Spot Chat: Rob Partridge (Wales Academy)

A rider who achieved a lot himself racing for Wales is now guiding the next generation of riders in the Wales Academy – we chatted last month about early season racing …

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Spot Chat: Rob Partridge (Wales Academy)

Last month at the Perfs, the first road race of the season, the Wales Academy team in their Primal Europe kit, lined up in an event that their coach in Rob Partridge has also ridden many a time. Asked why he rode such races so early in the year, Rob explained “For me it was a nice early season hit out.”

“If you weren’t racing the track, the winter was quite long and it was a way to put your stamp on the season start which is one of the reasons why I took lads to the Perfs, to give them as many racing opportunities as possible. It always seems to get a bit of coverage and you look at the field it gets, it’s quite a strong line up and it has a good reputation for a Nat B”.

As a development team, the key goal is to give them the appropriate racing opportunities to learn and get better. Rob explained “we are have a racing programme which will give the lads either a block in Belgium or a stage race every month and alongside that, the British road race series when it fits in”.

“This year there is a bit more of an onus on the under 23 events (Nations Cup Races) in Belgium, Holland and so on. We have got some decent invites which shows how far the academy has come which this time last year, was still in the process of being developed. Now we have nine riders and quite an exciting race programme for them”.

“The hard work started in the winter with good old boot camp which last the best part of three months and finished off at the national track champs where they won a bronze in the team pursuit. That was a different direction we took them down to see how fast they could go and they came up with the goods.”

Early season racing is tough for many reasons and one them is the cold and wet which can reduce a rider to a shivering wreck. Talking about race clothing, Rob says “if it was me, I’d be wearing three or four layers at this time of year. Thanks to Primal Europe, we now have a race cape that is fully branded up. It is really lightweight and waterproof and you feel nice and snug in it. If you get too warm in it, you can whip it off and stick it in a race jersey pocket and it’s as small, if not smaller than a gilet. Back in the day, you would have really thick capes and it would be a struggle to get them in a pocket.”

“We also have some of really nice new pieces of kit coming from Primal, a new race jersey that is really lightweight and we’ve got new skinsuits as well”.

Good luck to Rob and his Wales Academy in 2019



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