Q&A: Team Brother UK – LDN

Quiz time to find out more about the Team Brother UK – LDN cycling team. Created to help London based riders, and founded 18 months ago by Ian Watson & Drew Morris, the team in 2020 is sponsored by Brother UK.

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Q&A: Team Brother UK – LDN

Quiz time to find out more about the Team Brother UK – LDN cycling team. Created to help London based riders, and founded 18 months ago by Ian Watson & Drew Morris, the team in 2020 is sponsored by Brother UK.

– How long has the team been in the sport?
The team was founded around 18 months ago, by Ian Watson & Drew Morris. The idea for the team came following a number of years of racing success in the club, Ian founded six years ago – CC London. With a number of men & women reaching a level where they were competing nationally, we decided to establish a team to give them, and other London-based riders, the support needed to compete at a national level.

That support involves not only race-day assistance, but also the logistics of travelling around the country to compete (often a long way from London), ancillary support such as sports psychology and bike fitting, and simply creating a community of like-minded bike racers who, living in close proximity to each, can often meet up to ride & train together.

– Highlights for the team in 2019 and before that?
2019 was our first season as a team, and so was a big learning experience, for both the riders and the management. We’ll no doubt come into our second season with the benefit of those things we have learnt, but even so, we had some big results to be proud of in 2019 – finishing 5th in the Women’s Lincoln Grand Prix, 4th at the Women’s Bourne Cicle Classic, two National masters titles, and podiums on the Nat B circuit.

The name of the team came about because of… ?
We setup the team to specifically support riders based in London. There are many challenges that London throws up to bike racers – from the abundance of traffic lights & the lack of nearby training roads, to the fact that it takes almost two hours to drive to the nearest road race (assuming you have somewhere to park a car in the first place!). So as a team setup to support London riders, and to integrate into the London cycling community, the team name was a fairly easy choice, and we raced as ‘Team LDN’ in our first season.

We’re very proud to now expand our roster and ambitions in our second season, and as part of that are thrilled to welcome on board Brother UK as title sponsor, with the team name officially changing to Team Brother UK – LDN.

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What are the goals for the team in 2020?
In many ways, it’s more of the same as last year. Whilst we’re aiming for more success, the team is still in the ‘building’ phase, and is ultimately set out to be a development team and a stepping stone between clubs and the higher echelons of domestic racing. We’ve expanded the roster this year with an additional 5 riders (2 men & 3 women) and so are a stronger unit, and we’d hope to be able to show ourselves well and pick up some results in the National Road Series, Tour Series and on the National B circuit, as well as gaining valuable experience abroad.

Outside of our own racing, since the team’s inception, one of our aims has been to help encourage new riders into racing. As part of this, we have run a number of race series in London as well as holding training sessions for beginners (particularly for aspiring female racers) and taking part in community events like Q&A evenings…we’ll be continuing this work in 2020, with a series of 7 crits at Redbridge Cycling Centre, among other things. And we hope to see lots of new faces enjoying the sport as much as we do!

The team is made of what type of riders – ie, men & women, mix of categories?
We have two squads in the team – a Women’s and a Men’s, with 22 riders in total. The majority of the riders are 1st cats, with a smaller number of 2nd cats. A commitment to equality has been at the heart of the team since day one – we see the men’s and women’s squads as being completely equal, with equal support and resources provided to each. We think that puts us in a fairly unique position in UK racing, and we’re pleased to be in a position where we can offer it.

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Type of events the team will be racing in 2020?
The focus will be on the bigger domestic races – the National Road Series, the Tour Series, and the National B circuit. We intend to travel abroad as much as everyone’s schedules will allow, to gain extra experience in Belgium, The Netherlands & France. But closer to home, we’ll also be making an effort to support the local grassroots scene, and we consider ourselves lucky in that area with 4-5 purpose built crit circuits in and around London with regular racing run by local clubs.

We’re conscious though that it can be very easy to get caught up in the ‘road racing bubble’, and with some of our riders working long hours in the city, it’s important to keep the enjoyment in the sport and not have it feel like a second job. We’ll also therefore be supporting and encouraging our riders to branch out from road racing should they wish, and will see some of our riders tackling unsupported ultra races, gravel events & track – anything that helps them keep fit, have fun, and become better bike riders!

How the sponsorship by Brother will help the team in 2020?
Quite simply, it’s invaluable to us – it’ll help us provide the structure to the team and support for the riders that we consider to be fundamental to the team’s operation. It also helps put the team on the map a little more – Brother UK, and their MD Phil Jones, have been such huge supporters of grassroots racing in the UK in the past several years, and to have them take title sponsorship of the team adds that extra stature to the team which will hopefully help it gain some more recognition across the country.

We should of course give mention to the other sponsors and partners that have all supported the team since it’s inception and continue to do so in 2020 – Laka, the cycling insurance specialist; Soigneur London, a London-based bike fitter; and Rapha Custom, our kit supplier.

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