Feature: Madison Genesis Team Launch

On Thursday, the riders and manager for the 2018 Madison Genesis UCI team were presented to the public in their new colours – VeloUK was there and spoke to DS Colin Sturgess

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Feature: Madison Genesis Team Launch

On Thursday, the riders and manager for the 2018 Madison Genesis UCI team were presented to the public in their new colours – VeloUK was there…

With a new bike in new colours (above) as well, the team were introduced one at a time before Laura Winter interviewed a few of them on stage. The public then got their chance to ask a question of the riders before the show was done and the riders joined the public for a ride around Milton Keynes on roads I used to ride myself when I pedalled a bike in anger.

Before they did that, I spoke to the DS/Manager, Colin Sturgess, a former World Champion on the track, British champion on the road and pro racer in Europe. His experience as a rider and as a coach is all going into the melting pot for his task of getting the riders winning in 2018 and achieving their goals.

Summing up his team of riders, Colin explained how the team, aside from one or two, consists of riders who have been pros for a few years now and know the ropes but that hasn’t stopped a few surprising Colin who has seen a lot of domestic racing over the past few years with Metaltek Kuota.

“Matt (Holmes) we knew would be fantastic in the hills and he asked if he could have a go in the sprints too and I said of course so we slotted him in and he did surprise us all and was up there with the fast finishers. Then, in the mountains and a rider more known for his crit success, George Atkins took off up the road and no one caught him so he’s going well”

“Then you have Connor (Swift) who is absolutely screaming fit; it doesn’t matter if you put a wall in front of him, he gets up it. It’s a very versatile team where there is no one leader – instead we have leaders, all winners and they all will win. For a DS, it is such a fantastic feeling to know 12 out of 12 in his team can win bike races…”

Video: full interview with Colin

The majority of the riders in the team, and Colin, had just returned from the first of two training camps in Calpe. Asked how that went, Colin explained “It went very very well. Neil van der Ploeg and Taylor Gunman were missing but we had the other ten. Our new recruit, poor Isaac, was a bit ill but he still acquitted himself well and got stuck in where he could and it’s great to get started.”

The first camp for this team is traditionally one to get to know each other after a long break but as Colin explains, there was still some hard work to be done. “Make no bones about it, there were a few very hard days and was I happy to see the boys get stuck in and taking chunks out of themselves.”

One of the teams star riders in 2017, Connor Swift

“We tempered that with a couple of very structured days doing Vo2 and higher zone stuff, shorter days but with good recovery, massage, and team bonding. We had a barbeque one night, a few beers, couple of glasses of wine, and that is what you need. You still come out of the camp with some good mileage and some good quality work but also as a more cohesive unit and hopefully a few friendships rekindled and made”.

Colin also took the time to get in some riding time after a quiet xmas period. “It was good for me too as I was able to ride my bike with them and have a look at them. It’s important for me with my coaching hat on, to ride next to someone in a group, watch how they sit on a wheel, watching what they do, how they save energy, how they don’t, are they wasteful, are they busy on a bike, how are they recovering and how are they prepping for tomorrow”.

The next training camp in Calpe is already underway after the riders left for Spain the morning after the team launch. This next training camp is more serious with more structured training planned and selection for the first races to be made which is one of the most difficult tasks for a DS like Colin.

“It’s 12 days, the classic three on, one off (days), very structured, shorter stuff to start with, rest day, big bloc in the middle, (nearly 20 hours in 3 days) and then shorter sharper stuff at the end with specifics being done where the riders are split into smaller groups, some guys riding more the flat roads and doing sprint based stuff and some of the guys going out and doing hill reps. High end stuff and getting that speed in there with race simulation”
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Once the camp is finished on March 6, it is time to race! “A few of the boys have entered the Roy Thame and Jock Wadley and a few other national Bs” says Colin. “After that, we’re over to the Tour of Normandy, a hardmans race where the weather can be horrendous and I have a hard job to select for that race.”

“I’m not looking at that race as preparation for the Tour of Yorkshire because there is a big gap in between them so I am looking at them as two very different races. We will probably have a selection of the flat fast road sprinters in Normandy and the mountain goats for Yorkshire.”

Colin than explained with the cost of running a dual programme running away with team’s budgets these days, Colin says he wants riders not selected for a team target race to support local races like national Bs, time trials, if they are not racing, why not? “They need to get out and ride a 10 or 25 and if they don’t like time trials, go and ride a local crit – do something and don’t just sit there thinking I should be riding such and such a race”.

Whilst riding other UCI races outside of Britain is still a goal for Colin and the team, his race programme is pretty much set in stone from the races in Britain they have to ride. “The Tour Series is massive for us. We want to go in there and take it to JLT, and we want that mantle back. I want to see these guys on the podium, racing to win, and I know it will be a good battle with the other teams too like Canyon, One Pro, and so on. They are all going to be vying it as we all need points and victories”.

Video of the Team Launch

And will Colin be racing too when he isn’t on team duty? “Yes. I didn’t do much at Christmas and the new year and have now pulled my socks up and got on the bike with the lads at the training camp. I stayed on in Calpe and got a big block of riding in because the best way to get to know your riders and impart that knowledge is to do that on the bike so I will do some days in the car but some days on the bike too.”

Colin added he’ll also do the odd race like time trials, road races and then post Tour of Britain, some LVRC or TLI events and says “you never know, I might do the Masters tour of Majorca again!”

Good luck to Colin and all the team for 2018.





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