Feature Interview: Colin Sturgess

He was World Champion on the Track, and has ridden classics like Paris-Nice but for 2018, Colin Sturgess will be DS at Madison Genesis

RST Cycle Clothing & Trigon Bikes

Feature Interview: Colin Sturgess

Track world champion in 1989, British road champion in 1990 and a rider who has ridden classics like Paris-Nice as well as the Road Worlds, Colin Sturgess will be DS at Madison Genesis next season.

Colin in full race face mode flat stick in the Hill Climb Championship wearing the colours of his new team, Madison Genesis

It is a career reborn and his story is quite a read and a little time on google search will present some interesting stories on the challenges that Colin has overcome to be where he is today in a good place. There’s a link to one of the excellent articles at the foot of this feature.

After a little pedal in anger at the Mallorca Masters for Mike Jones at Team Rhino where Colin used both his DS and pedalling skills to help his team have a successful race, he then followed that up by ‘enjoying’ the buzz of doing his first hill climb championship. Colin is now looking forward to being the DS at Madison Genesis which has been a force in domestic racing for five seasons.

Colin’s story has a touch of the fairytale about it as life hasn’t been the smoothest of roads but for a few years now, he has been seen at races looking after the riders at Metaltek Kuota and even getting in the odd race himself.

Now, he’s stepping up to DS for a UCI team that has been one of the most successful domestically for quite a few years now. Unsurprisingly he admits things are going great now. “It’s been a lot of hard work and there have been some dark times but to come out the other side and have the opportunity working with Andy Swain for a few years and now Madison Genesis, it has given me a lot of purpose for the future. It’s fantastic”.

Whilst Colin’s deeds at winning a World Championship on the track are synonymous whenever his name is mentioned, he did have a pro career in Europe on the road and when I asked him to name drop some races, the first was quite a big one – Paris-Nice which was his first pro event. Colin also rode many a Belgian semi classic like Three days of Depanne, E3, along French race Four Days of Dunkirk as well our national tour, the Tour of Britain. He also rode the Worlds twice.

Colin’s pro teams including Greg Lemond’s ADR squad, Tulip Computers and he then went to ride for one of the late 90’s biggest British teams in Team Brite and also Men’s Health where as ever, nothing was ever as smooth as it should be, something that still happens today.

“My road racing was always one of my strong points but I was lucky enough to be a good all-rounder” he explained over a drink at the Stocksfield Cricket Club after the Hill Climb Champs. “I could win on the track, in time trials and on the road thanks to having a good sprint. Couldn’t climb though!”

One of the stories (there are a lot!) that came out whilst we spoke which is pretty dam impressive was his comp record ride in the 10; doing an ‘18’ on a steel 753 road bike, 53×13 gearing, ie, no tri bars but there was an aero helmet! “You could have ridden my bike that I broke the 10 mile record on in any road race” he says before adding, all I did was add a pair of 28s (spokies)”.
… continued after advert


Colin was racing around the same time in the 1980s as another manager of a British UCI team, John Herety. “John and I were in the same era in the 1980s, racing on the road and then I was very lucky to ride under him on the national squad around 98-99 time so I looked up to him massively. I know there’s a bit of rivalry between JLT and Madison Genesis and that’s great, I hold him in respect and I’m sure he does me too, so I’m just looking forward to giving it a good nudge next year”.

Having ridden so much in Europe and domestically as well, Colin is able to bring a lot of experience to the job from races in the 80’s, 90’s and also as a DS the last few years here in Britain. “I’m not going into the job for one second thinking I know everything about the sport but it’s good to go into the role having the confidence of knowing a lot about the racing here”.

“I’m not a DS who is dictatorial, I am quite democratic, I ask questions, and I think that is important in a DS role. I think being a rider helps tremendously. I re-read Alan Peiper’s book this weekend and in that he recalls the time when he started as a DS for Lotto, and I am thinking, ‘you’re a rider who knows his riders’, and I think that is important to get the best out of the boys which in turn keeps the sponsors happy, and the team prospers for the future.”

Colin certainly helped his team for the last few years, Metaltek Kuota, achieve some memorable results and no surprise one of the highlights was a rider from a non UCI team winning a UCI race – Dan Fleeman winning the CiCLE Classic.

“Every single rider on our team this year put in. They really acquitted themselves well. We had some misfortunes with injuries and illness but Fleeman’s ride at the Cicle Classic, and more importantly than that, the team unity in that race. The riders and the staff/helpers. We knew as a team we were giving the riders every opportunity to go into the race with a chance and they took it”.

The time with Metaltek Kuota has certainly given Colin a great grounding for the challenges that lay ahead and Colin admits his being around the races for a few years now means a lot as not only does he know the riders and how they race and how the races are raced but the riders know him too.

“I think that is important” he explains. If I went to a UCI team in Italy, they would go who is this old English guy whereas here, the riders I am going to work with know me and I now have the chance to get to know them better as a person which is really important”.

