The Para-T Cycling Team is Here!

The Para-T Cycling Team is Here!

by Jody Cundy MBE
 

Wow, nearly missed this being a January update, my god this month has flown by.

2011 already! That means the Paralympics are next year! It’s all starting to sound a little scary, however I’ve still got 576 days to train and perfect everything before then!

Well 2011 started with me switching to a new cycling team. A team I helped setup with my girlfriend, to be honest she’s done a great deal to get it up and running.
Here’s a little bit of information about the team I’ll be competing in.
“Para-T” (Paracycling Team) is a unique cycling team made up entirely of some of the best Paralympic cyclists in the world. The team has been formed to help promote Paracycling, and demonstrate the skill and speed of athletes who compete at the Paralympics.
Through promoting the amazing ability of our riders, and not their disability, we aim to increase the interest in Paracycling and push the boundaries of the sport as well as to show that sport is something nearly everyone can do.
In the first year of racing, the team will be mostly focused on track events, but a number of road races and time trials will be attended whenever possible, with athletes competing in both Paracycling and able-bodied events.

The team is a mixture of British and German riders, and hopes to expand in the future with increased rider numbers and racing on the road.”
For all the up to date information on the team, and a look at the amazing looking kit I’ll be racing in, head over to our website www.paracyclingteam.com.

With the world championships fast approaching (March 11th-13th) I’ve spent many hours on my bi- cycle and things are going really well. This winter I’ve spent more time on my bike getting in the endurance miles than ever before, because in addition to the team sprint and kilo I will be also competing in the 4km Pursuit at the world championships. The GB team is on a point scoring mission to make sure that we have the most athletes available at our home games in London, and that translates into yours truly doing the pur- suit! The pursuit training, is quite a challenge for me, and is quite different from the out and out sprint train- ing I’ve previously done for the Kilo. It’s all about measuring your effort, and not giving too much too soon, but making sure you get everything out by the end. As part of my learning process in the event I’ve painfully found this out in training, and it really does come back to bite you before the end of the 4km if you go out too fast! However with GB’s rich history in the pursuit I have a wealth of advice on hand from coaches and riders, and fingers crossed if all goes well, there may be another medal in it, which would make all the hard work worth it. But one step at a time!

With the poor weather in the UK over the winter, it was really nice to get away to Majorca for a 10 day training camp with the GB squad. The weather gods were really on our side, and we were greeted with bright sunshine every day. That made such a nice change to our rides, being able to head out in shorts and minimal layers, so much nicer compared to multiple layers I’ve been used to in the last few months! The camp was a huge success, with the whole squad getting in many quality miles, and making the most of the beautiful weather. It was definitely the time to be on the island as we spotted many of the professional teams in their preseason training, including Sky, Leopard Trek and Lotto.

I’m back from Majorca now, and my training has now switched focus, as I’m back on the boards of Manchester Velodrome trying to convert those miles into some race speed. Things have been going really well, but with the Manchester round of the World Cup fast approaching track time’s been a bit crowded. However inspiring as it is to watch the GB Team Pursuit team in full flight in training, it’s never a great situation to have to rush your efforts on track, so next month we have a 2 week GB training camp at the Velodrome in Newport with just the GB Paracycling squad in attendance. Once the world cup is over, it’s back to Man- chester to put the finishing touches to my preparation before heading out with the team to Montichiari on the 7th March.

Well that’s January all done, were there really 31 days? Catch you next month for another update.

Jody
 
 
 
 
All images ©Copyright Christina Kelkel

A Topsy Turvy Year

A Topsy Turvy Year

by Jody Cundy MBE
 

As 2010 comes to an end, it’s time to look back on what has been a bit of a strange year.

Starting in January with a “warm weather camp” on Majorca which ended up in snow, it was a sign of a topsy turvy year I was going to have.
By the time March came around, our World Championships in August had been cancelled and my training goals where turned on their head. In Easter my first proper race of the season: The Herne Hill Good Friday Meet. Unfortunately, once again the rain brought a swift end to the racing, but hopefully 2011 will be luckier as the meet moves indoors to Manchester. Without Worlds to prepare for, Ride Across Britain was a perfect chance to keep the miles and legs over the summer and also to help raise money for Paralympics GB. Sharing the mileage with tandem pilot Barney Storey, the nine days from John O’Groats to Land’s End were some of the most enjoyable days I’ve ever spent on my bike. Even though I was soaked to the bone for the first three days in Scotland, the scenery made up for all the wetness and pain. And by the time we reached Land’s End, the sun was shining and myself along 600 other cyclists had completed 1000 miles and raised over 300.000 Pounds!

