Team Bosses: Storey Racing’s Sarah Storey

At the Eddie Soens recently, Sarah Storey and her team had their launch after the racing and we spoke to team boss, Dame Sarah Storey

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Team Bosses: Storey Racing’s Sarah Storey

With a UCI team in 2018, Sarah Storey is no stranger to having her own team. The most successful British paralympian in the sports history, Sarah not only juggles being a mum and team owner, but also racing and looking to get back to peak fitness in 2018.

Asked how her latest team, Storey Racing, came about, Sarah explained “After Rio 2016, we had been running a previous team called Podium Ambition which folded and people were saying to me, you can’t stop, if you are going onto Tokyo, you need to have a team and what about following in the footsteps of Bradley Wiggins and taking your name to the team”.

“That was a really daunting prospect if I am honest. I was sat with Barney on holiday debating what we should do and after agreeing to start the team, we began by designing the logo which we wanted to be about the heartbeat of the team.”

“Our ethos for the team is ‘Best version of You’, being the best you can be as an individual regardless of what you do so we started like that and built it up from there by first talking to our existing partners and then went out and found some new partners as well”.

“Last year was about seeing where we were. We started out as a club team and after having had a UCI team, there was now no pressure on anyone and we wanted to have fun racing.”

Fun they had for sure because success came their way and Chanel Mason was soon leading the National Women’s Series. “Chanel was relatively unknown and came to the team about three weeks before she got on the podium at the Tour of the Wolds” Sarah explained.

Ffion James, Anna Kay, Beth Crumpton and Chanel Mason

“She’s an amazing rider and we supported her though the national series, and then in the Tour Series we saw EJ (Harris) and Neah (Evans) being that dynamic duo (1-2 in round 5) and then before we knew it, Lizzy Banks had joined us, so we had two leaders in the women’s national series”.

The team though didn’t stick to only racing in Britain though and when they got the opportunity to race in Germany at Thüringen, Sarah and Barney continued to build the team from there. A look through the team for 2018 and it is packed with riders who have made a name for themselves in cycle sport. The riders are:

Dame Sarah Storey
Rebecca Durrell
Beth Crumpton
Monica Dew
Hannah Dines
Neah Evans
Ffion James
EJay Harris
Anna Kay
Chanel Mason
Joscelin Lowden
Emily Nelson

Talking about a line up with a lot of strength in depth, Sarah explained “when it came to signing riders for this year, we were able to sign new riders like Anna (Kay) and Ffion (James) who are young and talented in cross as well as road”.

“We signed the experience of Rebecca Durrell too and a new and emerging talent in Jos Lowden as well as Emily Nelson who has been ever so successful for Great Britain. It is fantastic to have such a strong team and we’re UCI registered this year too although we’re probably the smallest UCI team”. “People say you shouldn’t be UCI if you don’t have a big budget and we were in two minds on what was best because some of the biggest races in the World are in the UK and unless you’re a UCI team, you can’t race them”.

Jos Lowden and Rebecca Durrell

“So we have riders who are UK based and have other strings to their bow and are quite happy having them and building their future outside of cycling. What we’re doing is providing them with an opportunity in cycling and should they do really well, perhaps they’ll get a pro contract. So we’re providing them with a springboard if you like to the pro teams”.

“Like Lizzy Banks came from us and springboarded into UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling who we know well knowing Rachel Heal (now married and Rachel Hedderman) who I raced with when I first started.”

“It is nice to have to have the opportunity to be based in the UK and have the UCI opportunity and as out budget grows, we’ll have more opportunity. We live within our means and do what we can afford and do the best we can”.
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Sarah then explained that getting the opportunity to ride the major women’s events is ever so important for the development of her team. “Races like the Women’s Tour are huge. It’s the Tour everyone wants to be in in the UK as it’s World Tour, the highest ranking it can be.”

“Alongside the Tour of Yorkshire and Ride London which we also hope we can ride, we should have a really good calendar in the UK and we’ll also look for key opportunities abroad”.

Storey Racing also have their eye on the World Championships. “We have Boardman Bikes as our bike sponsors and they have an incredible history in time trials so we’d like to go to the Worlds for the Team Time Trial as we have some great time trialists in the team and I need to get my work back up and keep up with them again”.

Sarah then explained that whilst in Paracycling, it is about her, the team provides her with a new role and that is working for the team. “It is great to have the girls around me first and foremost. The team is here because I need a team to be able to race and it gives us the opportunity to develop riders and give them racing opportunities”.
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“I now have a great team around me and can be a support worker because when I race in paracyling races, it’s really about what I am doing so it’s great to be able to be a domestique and pull on the front of races, lead out or whatever. It is not about me but making sure I have a job to do that will help me develop whilst everyone else is developing too”.

So finally, in a team full of winners, how does the team go about picking a leader for races? “Everyone wants to win bike races of course so we choose races that will suit different types of riders at different times like today (Soens) this is flat so will be suited to those who can sprint like Rebecca and EJ and if it’s a hilly race, we have Jos in there and me when I am fit so we can work off each other.”

“With previous teams, I think we have been able to have every one of the riders on the podium in a given year which is part of our achievement and so everyone gets their chance. We don’t have an out and out leader and we will look to be flexible in our race plans.”

Good luck to the team in 2018 and thank you to Sarah for the chat.






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