Interview: Mikey Mottram (Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK)

With two wins on the road already, Mikey Mottram (Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK) took his good form to his team’s training camp where we caught up with him

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Interview: Mikey Mottram (Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK)

With two wins on the road already in 2019, Mikey Mottram (Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK) took his good form to his team’s training camp where we caught up with him

Winner! In a light hearted presentation by Red Walters and Ed Clancy, Mikey Mottram gets the bottle of water as winner of the time trial

One of the riders to watch in 2019 is one who has been winning races for a few years now. I went back to 2016 for example and every year since then, Mikey has been winning on track and road. Winning races, whether they be National B or National A, is something every manager will be happy to have in their riders as knowing how to win a bike race is a key weapon in a rider’s Arsenal.

Mikey, who works full time, had another win at the Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK training camp when he was fastest up the Coll des Rates in a time trial on Tuesday at the team’s Calpe training camp. Prior to the light hearted presentation that evening, we sat down with Mikey to have a chat.

He says of being on the camp “It is good to come out here and get everything done properly. We’re really well looked after by the team, the bikes are in good shape and we get massage too so it’s good to get here and get used to how the team works and how everyone is gelling together”.

“It has been good to press on and get the most from the camp. The area is very good with plenty of options, flat roads or climbing, and it is a great place to ride the bike. It is very different to the Chilterns I train in and with the terrain and road surface being so different, it took the first few days to get used to it but I’m enjoying the roads here.”

Team time trial and the first big effort of the camp on Monday

Asked is he happy with the good early season form, Mikey replies “form is up and down, you can be going well now and then not so well later, and then there are the slow burners too. We know we need to start the season well so it is good to have good form now and get everyone together and see where everyone’s form is”.

Pre camp, there can be some nervous riders going into it, something Mikey felt a little of but whilst the camps are not a walk in the park, the training efforts are not as bad as going really deep in races. “The efforts in training are normally easier than a race because I tend to make races hard day for myself but today we did a decent effort (Time Trial) and that was a hard effort but it was only 15 minutes.”

Those training efforts however cannot be underestimated, like the one on Monday where the teams were split into two and it was a team time trial over very lumpy terrain and with the likes of the riders in the team now, any slow legs would soon get caught out. But for Mikey it was fine. “It has been good to get to know the likes to Ed, Scott, Ali, Briggsy and everyone and it’s very cool to see where the team could potentially be going this year and the opportunities we may have”.
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Whilst Calpe was not the summery warm weather place it has a reputation for day after day (the first one was), it was better than training in the dark for Mikey. “I am getting a little more daylight on my training rides but this is nice and even when it rains, it’s still five to ten degrees warmer. It’s also good to take myself out of a normal work situation and refocus on the training”.

“I’m getting some good sleep and eating properly too. It is easy when you are doing back to back training weeks to lose focus on the training and just tap it out but not get out of what you need to so it is good to come away and refocus and go back home with more motivation.”

The timing of the camp is also perfect says Mikey. “It is good to have the camp now as it’s only a few weeks to Klondike (first prem) and we have to focus on the British calendar to make sure we get it right this year so we’re coming out of this camp with good form and looking forward to the races.”

Split into two groups for the TTT

A key part of the camp is getting to know everyone in the team you will be racing with. It is one thing to know the faces in the same colours as you now from your racing in years gone by but quite something else to know them on a personal level as well as professional level.

“It would difficult to go into races not knowing your teammates at the start of the season so it’s good to get to know everyone’s personalities a bit so you know how they communicate in and out of races and what they are about, like some people are shy and others are louder for example.”

Mikey’s teammates though are also his rivals for selection for the big races so he is keen to impress as he has done already. “I want to ride the big races but I know I have a role to play in the team and I have a lot to learn off these guys. I think I’ve got good legs but bike racing is about having the whole package and I have a lot to learn off the likes of Ali, Scott and others about winning races and helping others win races.”

That competition for places he says is always there. “You know at the end of the day there are six or seven places for the big races that pretty much everyone on the team wants to do and you can right off a few races. You need to think what am I going to bring to the table and how am I going to work on that so I can make sure I’m in the best shape to do the best job I can.”
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I put it to Mikey in camp like this, there will be the experienced riders who take control of the riding on the road and others who follow. Mikey agreed saying “the more experienced guys, they say how it is and that we are going to do it this way. There is always learning on the road and we’ll have more team work to come.”

“There are guys here who have been doing these races for ten years plus and so you are always going to listen to them. There isn’t any of this ego thing like I have done this or that, it’s all about the team and making everyone on the team better and not looking to compete with each other even though there is competition for spots”.

Finally, for riders like Mikey in a team where the bike is the team’s choice, not theirs, this time of year is about getting used to new equipment and for many, a new group-set. “We feel spoilt” he says of the new bikes. “This new SRAM groupset is top of the market, a new way of thinking and feels like the best equipment and we feel spoilt. The bike too is great with it’s disc brakes”.

Mikey was working well with his new bike in the mountain time trial on Tuesday

On getting used to it, he explained “different riders have a different feel for equipment and some need time to get used to the equipment than others who can jump on the bike and be at home. I am more the latter. There is quite a lot of difference between this and the Shimano one I was using but I’m getting on with it really well”.

“I jumped on the training bike for the first time a few weeks ago and I was like ‘I’m happy with this’. My win at the Primavera Road race was two days after I got my training bike and I won that race on it so I got on with it well”.

Our thanks to Mikey and wish him well as he steps up from an Elite team to UCI and looks to ride at the top level races…


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