Q & A: Tom Mazzone (Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK)

Another of the new signings for Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK is Tom Mazzone from the Isle of Man who’s second on a stage of the Manx International was one of the highlights this year

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Q & A: Tom Mazzone (Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK)

From the Isle of Man, when did you start racing there?
Tom: I started racing at 5 years old. I just loved being on my bike as soon as I could ride it at 3 years old and I always remember going down to my local BMX track whenever I could, just having fun, which is where I started racing BMX, then a year or so later starting to race up at the famous NSC league on Tuesday nights.

How much influence has the success of Manx riders like Cav, Kennaugh and others had on you and others on the Isle of Man?
Tom: Personally I have always been hugely inspired by those guys. I think their success gives all Manx riders a belief and the aspiration to achieve great things in any discipline. For me, I have looked up to Cav since a young age because I always had a desire to be a sprinter and obviously being one of the greatest sprinters of all time, there was nobody better to aspire too.

Are you based on the Isle of Man, if so, how tough is the training there with the weather sometimes being quite bad?
Tom: Yeah, I like to base myself at home as much as I can as it’s a pretty stress free environment, and as you say, the training is always tough, no matter what the weather and there’s always some great people to train with.

After riding for an Elite team in 2019, what does it mean to get a spot in a UCI team?
Tom: I am really looking forward to be stepping back up to UCI level in 2020, after riding for Holdsworth in 2018. I have learnt a lot about myself on and off the bike since then, following injury and some missed opportunities that year, I was motivated to bounce back in 2019, which I managed to do with a refreshed mindset and the focus on getting back to UCI level, to prove I can relish the opportunities in the bigger races.

We saw in 2019 how riders hungry for success can achieve that with the likes of Shaw/Scott/Thwaites etc. What are you keen to achieve in 2020 the most?
Tom: For sure, I think a lot of riders went into last season with a point to prove and I will be hoping to do the same in 2020, working with Chez and being a part of a team such as Vitus, there is no better platform to go out there and chase as many victories as possible.

What was the highlight of the 2019 season?
Tom: There were quite a few highlights for me this year but one that stands out, results and enjoyment wise was probably my home race at the Manx International. Getting 2nd on a stage there behind Ed, although I would of loved to have won it, being in the green points jersey and generally just enjoying racing my bike on home roads with friends, family, sponsors all out supporting me, I can’t deny that was pretty special.

What would you say are your best weapons as a rider?
Tom: I would say my main strengths lie in my sprint, being able to position myself well and read a race well which I hope to capitalise on more in 2020.

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What was the toughest race in 2019 and why?
Tom: Toughest race this year was probably the National Road Champs in Norwich. I had targeted this one for a big result but unfortunately for one reason or another I suffered all day which was disappointing.

Was there one thing you learned in 2019 that stands out?
Tom: Confidence. I have gained a lot of confidence in 2019, stepping outside my comfort zone on a number of occasions and committing to things I wasn’t 100% confident I was capable of but I was, so I will be capitalising on that in 2020.

Is winter training structured the whole time or a mix of riding the bike easy and then getting serious with top end work?
Tom: I really enjoy having structure in my training and life in general actually. I find it just takes the any additional stress out of things, if you have a plan, it’s easy to just wake up in the morning and tick the boxes which becomes a positive routine to stick too.

Do you train alone or is there a Manx chain gang?
Tom: Most of the time I train alone or just with my brother Leon and Cal but I try to do a couple of group rides more for the social side and being able to include it as part of a longer 4-5hr endurance ride.
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Is the cyclocross part of the training or something you enjoy doing?
Tom: Both really. I have always followed Cyclocross and love to watch it but after going down to support my brother in the National Champs last year, I really had an urge to race some cross this year. We reached out to a few people toward the end of the road season, who have come on-board and been awesome in supporting us with bikes, wheels and tyres.

I have really enjoyed the challenge of it all. There is certainly a lot to learn but for me, it’s great to build into my training for the road and gives you little targets to tick off going through the winter as well as being great fun!

Is there any cyclocross on the Rock?
Tom: Nope! Unfortunately not but I have been speaking to a few people on the Island who are keen to make it happen so you never know, maybe in 2020/21 there will be. I think it would be great for the younger generation and there’s some fantastic venues here too.

Is the off season too long or good for getting back the hunger and motivation to race again?
Tom: I think depending on the race program, it can be a pretty long winter in the UK. I have previously raced into Mid-October on the road but this year, my road season was finished in September so I had some time off earlier than usual then focused on some cross races which as I mentioned earlier. I’ve found is a great way to set short term targets through the winter but I always have the desire and hunger to race my bike, I love it.

Finally, what races in 2020 are ones you really want to work towards being part of.
Tom: Our race program for 2020 is shaping up with some exciting races in the UK and Europe and I have set myself some pretty big goals for the coming season in a number of races but ones that I truly believe myself and the team are capable of. I have discussed a number of these goals with Chez already and I will be fully committed to grabbing any opportunities I am given this year, whether it be going for victories myself or supporting other guys in the team.

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