Ribble Weldtite: Best Year Ever

After their best year ever, Ribble Weldtite are signing a group of talented riders to replace those who will be leaving at the end of 2021. We speak to the team’s Jack Rees about 2021 & the goals for 2022

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Ribble Weldtite: Best Year Ever

The new signings so far for 2022…

Charlie and Harry Tanfield with their Commonwealth Games medals – the brothers will now ride for Ribble Weldtite which is one big force to be reckoned with!

Right now we are seeing a host of new signings heading to the team that has made a huge impact in 2021, both here in Britain and abroad; Ribble Weldtite. In the last week, we have seen six new riders revealed for the team; Harry and Charlie Tanfield, Matt King, Red Walters, Stuart Balfour and Finn Crockett, with more expected to come. The aim of the North East based team is to repeat or even improve on what has been a mighty good year for them as founder member of the team Jack Rees explained.

“The season has exceeded the expectations we had when we set out at the start of the year” Jack explained.

The team not only won the Tour Series overall and an individual round win too for Matt Gibson, but also had two riders (Dan Bigham and James Shaw) on the podium in the Elite Men’s Time Trial Championship, podiums in the Tour of Britain, success in stage races abroad, time trial victories, Otley Grand Prix win and third in the Beaumont Trophy.

“The Tour Series overall victory was a highlight for sure because that is a series we have been racing for so many years” says Jack. “At the start of the year, when we had signed Freddie, Matt and others, it was a real objective for us and to then deliver on that is really pleasing. Being able to perform as a team in the Pro series UCI events, like the Tours of Britain and Norway, that is a real eye opener about what we are capable of doing. So those two things go hand-in-hand and are highlights for me”.

The star performers from the team included James Shaw who goes World Tour in 2022 thanks to the opportunities he was given to perform in UCI races. “We hoped that James would come in and deliver on the European stage to some degree but we were surprised quite how well he did that consistently abroad in UCI events, so that is a real highlight”.

James was the highest placed domestic rider in the Tour of Britain and abroad was swapping pedal strokes with the likes of Tadej Pogacar and holding his own. We never saw James racing a lot in Britain so his success was off the back of his training on home roads in the Peak district. “James is unique” says Jack. “To execute those blocks of training like that and turn up at an event with real optimum race condition, I don’t think there are many riders like that and that is testament to James and his professionalism.”

The team also brought in a new DS in Colin Sturgess and Jack could not speak more highly of the effect that Colin has had on the team in 2021. “Colin is integral to the success we have had. He’s a brilliant man manager and brings a wealth of experience. Without somebody like Colin day-to-day, I doubt we would have been in a position to do what we did.”

The season was not without its disappointments like the team performances in two of the prems (Lancaster GP and Ryedale GP). While they did better at the Beaumont Trophy (third), Jack says the team realise they need to address the performances in the prems next year and that is reflected by the riders they have brought into the team for next season.

As the fans can see, the team is signing a lot of new names which amounts to wholesale changes to the team from 2021. They will be losing around six riders from the current squad including the likes of James Shaw and Matt Gibson but to bring the team numbers up to the optimum level of 16, they could be signing as many as ten new riders.

“Sixteen riders is a good number for us especially for those times when we will run a dual programme” says Jack. “With sixteen riders, we will be well represented domestically and abroad. We will be looking to maintain the progression the team has been making over the years. We have always progressed year-on-year and we want to at least match what we did this year”.

Seems like yesterday that the team assembled in Leicester before racing began for a training session with Colin Sturgess.

The team will aim to hit the ground running early in 2022 and build on what they have achieved this year. That includes looking to get in more race days with a lot of the riders in the team needing those race days to bring them on to perform at their best when the big races roll around domestically.

Jack added “the European programme may well be expanded providing the costs revert back to what they were before the pandemic. We will be looking at having a marquee race each month from March through to September”.

