Tour of Britain Rider Chat: Graham Briggs

Chatting to Graham Briggs of JLT Condor who has made the break for the third day in a row at the Tour of Britain


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Tour of Britain Rider Chat: Graham Briggs

As I write this, I am seeing on social media how Graham Briggs, no mean sprinter after all, is dominating the sprints for the points on offer on the third stage of the Tour of Britain.

For the third day running, ‘Brigga’ is in the break in an all British breakaway with teammate Ian Bibby, Matt Holmes of Madison Genesis, Pete Williams and Harry Tanfield. Before the start, Graham was one of the riders I caught up with.

I said to him he must have plenty of energy to be in the breaks two days in a row (three now) and he replied, “I have wasted some as well” he said with a smile. “It’s good for the team for the colours to be on TV and it’s a massive race for our sponsors. For me too to get up the road.”

I asked ‘Brigga’ if it was tempting to be in the break today which will for a lot of the stage be on roads he knows well. “I recced the first part of the stage because I don’t really know the first 20K or so, so I recced that last week and all the rest of the roads I know as they are training roads, week in, week out.”

“It’s flat, certainly flatter than the last two stages have been! So I am motivated to get out there again.”

“The first day I got in the break, I was regretting it from the first pedal stroke. Then yesterday, I felt so much better. It was hard but cruisey hard rather than up and down. It was a tough day out but I’ll soon find out if the legs have recovered this morning!”

Ian Bibby and Graham Briggs fighting for the points – Photo Copyright: Simon Wilkinson

On making the team, Graham explained, “It was a feat to get into the six man team for this race and it’s my first stage race of the season. One of my goals this year was to do a ride at the Nationals to prove to myself I could compete with those guys and did that and since then it’s been full gas ever since then to stay on it and get a place in the Tour of Britain. It’s the biggest race of the year so to be in it and riding alongside my heros from the Tour de France, is amazing.”

His preparation for the Tour of Britain hasn’t been text book though! “I did the two crits, one in Astana and then Copenhagen. So it has been a busy period traveling to Kazakhstan and then Copenhagen and then France so it has been hectic before the Tour of Britain.”
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“I’d got some good training in leading up to Kazakhstan, and then my rest days were travel days so not really a rest day! But I can’t complain, and I’m healthy.“

Finally, I asked what Graham’s role is in the race for his team – ie, is it just to get in breaks? “yes, my key role is to get in the breakaways. I said to John I really wanted a spot in the team and he asked what I could bring to the team for the race and I replied I could go for a jersey so that has been the aim since June.”

“So there have been a lot of sacrifices of family time and it’s been hard but I am here and fighting for a jersey so I’ll keep doing that. With the time bonuses here, it hasn’t been easy to get points for the jerseys. John has been giving me some feedback watching it on the tele and I have been trying to save too much rather than going full gas and that may have cost me the jersey so far”.

I then added he has lost a little time on GC which will help his cause of the teams letting him go and he replied “they sent me the wrong way yesterday and I ended up going towards the sprint with 3k to go and ended up losing 12 minutes. But I’m not bothered about losing time …”

Updated post stage – talking about his third day in the breakaway, Graham says – “I saw Ian (Bibby) go and the teams were closing it down and I managed to squeeze through. It was good to have a teammate in the breakaway and he led me out for the sprints and for the KoM’s”

“The jersey isn’t just for me but Ian as well as its not just about the individual, there is a lot of teamwork that goes into it.”

Asked how his legs are feeling after three days in the break, Graham replied “tender”. When Rob Hayles then asked does that mean two massages, Graham replied “two deserts” with a smile. “And a red wine” ….

Asked if he had thought there was potential to take both jerseys before the stage, Graham replied “Yes and luckily none of the other guys in the points were in the break so it worked out well.”

On whether he’ll be going for a fourth day in the break to secure at least one of the jerseys, Graham replied, I haven’t even thought about that yet, I’ll see how the legs feel tonight!”




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