Feature: Chat with Madison Genesis Riders

After the finish of the Ryedale GP, we spoke to the riders in Madison Genesis about the Tour of Britain … Connor Swift, Richard Handley, Jonny McEvoy, Erick Rowsell and George Pym

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Feature: Chat with Madison Genesis Riders

Related: Interview with Matt Holmes

After the finish of the Ryedale GP, we spoke to the riders in Madison Genesis about the Tour of Britain … Connor Swift, Richard Handley, Jonny McEvoy, Erick Rowsell and George Pym

Video – British Road Race Champion Connor Swift

Racing the Tour of Britain in the champion’s stripes will be Connor Swift and he’ll be in the Madison Genesis line up and one of their key riders. He even has a special bike for the occasion! On Sunday he was on the podium for the Ryedale GP after bridging across to the front group on his own.

When we discussed the Tour of Britain after his race, Connor explained “I’d like to target a few stages and I have seen there are few days where it’s lumpy before the finish and mimics the Scarborough stage in the Tour of Yorkshire where I got sixth. If the stage has a bit of a kicker in it, and a sprint follows, if you’re in a good position getting over the climb, and can hold your position, then you’re in a select group and able to go for the sprint. So we’ll be doing our best to grab any opportunity we can”.

Connor will be racing for Madison Genesis in the Tour of Britain and when asked what was the difference between racing for a conti team like Madison Genesis and World Tour team like he was in Norway for, Dimension Data, he explained “riding in a team like that you get a lot more respect like you’re moving up and if there is a team riding, we can slot into second where as in the Tour of Yorkshire we’re (Madison Genesis) sitting behind eight world tour teams.”

“So you do get a lot more respect.” Connor also explained how he was following his Dimension Data teammate Bernie Eisel around the peloton and says “it’s amazing how he moves up and around the peloton, following him was fantastic.”

More from Connor in the video above.
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Jonny McEvoy
One of Britain’s most versatile and dependable riders, Jonny McEvoy has enjoyed an excellent two years at Madison Genesis. A rider who has experience at pro conti level, Jonny will be in his ninth edition of the race.

He said at Ryedale “I’m made up (to be selected); it gets bigger every year and with Geraint Thomas coming, it will be bigger still. It’s good to be a part of it and get stuck in. What is cool about this year is we have some good riders to have a go and look to get in breakaways and get Madison Genesis on the tele.”

On his goals for the Tour, Jonny says he just wants to be active. “I want to pick a couple of days where I will hang in, when it’s hilly, as it’s not like it will be sprints every day. I like the route. “

Asked what over the years is a key thing he has learnt, Jonny explained if getting in a break is a goal, then you need to pick the days you suffer to stay at the front of the race. “One year, when it finished in Colne I think, and I suffered to get in the lead group of 30 riders, when I got in the break the next day, I was tired from the suffering the day before whereas if I had sat up the day before, I’d have been better in the break.”

“It’s that fast at the end of stages, if you are going to try and stay in the front, you need to be thinking about what you are doing the next day and the one after so it’s about picking the days to suffer and stay at the front.”

George Pym
The least experienced tour rider in the team picked for the race, George still has one edition under his wheels and has earned his spot in the race through a series of determined performances.

Perhaps his most impressive performance this year came at the British Championships – and while understandably overshadowed by Swift’s win – Pym’s ride was no less impressive. Making the decisive breakaway and helping his teammate and eventual winner showed he could perform on the biggest stage.

“It was brilliant to get selected and I was made up and pleased that Colin had recognised the hard work I have put in this year” George explained on Sunday.

George hails from way down south in Devon which has a stage but he’s also looking forward to the one in Warwickshire. “The Cranbrook to Barnstaple stage is one for me to look forward to but I also have the Nuneaton to Leamington Spa one as that is the area where I live now so I’m looking forward to that stage in some ways and not in others because I now know the climbs are really hard!”

