Feature: Graham Briggs (Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK)

One of the captains of the peloton on the road is the long serving racer, Graham Briggs who races for Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK – we have a quick chat

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Feature: Graham Briggs (Vitus Pro Cycling)

One of the captains of the peloton on the road is the long serving racer, Graham Briggs who rides for Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK in 2019 – we have a quick chat

His career racing at the highest level in Britain goes back to 2006 when he was third at the season opener, the Clayton Velo Spring Classic and raced the Tour of Reservoir and Girvan stage race in Scotland.

Graham and team launch compere Brian Smith share a joke on stage

In 2007, Graham had a much bigger race programme and returned to the tough Girvan and had three top 10s and another on GC (5th) so for well over a decade he has been one of the country’s leading riders. In 2008, the big wins started to come his way and they don’t get much bigger than Otley which is a classic event in the circuit race calendar.

In all, twelve podium finishes in 2008 and then 2009, he made history on becoming the first ever winner of a Tour Series round after he was second to Rob Hayles at Milton Keynes who was then later relegated.

The stripes of champion followed in 2011 when he won the Crit champs at Beverley along with another win in the Tour Series. Graham’s palmeres was growing with every season and he had established himself as a consistent threat to his rivals in the British racing scene. Not just them but rivals in the pro peloton too as his second place in a stage of the Tour of Britain in 2016 shows.

British crit champion in 2011, the picture is in 2012 as Graham wears the stripes and warms up watched by Tour Series race director Mick Bennett

More wins 2017 showed that Grahams hunger to win bike races was not waning in the slightest but illness in 2018 saw his season ruined until he got on top of it and added a tough victory in the Ryedale GP to his palmeres. That win alone showed just how much it means to him to get across the line first and his reward is a place in a strong 2019 team with Cherie Pridham, a team he has ridden for and won races in, before under different sponsors.

Talking to the team boss, Cherie said of Graham coming back into her team, “when we worked together previously, we had a lot of success and since then, the domestic scene has developed further. Graham is a popular rider and he’s going to win you a race or two and I don’t think that will change this year. With the strength we have this year, he can be confident we have the team to support him in specific races that suit him.

Following the road season, came the cyclocross season where the wins continued to follow as did a few weeks away from racing before returning to pedalling his bike anger.
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When asked about that hunger of his to win bike races, Graham says “I’m still as motivated as ever. Last year was difficult with illness and so on but the win at Ryedale GP was a massive relief and I still believe in myself like I did before that and that win showed everyone I could still do it and myself too”.

His team boss in 2019 Cherie Pridham could also see the possibilities in a rider who will fight hard to win races and he joined Ali Slater and Ed Clancy in the team for 2019. “It is good that a few riders from the team last year have come across with me. I usually room with Ed and get on well with him so I’m hoping to work well together in the races as well”.

Looking ahead to goals for the season, the Tour of Yorkshire, his native county, should the team get selected, is one of them. “That’s a big goal” he says before adding, “and to win some rounds of the Tour Series again would be a goal.”

Graham racing the British CX Championships in the Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK colours

Prior to the start of the 2019 road season for Graham, he’s been racing regional cyclo-cross leagues as well as rounds of the National Trophy and National championships. These he says provided him with mini goals to look ahead to and keep him on his toes in training.

The CX events gave him different goals to aim for rather than just pumping out the long miles. “I used to only ever jump on the cross bike on race day but now I am on it all the time and putting some road wheels in. I also did some skills work, practising dismounts, and things where you can make little gains”.

“It’s going to be a late start to the season so I thought I would break it down into chunks so I can be in top form at the end of April. That’s a long time away so I needed other goals. Those goals included doing a ride at the British CycloCross Championships but as ever, luck can play a big part and after a good start, in the top 10 at the front of the race, an untimely puncture saw Graham having to run a long way before getting a new bike and it was game over for his championship challenge.
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That bad luck was soon behind him and a nice win at the East Midlands CX championships was a good way to finish the season off before a week off and then a change of focus towards the road season. Graham is now looking forward to his first road season race, the Eddie Soens the second week of March.

Helping him with his coaching is multiple CX British champion Ian Field. When asked why he needs coaching after so many years at the top, Graham explained that having a coach set out the training just makes things easier to deal with in family life and means there is one less job to do.

Having had so many seasons under his wheels, Graham is in no rush to be super fit too soon and is enjoying the hours on the bike when the weather allows. Part of that is on the local South Yorkshire chaingang with many a star rider, something Graham says helps make the hours go by quickly on the bike.

Yellow jersey in Loire et Cher stage race in France

As the racing approaches, Graham will be off to Lanzarote for some warm weather riding to top off the form ahead of March and the team’s first racing prior to the training camp.

It certainly promises to be an interesting year in the colours of Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK for Graham, with more opportunities to add to that long list of career victories and after that win in one of the toughest races in the calendar, the Ryedale GP,it promises to be an exciting time for the former British circuit race champion.

Winner of the Ryedale GP in 2018…



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