With RAB done, it was back to the track and to prepare for the National Track Championships and a potentially rearranged World Championships. With all the miles on the road in the summer, my track legs really came to me and my training went really well. The Nationals were filled with highs and lows, the highs being my New World Record in the Flying 200m and my first able-bodied podium in the Men’s Team Sprint and Team Pursuit. The lows, becoming really ill after Day 3 and not being able to perform to how my training had been going and loosing out on an almost certain Gold medal in the Team Pursuit due to a crash.

October brought us final confirmation of the World Championships after many rumors and many cities had been mentioned. From March 11-13, the new velodrome in Montichiari in Italy will play host. My training is in full swing now and I am working hard on retaining my World Championship titles in the 1KM Time Trial and Team Sprint, and also hopefully getting close to the podium in a new event for me: the 4KM Pursuit. However, for the first time I wont be able to win the Kilo in a World Record time as it might hinder my changes to win in London due to the unconfirmed factoring rules that the UCI will be applying to the Paralympic Games in 2012.

All that leaves me to is to wish everyone a happy and prosperous New Year and thank all my sponsors and supporters for their help and hard work and I look forward to your continued backing on my path to 2012!

I think that’s all from me, enjoy the remaining days of 2010 and I’ll see you in 2011!

Jody

PS: You can catch me on BBC4 on December the 30th at 8pm as I made a guest appearance at the Royal Institute Christmas Lectures.
 
 
 
 
All images ©Copyright Christina Kelkel

The Cycle Show & Europa Cup

The Cycle Show & Europa Cup

by Jody Cundy MBE
 

With Nationals all done it was on to The Cycle Show at London’s Earls court, where I was busy signing autographs on the British Cycling stand, I can’t remember ever signing so many autograph cards! The Cycle Show was also a great opportunity to meet potential sponsors and suppliers in the run up to London 2012, it was also a great place to generate feedback and interest for the Paracycling team that I’m helping put together, and be riding for in the coming season.

Next stop and my 2nd race meet in a month, this time the Europa Cup in Kaarst Büttgen, in Germany. Although the velodrome was indoors, it was very cold, and left many of the riders on the team wishing they had bought more layers to keep warm. However it was the same for everyone, first up on the race programme was the team sprint, an interesting race, not so much because of the result, but the way the race panned out.
With no electronic timing, start gate and countdown clock it was a bit of a shock to the system, especially while we were under starter’s orders the countdown began over the PA, not beeps like we’re used to, but the official counting down irregularly 5, pause, 4, 3, pause, 2, pause, 1, and Go! It certainly made us all laugh when we finished the ride! Myself Rik Waddon and Terry Byrne posted the fastest time, some 4 seconds quicker than Germany, who we would race in the final. Next up was the Kilo, and after some impressive times being posted by my competitors the top 3 separated by just 0.4seconds I managed to ride a 1:07, 3 seconds clear of the Czech Republic’s Jiří Ježek.

The final of the team sprint was the last race of a long day at the velodrome (12hrs!). Lining up against the home team Germany, and with the velodrome finally warming up, myself Rik and Terry put together a slick performance, coming home faster than our morning qualifying ride, posting a 50.8, just fractions of a second outside our world record and over 4 seconds clear of the team from Germany.
After Germany, I had 2 weeks off the bike, to recharge my batteries, and plan my preparations for the track world championships in Italy, which have officially been confirmed now as taking place from March 11th – 13th 2011.
After my break I’m back on my bike and so far I’ve been rained on every day, oh well I guess that’s an occupational hazard of living in Manchester! Anyway speaking of training, it’s looking dry outside now, so I’m going to head out before that black cloud decides to follow me for the next 2 hours.

Until next time happy cycling!