George added “a great stage to watch out for the likes of (his teammates) Connor and Jonny will be the Bristol stage. “With the climbs on that stage, they could have a good crack at that one.”

Richard Handley
Having made seven appearances in the race, and a best GC finish of 16th in 2013, Richard is well experienced in the race. Rich will relish the race taking a hillier profile and will no doubt prove indispensable in the team time trial.

“My ambitions” says Richard “are pretty open at the moment. It’s pretty hilly this year so it suits our team better than the last few editions have so we’ll play it by ear the first days, trying to get in breaks and it would be good to get a jersey. With Matt and Connor going so well, it shouldn’t be out of the question for them to get a good GC position as well”.

Asked what his favourite edition has been, he says “they have all been good really. The one after the 2012 Olympics was probably the best for me with the number of people by the side of the road supporting it. It was massive and has carried on like that”.

Has Richard looked at the roadbook to know what’s coming? “Yes, I’ve had a good look at it. Not too detailed but I know the race will be hard! The first two stages, especially the second of them with the climbs close to the end, will be grippy and it will be interesting to see whether the sprinter teams want to keep it together”.

One of Richard’s goals will be to get in breaks. How difficult is that I asked him? “It is really difficult at times and you have to pay a lot of attention to the road book. In that there will be little clues like when roads are narrow. Or, in the race, you need to keep an eye out for the road being shut down and watch out for them (world tour teams) massing”.

“When you turn onto a narrow road, you’ll see which teams are looking to ride. Like if it’s sprint stage, the sprint teams or Team Sky who are usually the ones to dictate things as it’s their home race. So when you see these teams at the front and they are looking around trying to find their teammates to shut the race down, that is your last chance to get across to the move.”

“It can often take 50 or 60k for a break to go and it’s hard to be in all the moves so you need to do it as a full team and have confidence that you can follow a move and know someone else will be ready to follow the next one if needed”.
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Erick Rowsell
After an injury-hit season, Rowsell will be looking to complete his first Tour of Britain since 2016 when the race proved a happy hunting ground.

That edition he says contains his favourite, memory of the race. “I was in a break with Jack Bauer and clung on to get third on the stage so that for me was a stand-out Tour of Britain. That year I went into it with GC ambitions, but this year, those GC ambitions are for other riders in the team and they have people like me, Rich and Jonny to support that and see what we can do”.

Erick says of the Tour of Britain, “the Tour is the biggest race we’ll do all year and something we have been aiming for since the training camp in January so everyone is fired up for it”.

Having experienced racing at the highest level including some of the sport’s biggest classics, Erick says experience is a key element for a rider in races at this level. “When you go into these races, they are totally different to how we’d ride a Premier calendar. The tactics are very different and depend on how the bigger teams are riding it and we need to make that work to our advantage.”

“You have to have raced at this level to understand how the racing works. It’s about having confidence to race how you want to race and understand as well how they (world tour/pro conti) will have the ways they race too. Richard, myself and Jonny have all ridden at pro conti level and Connor will do too I am sure. So we have a lot of experience in the team and we have Matt who has the legs to ride at whatever level he wants to so we need to help him make the most of that and get a result”.

“The races we ride week in, week out, we go into them as one of the strongest teams so you have to be prepared to take those races on and ride from the front whereas the Tour of Britain is very different with so many World Tour and Pro Conti teams there so we’ll let them dictate the race”.

Finally, part of that experience of racing at the higher level is predicting what can happen and Erick explains “if you study the road book, there are clues on when breaks will go although it gets more difficult in the later stages whilst the earlier ones are more predictable usually.”

“Like the race will be on a big main road then turn onto a narrow one. Quite often if the break hasn’t gone, that is where it will go as the teams can shut the race down easier on those roads because you can’t shut down a big two lane dual carriageway but you can shut down a skinny country lane. So it’s about knowing what’s coming up and having the Garmin file in front of you so you can see these turnings and have the legs to be there as well of course”.

Thanks to all the riders for their time and good luck to them in the Tour of Britain!


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