Feature: Cycling Sheffield Race Team

Chat with former racer in Prems and so on, Dave Coulson of Cycling Sheffield, about his team which shares a sponsor with VeloUK, Bioracer UK

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Feature: Cycling Sheffield Race Team

Whilst the sport’s results are dominated by the big teams with the bigger budgets, without the smaller Elite teams, the sport would be much the poorer and a team that has been around for many a year, with different sponsors, is the one run by Dave Coulson. In the latter years, the team has been known as Cycling Sheffield. We chat to Dave…

VeloUK: How was 2018 for ‘Cycling Sheffield/Giant Sheffield’?
Dave Coulson: Very good. We’ve had some great results and lots of progression and having good lads on the team makes my job easier. Our partners make it all possible, the likes of Bioracer UK amongst others, give us an incredible level of support.

VeloUK: Has the Cycling Sheffield concept been a success?
Dave Coulson: Definitely. Every business and organisation we’ve contacted has been supportive and full of praise for what we are doing. It’s still not easy finding cash, but the big difference is that doors are opening far easier than I’ve ever experienced before in the pursuit of funding.

VeloUK: How’s the rider line up looking for 2019?
Dave Coulson: The lineup is largely unchanged. We recruit with the view to stick with riders for as long as it’s right for both the rider and the team. We place a lot of importance in the detail when recruiting, to maximise probability of things going well. Having said that, it’s always something of a gamble, particularly with the youngest riders. We do have an exciting opportunity to sign one rider. But the team budget will determine whether that happens. We are working on it.

VeloUK: How are you finding the sponsorship situation, particularly in light of teams folding?
Dave Coulson: It’s a real shame to see teams folding, but this is nothing new. If you consider how long John Herety kept his team on the road that is an achievement. Even the relatively short lived Aqua Blue and OnePro gave a lot of opportunity to their riders and it’s a shame they’re no longer around. It’s hard for teams and riders alike to the find security. As I mentioned earlier, the Cycling Sheffield concept is well received, and there seems to be a greater openness to engage from the business community. However, we are by no means rolling in cash. The one thing Brexit has caused is uncertainty, so I think a lot of organisations are being cautious.

VeloUK: What are the plans for the race program for 2019?
Dave Coulson: We’ll focus on the national road series and some of the National crit series. Along with this, we hope to race outside the UK more. We need stage racing to really develop our riders and bring on their form. The national road series is hopefully going to improve in 2019 and there are some interesting potential events.

VeloUK: Do you have a long term plan for Cycling Sheffield?
Dave Coulson: It would be great to get to UCI Continental level, but only if the circumstances are right. I want this team to be around for a long time,and do great things. I’m not driven to get that status and risk dropping back down after the season. That would be perceived as failure. We can run a good race program without a UCI license.

The fundamental aim is to be the best we can be with the budget we operate within on any given year and build the ‘Cycling Sheffield’ brand, particularly within the city. We believe the team can do good things in the city. We are already involved with the Sheffield ‘MOVEMORE’ health initiative and we plan to do more work like this.

Without the offer of global media coverage that a World Tour team can offer, we have to look at other ways in which we can make the team considered a viable investment for partners. I want to have a great team, and a better more sustainable way of funding it.

Thanks to Dave and good luck to him and the team in 2019.

Team: https://twitter.com/CYCLING_SHEFF
Dave Coulson: https://twitter.com/coulson_dave
Website: http://www.cyclingsheffield.com/



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