Jody
 
 
 
 
All images ©Copyright Christina Kelkel

National Championships

Jody Cundy riding at the National Championships – Image ©Copyright Kelkel

 

National Championships

by Jody Cundy MBE
Good news everybody!

We finally have a World Championship for 2010/11! The UCI have found a new host for the track Championships which were cancelled earlier this year. Montichiari in Italy will play host to the UCI track World Championships in February/March of 2011, added to this the UCI also announced the 2012 Track Championships. Los Angeles will play host in February 2012.

After a really quite year for racing I managed to get stuck in with a full program at the National Championships which took place at the Manchester Velodrome at the end of September.
On Day 1, I won my first senior able bodied National medal by riding to bronze in the Team Sprint with fellow team mates Andrew Kelly and Dave Readle. It was a tough night of racing having to do 3 rounds of Team Sprint as man 3. Not for the faint hearted!

Jody Cundy competing at the National Championships, Manchester – ©Copyright Christina Kelkel

Day 2 was the Paracycling 1 km Time Trial, and although I was some way off my best time (think the previous nights racing took quite a bit out of my legs), however it was good enough to earn me a silver medal.
Day 3 and the shortest race on the schedule, the flying 200, an event I don’t get to do often, so after some encouraging times in training the week before it was something, I wanted to do especially well in. I managed to set a new personal best, at the same time breaking the C4 World Record (WR) with a time of 10.970, an average speed of 65.633km/h or 40.785 MPH.

Day 4 was uncharted territory for me as I was to be riding the 4km Pursuit. A pretty daunting task in its self, but made even harder by the fact that all morning I’d been curled up on the sofa feeling pretty sick, obviously not the best preparation. However, I managed to get on my bike and race, coming away with a Bronze medal and a new British Record (BR) time of 5:03.826.
The final day of competition was one of frustration. Riding the 4km Team Pursuit with team mates from scienceinsport.com Alistair Rutherford, Adam Duggleby and Tim Lawson, it was clear I still wasn’t feeling well but without a replacement rider I would do my best for the team. After leading the team off and getting them up to speed I sat in behind the other 3. Unfortunately my legs weren’t up for it and after my 2nd turn I had to pull off leaving the 3 remaining riders to post the time. To my surprise we qualified fastest, which put us into the gold medal ride off.

In the final we took the decision of using me as an expendable member, my job was to get the team up to speed and stay on the front until I couldn’t go anymore, this way the team would get more rest and I will of contributed more in my weakened state. This worked brilliantly,
as I did 3 and a quarter laps, leaving my team mates within sight of the opposing team. Then disaster struck, we got within 4 metres of the competition, (you need to be within 1 to take the win), Tim caught the wheel of Alistair and came crashing down. With only 2 riders left on track the race was over.

A great but tough few days of racing, being pretty successful with 3 Bronze, and 2 Silver medals, a WR and BR.

Next stop for me is the Cycle Show in London’s Earls Court on the 10th October, where I’ll be on the British Cycling stand meeting people and signing autographs.
Then on the 14th of this month, I’m off to Kaarst Buettgen, in Germany for the Europa Cup, a 2 day Paracycling race meet, where I’ll be busy again, racing the Pursuit, Kilo and Team Sprint, against some of the best Paracyclists in the world. Hopefully I can find a bit more speed by then.

That’s all for now, happy cycling.

Jody

All images ©Copyright Christina Kelkel

Teamwork versus Domestiques: Ben Day talks about FlyVAustralia and Pegasus Racing

 

Jay Thomson & Ben Day at Wind Tunnel Mooresville, NC Image ©Copyright CristiRuhlman

I caught up with Ben Day of Pegasus Racing and Fly V Australia to get his take on just how “mateship” and teammates played a part in their successful 2010 season. As the team is in the process of applying for a UCI ProTour license, I also wanted to know how that philosophy will play out as the team moves over to Europe to compete in the 2011 season.

When we think of a cycling domestique, we usually think of individuals. Those cyclists who ride in the peloton giving shelter to their GC rider, bringing food and water and pretty much being the unknown force behind the pro-peloton.

But… what if an entire team could be that way–sharing the responsibilities and promoting a culture of just that: TEAMWORK. Might it not be a driving force on the cycling scene, one with a very special team solidarity?

