News: Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK

A long way from a Nat B start to the season, UCI conti team, Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK, travelled to Belgium and a UCI 1.1 to get their season started.

News: Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK

The Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK minus Darnell Moore (not pictured) – L_R: Joe Sutton, Chris McGlinchy, Tom Mazzone, Mikey Mottram, Adam Kenway and Dan Tulett

For many years, local UCI teams have travelled to long running prestigious early season National B events to ease their way into the season. This year though, with races not being listed on the calendar until only weeks before the event, the British UCI teams have taken to going abroad having planned their race schedule months before.

It is also well known that many riders when choosing a team to join will look at the team’s race programme and so giving the guys exposure to UCI events is what it is all about explained Cherie Pridham, the team owner. Asked whether the demands of going to a race like Le Samyn were greater than a Nat B, Cherie replied “except for the travelling, it’s exactly the same. Same staff, the prep is the same as it will be for a race like the Danum Trophy (Nat B).

On Tuesday, the Belgium race, Le Samyn (men’s event) had two British teams, Canyon DHB and Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK as well as a load of other British riders in other foreign teams. For the Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK team, Le Samyn was the first hit out of the year for most of their riders. No training camp or races in February but rather a more focused strategy on picking the right time to get their wheels rolling ahead of what everyone hopes will be a busy road race season in Britain and abroad.

The team’s new Kia cars were well liked by teams and riders at the Le Samyn semi classic

Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK went into the race on Tuesday with seven riders, most of whom were having their first race of the year. Before we had TV pictures of the race, news came from the team boss Cherie Pridham on social media that Adam Kenway had made it into a breakaway which was no surprise as we know how much the former Hill Climb champion likes to get up the road.

Because Adam likes a good breakaway, he was focused on doing that at Le Samyn but he wasn’t the first from the team to get clear of the peloton. “Initially, we had Chris McGlinchy (the team’s Irish rider) in a break” explained team boss Cherie Pridham. “That got brought back, then Mikey (Mottram) got in a move that got a lead of 40 seconds at one point before being brought back and then Adam attacked solo up the road before five others came across to him” explained Cherie.

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“I wanted the riders to go into the race to get something out of it and so the plan was to get the jersey out front and that is what Adam and the others did. We knew from tradition, that once the riders got to the circuit, that all hell would break loose and it’s a parcour that riders need to learn how to ride as well. The cobbles we rode over in Le Samyn were the real deal.”

Out front in the day’s early move, Adam Kenway and the rest of the breakaway were away for around 100km before the riders in the likes of Quickstep and so on put the hammer down and blew the race apart. For Adam, who hadn’t ridden such an event before, it was a big learning curve.

The Le Samyn race is quite a prestigious one, hence its 1.1 ranking, so the opportunity for the British teams like Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK to get a start was a privilege said the team owner. Comparing the race to doing a Nat B in many respects is that there is no comparison. Closed roads, big crowds, the world’s best competing. It was a world away from the domestic events.

The race gave the team an opportunity to give the new vehicles in the fleet a run out.

“I was pleased for Darnell to get the opportunity to finish as it was the biggest one day race he’s done so just to finish was an achievement and he rode the cobbles beautifully. He can clearly handle the bike. Those type of conditions, as we saw with him in the Manx International, suit him too and he’s a gritty rider. I look forward to seeing him race more”.

Others riders in the team like Dan Tulett however were unlucky to get caught up in a big crash, one of the many crashes on the wet and muddy cobbles. Dan did get back into the saddle and chased the race ahead but with as many as ten or more groups all over the narrow roads, the race was chaotic for the riders and the team cars trying to help them. Dan eventually caught a good group but that was one of the groups to get black flagged so his race was run.

The team now move on to a French UCI 1.2 race, GP Lillers which is 162km. “It has a kicker in it every lap with a KOM on it and it’s also quite an exposed climb before descending down to a narrow one car width lane so positioning in that race will be key” says Cherie. “The race could split up or finish in a bunch kick but we’ll go into the race with more of an objective team plan”.

The French race will see other riders in the team get an opportunity to get their first race of the season under their wheels with the likes of British Circuit race champion Joey Walker, Tour Series round winner Freddie Scheske, Chris Latham and Stephen Bradbury coming to the team to join Joe Sutton, Mikey Mottram  and Dan Tulett who rode Le Samyn. After that, the team’s next big target is on the 23rd of March, the ‘classic’ Tour of Normandie over seven stages which is a great block of racing before some important events in Britain.




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