The team will be racing the ground-breaking Ribble Cycles Ultra SL R bike that Matt Gibson and Dan Bigham were riding in the latter races in 2021 and the good news for the team is that the team’s main partners have returned to back the team to help them continue their success on the road.

Matt Gibson with the bike the team (minus him) be on in 2022, the Ribble Ultra Road SL-R

All we can hope for is that quality racing returns to Britain for the whole season and we get more of the normality we had before the pandemic giving the teams in 2022 competing here a healthy quality series of races.

New Signings so far  (more to come …):

Charlie Tanfield: “I’m really looking forward to getting started with the team for 2022, from seeing the team develop from a local club team to what it is today is really encouraging – I can’t wait to get stuck into some road racing with the team and develop as a rider.”

Harry Tanfield: “With the current situation, I’m delighted to have found a place at a team that can support my ambitions of returning to the highest level in the sport. I want to continue progressing as a rider and help Charlie to develop on the road. I believe I can do so successfully here with a strong European race program. I’ve known the team at Ribble Weldtite for years, competing both with and against many of their current riders. I am looking forward to picking up where I left off at the Nationals and getting stuck in again at the sharp end! ”

Ollie Peckover. Chronoman with a strong sprint proven with a top ten on the last stage of the The Tour of Britain. Ollie has made great progress this season and his new team are excited to help continue that. Ollie says: “Signing for Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling is a big step personally, after getting my first taste of Elite UCI racing in the second half of 2021 with Swift Pro Cycling who provided me with the step up to Continental level riding. I’m more eager than ever to get my hands stuck into a full racing year, stacked with opportunities to progress and develop with like minded riders around me.”

Finn Crockett: A standout domestic performer and winner of the Unde 23 national series, Finn Crockett strengthens the core of the team for 2022. “I’m super excited to be joining Ribble Weldtite for next season. I don’t think there’s a better team to progress and develop with so I can’t wait for what’s to come. I just wanted to say a huge thanks to everyone that’s got me here, especially to my previous team, Wheelbase Cabtech Castelli for keeping me right throughout these past years. 22’ is going to be a big, and I’m already looking forward to pinning on a number!”

Stuart Balfour: Every team needs a captain. We are thrilled to welcome Stuart Balfour to the team. Stuart brings a wealth of experience, has raced at a world level and enjoyed numerous successes in France. At home when the road goes up, Stuart excels in the toughest races on the calendar. Stuart: “I’m delighted to be signing with Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling for the 2022 season. I’m eager and motivated to be based back home, taking on different races and new challenges after 6 years racing in France. I’m very grateful for the opportunities and support I’ve had over my years abroad and now I’m ready for the next stage in my career with the team.”

Red Walters: After successes in France, a Grenadian national title and a stagiere stint with Hagens Berman Axeon, the team welcome Red Walters for 2022 who continues his development under the guidance of Colin Sturgess. Red “I’m really hyped to be racing for Ribble Weldtite next year. I think it’s a fantastic team with an awesome dynamic. My first ever road bike was a Ribble Gran Fondo, so it’s cool to back to where I started! Massive thanks to the guys for the opportunity, and to everyone who’s helped make 2021 great. 2022 is gonna be the best season yet, and I cant wait to get racing.”

Matt King: Their first new addition for 2022 is Matt King. Matt joins on the back of a breakthrough season which saw him rack up a number of wins and breakthrough national level performances. Matt finished the season as the number 1 ranked domestic rider in the county. Matt, “I’m hugely excited to be joining Ribble Weldite Pro Cycling for 2022 and would like to thank everyone involved both at Ribble and my previous team, Team PB Performance, for being so supportive throughout the transfer. I feel this is the opportunity I need to take the next steps in my cycling career. I’m particularly looking forward to showcasing my sprint at a higher level and developing my time trialling within a renowned TT team.”

Good luck to Ribble Weldtite for 2022 and look out for more signings for them on social media
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RibbleWeldtite
Facebook: https://facebook.com/RibbleWeldtite
Instagram: https://instagram.com/ribble_weldtite



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