News: JLT Condor Head for Portugal

John Herety taking his team to an 11 day stage race at Portugal’s UCI 2.1 ranked national tour

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News: JLT Condor Head for Portugal

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On the 4th of August, eight of the JLT Condor riders will take on the major challenge of competing in Portugal’s national tour over 11 stages including the prologue.

The riders, Ian Bibby, James Gullen, Steve Lampier, Edmund Bradbury, Ali Slater, Russell Downing, Alex Frame & Ed Laverack will be competing in temperatures in the high 30s or higher which for many will take them back to the start of the year in Bendigo where it was just as hot as prepared for another stage race, the Aussie Sun Tour.

With four summit finishes in the Portuguese Tour, John Herety has taken his climbers to the race like the very successful Ian Bibby and whilst he admits he isn’t expecting great success there, he is hopeful that in the prologue for example, over only five kilometres, a rider like Alex Frame may deliver the result he is hoping for there. The stages in the race are:

The Stages
Prologue: 5.4km
Stage 1: 203km
Stage 2: 215km
Stage 3: 163km
Stage 4: 153km – Summit finish
Stage 5: 180km – Summit finish
Stage 6: 183km
Stage 7: 162km – Summit finish
Stage 8: 159km
Stage 9: 184km – Summit finish
Stage 10: Time Trial 20.1 km

When asked why Portugal, John replied “we decided to do something different and more challenging. This team has ridden in Asia and Australia as well as Europe and after the three major Tours, Portugal is the next biggest one to be honest being 11 days long. So it will be extremely challenging for us but we are looking forward to that challenge”.

John admits that a wildcard entry getting into the race wasn’t easy despite the line-up of teams not being full of household names. In face there are no household name teams in the race but as Portugal’s National Tour, John expects it to be very competitive indeed saying that the race is massive for the local teams.

“I am told, the crowds for the Tour of Portugal are as big if not bigger than the Tour de France” John explained. “It’s their national tour, one that catches the public’s imagination and has been going for 90 or so years so.”

“So we are looking forward to it and not expecting results although Alex Frame may do something in the prologue in Lisbon and perhaps Bibby on a stage. The race has a time trial as well at the end so hopefully Gullen will still be in the race then”.

The race is certainly one that will be eating into John’s budget with a total of 18 people on the race, and their vehicles and motorhome. Add to that equation, the team also have events in Britain, Copenhagen and other countries as well, so despite it being a quiet period for the local teams in the UK, for John, this is one of his busiest in the run-up to the Tour of Britain.

And speaking of that race, one where he says his team can’t be beaten in the qualification race to be part of that event, John adds that because the parcour for the Tour of Britain is ‘flatter’ than usual, not all those in the Portugal team will get a ride in the British tour where the race has six man teams.

The Portuguese race though will give his teams riders the chance to be successful in a high ranking race just like Bibby was in Velothon Wales and add to the success the team has had in 2017 during a season John says is his team’s most successful since the Dean Windsor, Zak Dempster(also in Portugal for another team and Tom Southam era.
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His new signing in 2017, Brenton Jones has won at least nine events this year but John insists that although his team looks packed with winners, that doesn’t mean his wage bill for such talent is higher than what some other teams are paying in Britain. Instead, the money saved on wages is used to give his riders a good race programme such as the stage races they have done this year.

But one thing John’s team has shown is that when he has so much talent at his disposal, there isn’t a lot more to go round the other teams and John agrees that the depth of talent in the sport here in Britain isn’t great citing the victory of a junior in the Crit champs, Tom Pidcock (an exceptional rider John agrees) as an example of that being a wake up call to the rest.

For now though, the crits are done and dusted by and large and the focus is now on the challenge in getting through the Tour of Portugal and then onto the Tour of Britain where Brenton Jones may well be one rider in his team to do well.

John is well known for bringing Australian and New Zealand riders to the UK and said he knew that Brenton would fit in well in the crits having seen him race over the last few years but the bonus has been Brenton’s wins on the road as well. The Australian rider’s next challenge will be the Ryedale Grand Prix, never a sprinter’s race but after his season, who knows what he will do on the Yorkshire roads.

Good luck to the riders in Portugal flying the British flag



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