Feature: From Champion to DS – Mike Northey (Madison Genesis)

After a heart problem saw him go from being a rider and rushed into service as a DS at Madison Genesis, Mike Northey returns in 2017 ready to lead the team to success

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Feature: From Champion to DS – Mike Northey (Madison Genesis)

In 2016, only months after winning the New Zealand Circuit Race Championship for the third time, Mike Northey, then a rider with Madison Genesis, announced his retirement from the sport due to a heart condition and became a DS with the team.

His role with the team soon carried more responsibility as Dave Povall moved on and Roger Hammond was concentrating on working for Dimension Data. That left Mike, along with Joan Horrach, to look after the team last year.

“It was pretty daunting at the time but now everything is place and I’m getting used to it” Mike explained prior to the 2017 season starting. “I’m not so nervous about it all now. Having Rus and Chuck here with me helps a great deal. We all get on well together and help each other out which makes for smooth sailing”.

Going back to the time he was making the transition from being a key rider in the team, a winning rider for the squad as well, to being a DS took some getting used to as he explained. “At first it was quite hard sitting on the truck and you feel like a rider and then realise, there’s stuff I need to be doing because I’m not racing. It did become second nature though by the end of the season”.

The 2016 season was a good one for the team with many key victories. “It did all work out really well last season and that was down to the team of riders we have; a team rather than a group of individuals as everyone has the team’s interest at heart”.

Mike with Erick Rowsell at the Tour of Britain last year

Looking at the 2017 line up which has seen some new signings like Alex Paton, Richard Handley, Connor Swift and Jonny McEvoy, Mike is confident the team is now even stronger. “We have added strength to the team with some all-round riders. Richard (Handley) has been top 10 in the Tour of Yorkshire and won Tour Series rounds and there are not many riders in the UK who can do that so he’s an impressive rider and we’re happy to have signed him.”

Asked was the signing of the riders a difficult new task for some one new to being a DS, Mike replied “not really, signing riders was more about emails coming and going rather than going out and speaking to riders”.

“Alex Paton came to us via Roger (Hammond) who had spoken to him and missed out on signing him previously. Having been a rider recently, I also knew who was strong and how they are as guys in the bunch and stuff”.

“That was one benefit from having been a rider recently but it was also about results and a massive part of it was getting guys who were going to gel. We didn’t want riders that no-one wanted to room with for example or don’t get on with the guys here.”

Mike is the main director sportif for the team but explained how Joan Horrach and the well known mechanic Chuck will also help out when the team has a split racing programme like at the RAS for example which clashes with the Tour Series as always.

Mike explained how Chuck, more known for his tinkering on the Genesis bikes, has a lot of experience in the team car which is a key part of being a DS. “He’s also passionate about cycling and raced too and although not at this level, he does understand racing”.

Wearing the Madison Genesis colours as champion of New Zealand

When asked was he nervous about returning as DS for 2017, Mike says he didn’t feel any pressure because he wanted to be here with the team. “It was my decision on whether I wanted to return and Madison UK, a huge company in Britain, must like what I do and it’s good that Dom and Kellie enjoy what we do in the team”.

“So I knew I’d be coming back and it was like my project this time, choosing the races with the riders and so on rather than stepping in to where some where else has left off. I’m looking forward to the season this year and it’s fun being with the guys.”

Finally, was Mike back on the bike? “I’m in the gym and rehab and riding when the weather is nice, just riding and not racing. I do miss pinning the number on though and enjoy riding with the guys and the battle we have between races”.

The team are currently racing the Tour of Normandie. After that says Mike, the team will be straight into the British races. “We’re also doing Tro Bro (French CiCLE Classic style race) straight after Chorley on Saturday.”

“That’s new and exciting for us and we are doing a few races which I did with Node 4 too. When Rutland is on, we’re doing a race in Holland same again when Velothon is on. Keeping the riders racing is important. I don’t want them being at home and not racing so keeping everyone busy and not feeling like they are missing out is a big aim.”

Good luck to Mike with the team in 2017 ….




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