field and others who race at the highest level in world cycling. Another familiar name that links them all is Hargroves, a team they have all ridden for and in the case of Ian Field, still do.

Abergavenny National Trophy and Pete Hargroves is there to chat to his star rider Ian Field after he won his race.

The person responsible for that team is Pete Hargroves, a former rider who during the winter can be found at many a cyclo-cross race with his team which in 2017 is called ‘Hargroves Cycles Ridley Montezuma’s.

Pete is the owner of one of the country’s biggest cycle retailers, Hargroves Cycles, which began in Southampton in 1981 and is a name synonymous with putting something back into the sport in a big way.

Dan McLay wins the British Junior RR title in the Hargroves Cycles colours

It’s in cyclo-cross where the brand is best known but for many years they also had a crack Junior road squad from where the names Dan Mclay, Owain Doull and Jon Dibben (to name but three) came from. In 2017, there have been some changes for the team and we spoke to Pete about those.

He explained how a local youth team, the Solent Pirates from Portsmouth, were (still are) being very successful in encouraging kids to ride their bikes, especially girls, and is a team that has had a lot of success in racing.

But, like a lot of teams for young riders, when the kids outgrew the team, they had no-where to go so a separate team was created in 2016, ‘Hargroves Cycles Montezumas’s ‘ where these juniors and others had the opportunity to get support from people whose experience in the sport is among the best in the world.

It was a successful season so for 2017, the boss of Montezuma’s, herself a successful rider, Helen Pattinson and husband Simon, approached Pete Hargroves about combining the team and so the Hargroves Cycles Ridley Montezuma’s squad was formed for this year. It fitted the goals that Peter wanted for the team and that was to go back to its roots and help local riders whilst also having a team with some of the best riders in the country.

The move means that some of the riders coming to the team from Solent Pirates for example, will be in the same team kit as heros like Ian Field which is a huge motivation for them. On top of that though, it means riders like Ian and others such as Peter can also pass on their experience to the young riders and their families to help them get the most from their racing.

“For those riders to be in the same jersey as riders like Ian Field, it was like wow for them” explained Peter. “Ian has also come down and done a training session already with the kids and so the team has ended up with, at one end having a national champion, and at the other, promising juniors as well as of course a very successful business woman and cyclo-cross rider in Helen Pattinson herself!” Pete told VeloUK.

Helen (right) on the podium in the national trophy with legend Isle Rowntree and winner on the day, Maddi Smith

Pete went on to say “the team can now continue to develop riders and help them fulfil their potential as we have done for many years. We ended up last year with a team that was pretty much all ‘national’ riders and none from the region. We looked at that and because the company is from here, and we’re one of the biggest retailers in the nation, we wanted to go back to our roots whilst not letting down the likes of Ian Field, Harry Yates and so on because they have been good ambassadors for the company.”

“So we came up with a solution by putting together this team where we can teach the riders to be better and the parents how to use a power washer and so on. Helen’s big passion for the sport is to develop young riders and she and Simon saw an opportunity to put in the funds to marry the expertise they needed with our team and so it works for all of us”.

Pete stressed despite the changes to the team name and expansion of it bringing in eight or nine local riders including Helen and up and coming Amy Perryman, that the ‘national’ part of the team is largely unchanged.

Ian and the team’s Ridley cross bikes complete with disc brakes

From Canti’s to Disc Brakes
The Hargroves Cycles team is in its fourth year with Ridley bikes and as an outsider, it was quite remarkable that when the team made the switch, one season there are loads of Specialized Crux in cross, the next, Ridley cross bikes! That’s some influence the team have on the market but one of the talking points has been the switch from canti cross brakes to disc ones.

Doing so is a big under taking by a team as big as Petes because, for example, they need to get all new wheels as well as frames but having Ridley on board made that switch possible Pete explained. “Last year we made the change from cantis to disc for most riders and the rest will be done this year. We are not finding any technical issues with them and not had one mechanical failure with them either”.

The riders for sure like Ian Field, are also pleased to have them for what was a fantastic season for the team. “We set out to try and win the National Trophy and National Championship and by the end of the season, we’d done both.”

“We went away from Shrewsbury the season before not as happy as we might have been when Ian was beaten by Liam, who was the better rider on the day. So we went away to see how to make Ian a better rider and we showed that”.

That fifth national title for the team and Ian had everything thrown at it in Bradford. “We made sure we left nothing left to chance that day. We made sure the bikes were as good as they could be, we had a spare jet washer, water barrel and also people all round the course so he had a time gap that was reliable. Ian had also been away and changed his training and thought about what he needed to do for this one hour finale for the team”.

Another star of the cross world, Jody Crawforth in the Hargroves Cycles colours

On the influence his chain of local bike shops have on the market, Pete says “we have five huge shops and Ridley is a large part of the cyclo-cross portfolio we sell. So we use our team to advertise the product and no doubt other dealers are gaining from it but that’s why Madison are doing it. For us, it is a thoroughly good cyclo cross product that we would recommend to anyone.”

“We’re using it here and around the world in the biggest races and it’s a bike that anyone can buy. They are not special builds so if you can afford it and pedal it as fast as Ian Field, it will go as fast as him!”

With the cyclo-cross season finished, and no junior road team, the riders are free to choose the discipline they race during the summer. “We have no policy as it is a cyclo-cross team but in general they will be mountain biking whilst Ian will also ride the road. Last year he rode RideLondon and quite a few Premier Calendar type races as he has the ability to do it. Harry too mostly rides the road.”

Pete meanwhile may well be spending his time racing four wheels around a tarmac track, quite a world away from cyclo-crossing in the mud and grass around Britain!

Thank you to Pete for the interview and also the support of VeloUK

The Hargroves Cycles stores; Five to choose from; Swindon, Southampton, Winchester, Fareham & Chichester




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