ToB Feature Interview – Canyon Eisberg boss Tim Elverson

Talking to Canyon Eisberg boss Tim Elverson about selecting a team for the Tour of Britain and why he selected who he has …

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ToB Feature Interview – Canyon Eisberg boss Tim Elverson

On Monday, Canyon Eisberg boss Tim Elverson announced his six-man squad for the Tour of Britain.

The riders are: Dexter Gardias, Alex Paton, Max Stedman, Andrew Tennant, Rory Townsend and Kiwi Ryan Christensen for the eight-day stage race. Elverson hopes he has struck the right balance to ensure another impressive performance from his team which won the Tour Series earlier in the year as well as a stage in the Tour of Yorkshire with Harry Tanfield.

Tim Elverson said: “I am excited to be on the run in to the Tour of Britain now. The guys have finished the British calendar well with Max producing a superb ride in the Ryedale Grand Prix (2nd). All that’s left is the Tour of Britain and we can’t wait to get started. We are really, really looking forward to it.”

“I’ve picked a team with the balance to get the most out of the stages which best suit us and the most out of the race. Hopefully, that is what the selection reflects and we will see what we can do from there.”

When VeloUK spoke to Tim at the Ryedale Grand Prix, he admits it was exceedingly difficult to pick only six riders. “I was stuck between giving the young riders who have had a good season an opportunity to do the race and the guys who can consistently get in a break who are also suited to one or more of the stages.”

“Looking at the parcour, we will have a GC rider (Stedman) and a rider to protect him (Christensen) and then everyone else is about getting in a break.” Asked about the parcour (route), Tim explained “it is very lumpy and not like last year for sure! With Team Sky picking Geraint Thomas, Chris Froome and Wout Poels, that says a lot as they are three hard core climbers”.

“There is a lot of climbing and a lot of climbs 20k or so from the finish. So we feel it suits Max who will be making his debut in the race and have recce’d a lot of it with him and Ryan who is capable of protecting him for a lot of the way. I’d love to see Max in the top 20 on GC and if it went really well for him, then perhaps an even higher GC position like top 15 or top 10”.

Max Stedman – the team’s rider for the GC

Tim added that the preparation for the riders in August has been good too. “We did some specific training for it and then some races all 200k plus and the type of standard we’ll be racing at; ie, 50k an hour average. We’ve also done races back-to-back so we have gone into some of them tired but the aim was preparation for the Tour of Britain so we have done the best we can on the budget we have and the guys are going into it optimistic they can have a good race.”

I then went through the riders with Tim starting with Andy Tennant (31) who is set to begin his ninth Tour of Britain, having made his debut in the race in 2006 – when he went on to finish 33rd overall. He rode the next five editions, collecting six top-20 stage finishes and a best general classification result of 20th in 2010.

Tennant missed the event in 2012 but made an impressive return in 2013 when he sprinted to 11th spot behind Elia Viviani, then of Cannondale, at Drumlanrig Castle. “If there are sprint stages and I think there are only a couple of them, we’ll protect him and give him a go. He showed his potential at the Veenendaal-Veenendaal Classic (1.1) getting 11th and I think he’d have been higher, inside the top 10, had he not got bumped with 400 to go.”

“He has proved he is okay in a bunch kick, has oodles of experience and we saw that at Veenendaal when he was surfing the wheels. We dropped him off around 1.5k to go and he did the rest himself. So Andy will look to a couple of stages, possibly the London stage for example, and also a break”.

Andy Tennant giving himself a really hard workout at the Ryedale GP on Sunday ahead of the Tour of Britain

Kiwi, 21-year-old Ryan Christensen, joined the team midway through the season and his job according to Tim is to look after Max Stedman. “We signed him in June and it feels like he has been with us all year. He’s a really good guy, very selfless, and a good worker which is what we need for Max.”

“Ryan climbs okay and he seems in good form too. His job will be to give Max a wheel if required and look after him all day long. It is mainly positioning and his vision as to when trouble is coming that he is very good at. He’ll be good at keeping Max in the right position at the right time”.

“He is also very good on the radio. He calls things early and seems to see things before they happen and I think that, because we don’t have the strength of some of the World Tour guys, so we need to be able to read the situation better than them and respond earlier than they do”.

Another of the team is Rory Townsend. “He’s been missing all year with injuries” Tim explained, adding “and he’s getting better and better. He was 19th in a 1.1 in Holland and is getting his legs under him. Rory is a good aggressive rider, so therefore, he’s there to get in moves.”

“I’m going to have four guys rotating to get in the moves. We’ll try and cherry pick some stages for specific riders if we can like we did for Harry in Yorkshire. So we’ll try and get a rider into a break that suits them so they have the best chance they can have”.

Next, Dexter Gardias (above). “He’s a good tour rider” says Tim. “His form doesn’t tend to drop across a week and he’s reliable so he can drop in and help Ryan with Max. And, on the lumpy stages, Dexter in a break could do a good job. He’s not had his best season but has got better since the nationals and he gives me a few options such as helping Max, or go up the road, and if a break sticks, he’s good for a long day out.”

The final rider we talked about was Alex Paton making his debut in the race. “He’s selected because he’s good at getting in a break. He sniffs the moves out and is aggressive at the start of a race and is also very good as a road captain. He communicates very well which when you have four guys trying to get in a break, it’s important to have that communication”.

Finally, talking about the selection process, when asked how long it has taken, Tim replied “since the minute we qualified until a minute ago! It has been difficult, because Jack Pullar has a good case for selection for example. Louis Rose-Davies did well at the RAS and got stronger as it went on while Charles Page has had a good year too.”

Ryan Christensen

“I think it’s a few days too far for Charles at the moment, but next year he could be the go to guy for this race. His speed is good and his positioning is getting better and he’s doing well in long races”.

“I think Louis and Charles are just starting to suffer with being first year seniors and the end of season fatigue so I don’t I think they are ready for this year. It would have nice to have given them the opportunity, but I didn’t want them to have a hard time and lose their enthusiasm.”

For those who have been selected, Tim says they are ecstatic and can’t wait to be on the start line whilst those not selected are naturally gutted. “It is not nice having to tell them but we can only select six riders”.

Thank you Tim for his time and we’ll have some more features on the riders in the team soon on




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