Colin explained he got the opportunity of the DS job knowing the current DS Mike Northey and it was him that put Colin’s name forward for the position. “While I was at Metaltek Kuota, Mike Northey and I hit it off. I’ve known Mike a couple of years now and respected him and always got on with him. We started speaking latterly in 2017 and he said he’d put my name forward as a possibility and the rest is history.”

Joining the Madison Genesis team well before the start of the 2018 season means he has time to take care of a lot of the background stuff. “This time of year it’s UCI administration, crossing the t’s dotting the i’s, getting everything right now so the rest of the season runs smoothly. Basically planning the season, plan a strategy around that and just get into it”.

When asked is it all about winning races, Colin replies: “It is but it’s also about the way we do it. I like riders that win with panache; and riders who think things through. Brute strength will get you so far but intelligence will get you further as a bike rider than any of that.”

“Looking down the team for 2018, we’ve got a fantastic mix – some youngsters, some wise old heads and some of the best in the country in there – we’ve got options and I like that.

Connor Swift winning for Madison Genesis in 2017 and back in the colours in 2018

Madison Genesis 2018 team roster:
Riders who re-signed: Taylor Gunman, Rich Handley, Matt Holmes, Tobyn Horton, Johnny McEvoy, Erick Rowsell, Connor Swift
New for 2018: George Atkins, Mike Cuming, Isaac Mundy, Neil van der Ploeg (Aussie), George Pym

Whilst the calendar for 2018 is yet to be published, based on this year and those before it, Colin says the races they will be targeting include The Tour of Britain and the Tour de Yorkshire. “They are both important. We’ve got riders that could – given everything going right – end up on the podium on a stage or top-10 overall in Yorkshire. We need to target the Tour Series again – obviously because it’s a qualification event for the Tour of Britain, but also because it is televised. Then there’s the racing aspect – we had a great battle with JLT this year and to win the series again would be amazing”.

Since the team was launched in 2013, the team have been one of the country’s best performing squads and asked how it feels to take that on, Colin replies “Yeah, it’s daunting but I’ve been there. I know the steps that need to be taken, I know the pressure on riders and I am happy to take that on and help them through.”

5th overall in the Tour of Yorkshire and close to some big wins like at Ryedale, Matt Holmes is another of the riders retained at Madison Genesis

“We have such a great foundation, a library of resources to draw on to help these guys improve; they just have to take the choice of stepping up. Ultimately, that’s what we’re there for to give them the steps to be able to improve and to be able to ride their bikes faster and harder and longer and progress”.

Moving on to talk about the domestic racing season, Colin says “I see the national race scene in a good place. I personally think the season could be longer as I don’t think that finishing the season mid-August with the Leicester kermesse is the way forward (rumour is Ryedale GP is said to be at the end of August in 2018). I’d love to see a couple of more one-day UCI races here – another CiCLE Classic, or another Beaumont Trophy”.

“Sponsorship is tight but we are incredibly fortunate to have this team and everything behind us. That puts us in a very strong position. There are good teams out there that are really struggling and it’s not getting easier. It can only be good for the sport in general to have several teams in the UK scene because we don’t want to be a big fish in a small pond. That doesn’t help anybody”.
… continued after advert


What teams will exist in 2018 is still to be confirmed but the rumour mill is certainly lively at the moment. Two of the UCI teams, JLT Condor and Madison Genesis, have confirmed their line ups and sponsors whilst we wait to hear what is happening to the other teams.

Wiggins is said to be an under 23 team for 2018 whilst One Pro Cycling is said to be downsizing a little but on the road which is good to hear. Cherie Pridham Racing (Raleigh GAC this year) is said to have a team organised too. Russell Downing will be heading up a Holdsworth team whilst this morning, there was news that Brother NRG will be Ribble Pro Cycling. The St Piran team is also rumoured to be strengthened with at least one ‘name’ in it whilst a couple of other existing teams are said to be talking about a merger. Finally, Bike Channel Canyon is also expected to be on the road but with a change of name.

How accurate these rumours are will be revealed in the coming weeks and months but one thing is for sure, the British scene will see the return of two of the strongest teams, JLT Condor and Madison Genesis and the only question will be is whether the gap between the haves and have nots is growing but as Metaltek Kuota showed in 2017, it doesn’t matter what your budget is, if the riders are willing to fight hard and long, the win could come from any one of the teams that line up in 2018.

I for one will look forward to seeing how Madison Genesis fare under the guidance of Colin who certainly got the best from his team this year. Thanks to Colin for the chat… look forward to the next one!

Also: Former world champion Colin Sturgess endured his life falling apart but is now back on track (from April 2017) 



Send your results as well as club, team & event news here


Other Results on VeloUK (including reports containing results)

Other News on VeloUK

Tags: , ,