Rider Chat: Steve Lampier (Saint Piran)

Steve Lampier of Saint Piran may be one of the most experienced riders in the top level racing in Britain but as he showed this year, age is but a number and with nine top 10s in major road races including two thirds, he still has the legs to show the younger riders around a race. We had a little chat …

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Rider Chat: Steve Lampier (Saint Piran)

Steve Lampier of Saint Piran may be one of the most experienced riders in the top level racing in Britain but as he showed this year, age is but a number and with nine top 10s in major road races including two thirds, he still has the legs to show the younger riders around a race.

His record for the season is quite outstanding during a very competitive season (Prems (& Cicle Classic) in 2019)
3rd Ryedale GP
3rd Stage 2, Tour of Reservoir
4th South Coast Classic
5th Lancaster GP
5th Lincoln GP
6th Stage 2, Manx International
8th. Klondike GP
9th CiCLE Classic
10th Manx International Overall

Last year in the road races, Steve, who’s now 35 which isn’t old for a bike rider at all, was seen behind the wheel of the Saint Piran team car but this year, he managed to get himself out of the car and into the peloton leading his team in for most of the races.

Being successful as a bike rider is as much as about the motivation and experience in a peloton as it is about the legs and for many, the more the years go past, the less motivation there is. Only this week I interviewed a 27 year old who felt the time was right to retire. For Steve Lampier, the fire certainly still seemed to be burning bright. When we spoke before the race at Ryedale, I asked was he happy with the season? “I’m happy enough” he replied “adding he’s ten years older than everyone else racing like Matt Holmes and others . “I have enjoyed it though and I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t.”

Steve doing dam good in the crits too in the Sprints jersey at the Tour Series

Steve isn’t just a rider though as he’s managing the Saint Piran team as well and says “it’s nice to put something back, running and riding for the team”. Steve says there is a lot to do in running a team at that level but it doesn’t seem to have impacted on his performances if the results are anything to go by.

With more UCI teams falling by the wayside in 2019 after the sport lost others in 2018, there is talk of Saint Piran going UCI with the Tour of Britain starting in Cornwall in 2020. But going UCI carries with it a lot of pressure, not least the pressure of qualifying for the race which as two teams found out this year, is a very high mountain to climb without significant fire power in the team to deliver results day in, day out.

It is says Steve “work in progress.”

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He adds they are undecided if they will go UCI and Steve explains that the money saved by not going UCI, would help his team more even though a ride at the Tour of Britain would then be out of the equation. “The budget would be the same regardless if we were UCI or an Elite team so we could do a hell of a lot with that money if were an elite team. We could race prems and also go away to stage races in Europe.”

“We went to France in February and did a series of races there and the amount of invites we got was unreal so we could go away and race in France and promote the brand there and Spain and Belgium so that is one option. The other is UCI. It is very attractive with the Tour of Britain starting in Cornwall and we have some good riders in the team. We don’t have a cheque book to go buying riders but we could nurture younger riders and continue growing what we have had this year.”

On the podium at Ryedale, his second podium in 2019. Looking at the Tour of Britain qualification table, Steve would have scored two 4ths and three fifths had his team been UCI (Ryedale was a counting round). 

That though, nurturing young riders, does not come with any guarantees of results as many teams find. Discovering the diamonds among a box full of potential gems is about luck as much as it is about the rider having great talent. Like Sam Culverwell from Guernsey who was snapped up by a team for next year real quick is already proving to be potentially a ‘diamond’ but even he may not be delivering the crucial Tour of Britain qualification points for his team in 2020.

The riders winning this year and scoring the points for the their teams in the battle for the Tour of Britain have been experienced ones. Looking at the qualification table for the Tour of Britain, in the first round (Klondike) the riders bringing home the points were experienced ones like Rory Townsend, Connor Swift, James Shaw etc.

In round 2, same again and whilst some of the riders are young (early 20s), they are also experienced with plenty of racing under their wheels and certainly not ‘development’ riders. Going through the table round by round, those riders scoring the big points necessary to get Tour of Britain qualification are the older, experienced riders with a lot of fire power in their legs.

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For Saint Piran, that job falls squarely on Lampier’s shoulders and with only one other rider from the team in the tops at prems (Will Harper), going UCI would be a gamble whilst ever that race has its controversial selection criteria in place.

Teams like Ribble Pro Cycling going from being an Elite team to a UCI one is encouraging for Steve but he adds “in some respects, it has come a year too early for us but in other respects, let’s go and grab the bull by the horns. There are difficulties though. “The licencing itself is seven grand and we can go buy that licence but it’s about doing it properly when you have that licence”.

“We have the equipment, the training camps but riders demand a certain amount of racing which is then a bit more difficult and there is a lot more to it than getting a licence. We want it but it’s a decision we need to sort out”. And Elite teams, how important are they to the sport? “Massively” says Steve. “They are under rated. This is the talent pool for the Conti teams”

Finally, back to the racing and highlights he says “winning the national masters was pretty cool and it was cool to lead the Prems series for a round as well.” So age is just a number? “Yes. Time as a DS in the car was a learning experience for me and I learnt a lot and then this year, I went out there to take it on as it comes and have ended up being consistent”.

Very much so and consistent at the sharp end too. Good luck to Steve and his team for 2020. Even with the loss of two major UCI teams, and quite a few riders as well, next season will still be ultra-competitive and I fully expect Steve to be in the mix…


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