There is a team that has done just that, and done it successfully. That team is Pegasus Racing’s FlyVAustralia. In fact, during their time on the US domestic scene, they’ve ridden together so successfully, this year alone they have scored 84 wins; that they have now made application to the UCI to head to Europe and ride there, hopefully as a ProTour team.

Tell us about “mateship” on FlyV and how its actually helped you and the guys be so successful this season? And also how you see it working as Pegasus Racing takes it to the next level?

Ben Day: The whole mateship ideology, we kind of garnered out of how in Australia we call each other “mate” all the time. It lends itself for us to be a lot more friendly to each other, I guess you could say it’s teamwork Aussie style. But in this context with the team, it just reinforced the importance of what it means to work together as a team and sacrificing yourself for the sake of the team. It’s teamwork with no personal agendas, as is often the case in other systems. I believe we have 84 wins so far for 2010 with one more tour to go, so you have to say its working really, really well. The challenge will be going into next year with the new ProTour team. For us going in there and bringing in some foreign riders and staff, we’ll be trying to teach this method to them as well, and see if they can take up where we’ve left off.

 

FlyV Australia team Image ©Copyright FlyVAustralia.com

You guys have had such great success here in the USA. With the team dynamic that we’ve seen, you all have something special. How do you think that’s going to translate to the new team? Tell us a bit more about that.

Ben: It’s going to be a bit of a challenge in itself. You know, these guys we’ve hired, we’ve hired them with the intention and foresight that these are going to be great people to have involved with the team. It’s a process, not one that just happens naturally though. In the beginnings of 2010, we did some helicopter crash training to help bring the group together and to be in some stressful situations together and learn more about each other. And that helped us with the rest of the season, where we had a lot of success.

But we kind of operate on a very honest platform. And when someone’s done a good job, like when someone wins a race, they’ve done a great job and they don’t really need a lot more pats on the back. But guys who’ve sacrificed themselves for somebody else to win the race, those moments, they’re the ones that are the most important to say, “really good job, well done, if it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have won.” You really need to appreciate that kind of thing.

We have a very honest and open communication with everybody on the team. But at the same time, if somebody doesn’t do their job we also hold them accountable. So I think having that is… to put it bluntly… a no bullshit platform to work on, people are held accountable. If they’re good, they get congratulated; and if they don’t, then we sit down and talk about it. It’s not just left for people to figure over or for people to talk behind other people’s back. We’re open and honest with each other and we genuinely care about the bloke next to us. When we celebrate, we celebrate together. When we lose, we rally together to support each other for the next feat.

You’ve also signed alot of Aussies for 2011. Like you said, you call yourselves “mates”, do you think it’s in the culture and might make it a bit easier to fit into the team?

Ben: Yeah, it’s definitely in the culture. We’re just like that – Australians are very laid back people and don’t get worked up over small things. You know we’ve signed 11 riders, and so far there are also 11 foreign riders with still spaces to fill. So for the moment, and we will always be, an Australian team. I think that Chris White’s spent a lot of time making sure that he finds people who are willing to…….people who have similar mindsets, the personality of working hard, being laid back willing to comeback and do it for the team. They are going to be our mates and we’re all going to have a great year next year I’m sure.

 

Ben refines TT position - Image ©Copyright Randy Ruhlman

For next year, we’ve heard that you’ve already got Robbie McEwen and Robbie Hunter. They’re both veterans, but they also know how much hard work it is and how much they have to depend on the team. Are you looking for more guys like them, or more all-rounders, GC, or what?

Ben: At the moment we’ve been able to get a really, really good Classics team together. For now we’re a little bit short when it comes to GC guys, people who are capable of performing in three week tours. But you know when you look across the peloton, there aren’t a lot of teams that do have GC contenders in these 3-week tours.

Looks like you have got some nice young riders, and you have some on the roster who are coming with you, like Jai Crawford and Jay Thomson to name a few. So you should have good development on the team then?

Ben: Yeah, we still have a few spots left and we’re going to see who’s left on the marketplace, but then we need to develop as well. We’ve got some young, very talented riders on board, and in a year or two, you never know, these riders might be knocking on the door of the biggest tours in the world.

You mentioned that you had a good Classics team, as well. Do you think you’re going to do a lot of the Classics or focus on development and some of the shorter tours?

Ben: For sure, but the whole process, the ProTour process is still pending. We don’t know, whether we’ll get the license – it gets in there anywhere between Nov 1st and the 15th. But we have some guys who are very, very established in the Classics already. And they are excellent cyclists and they have great reputations. I’m sure we’re going to have starts in a lot of the biggest Classics in the world. So I think that will kind of be the focus in the first year, and where we’re guaranteed to have some people up there getting results.

But then, still as well, there are people who come out of the woodwork and we’ll be at tours and trying for stage wins and just trying to better ourselves all the time. We haven’t been in Europe for a while and we’re going in there with the realisation that it’s not going to be easy. But, you know, doing what we’ve done in the US, we’ve proven we can win races and we’ve got that experience already, so now we’ve got to get over there and amongst it and I’m sure there’s going to be alot of surprises next year.

Ben Day ready for another run on the wind tunnel - Image ©Copyright Cristi Ruhlman

You’ve been a GC guy on the domestic tour here in the US, but these are mainly one week or shorter tours. Are you looking more at the Classics or the shorter tours or straight towards the grand tours?

Ben: The shorter tours. I’ve been in Europe for 6 years previously, so I’ve raced alot of those big tours over there, just haven’t done the 3-week tours. The week-long tours, I’m more than confident that I can handle those and that I will have some good results in those in 2011. But when it comes to the three week tours, I’m humble enough to realise I don’t have the experience yet–there’s alot to learn about recovery… and it’s very rare for a first time Grand Tour rider to come in there and really take the world by storm. It’s happened, but they are really super-talented athletes. I’m just taking it step-by-step and I’ve got quite a few years left in my career and hoping by the end of things, maybe we’re having a different conversation. But let’s wait and see.

Anything else you think you might want to share with us about the new additions and larger Pegasus Racing and “mateship”?

Ben: It should be a good fit, but it’s not going just happen naturally–we’re going to have make sure we put some emphasis on it, as well. We’re planning a training camp in Outback Australia in November. It’s where we’re all going to get together for the first time. I’m sure we’re going to have some “interesting” little activities out there – get to know each other better, be at one together. It’s like a bit of a different concept to Saxo Bank’s survival camp. We do other things, but this is more to bring each other together, to learn more about each other, and it’s worked really, really well so far.

 

MATESHIP is the mantra that Pegasus Racing/Fly V Australia has put into practice. There is no denying its success on the US scene and that it has propelled them to the next step and towards the team’s European destiny for 2011. With the UCI making it’s decision within the next few weeks on that future, it will be very interesting to follow the team and watch as Pegasus Racing’s concept of ”mateship” launches onto the European scene.

 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 

A Quick Peek at the Ultimate Domestique

 

Team Time Trial--2009 Tour de France Image ©Copyright AFP

 
Who are these riders who give their all in support of the team and its superstar cyclists? Who are the domestiques?

Let’s make no mistake here, all pro-peloton domestiques are super talented riders. They’ve won races throughout their careers and show great promise.

Of course, they have to be that good. If they weren’t great cyclists, they’d never come anywhere close to being considered for a Pro-Tour team. Nor would they be part of that chosen few who support the team in the big races, the Giro, Vuelta, the Tour de France. It’s the pinnacle, the place where all great cyclist aspire to be.

On Cycling Shorts I’d like to spotlight these riders, look at some history of how domestiques and tactics have developed, and profile current and retired domestique riders. In the meantime, maybe we can also get a few to talk about their experiences as professional riders and domestiques.

First though, I really want to start with an ideal, a model of what I think has evolved into the Ultimate Domestique. This is the rider with exceptional, star talent who choses to ride in support of the team instead of inflating his own palmarès.

Yes, it is true. Most of cycling’s superstars started their careers as domestiques-carrying water bottles, blocking the wind, protecting the star rider, then they developed. Lance did, Boonen did, even Contador did, and some of today’s top riders still play both roles, in a sort of super domestique way: stars in some races, support in others.

But occasionally, through circumstances of team or timing, a rider will fulfill the supreme supporting role; that of the Ultimate Domestique. An outstanding rider, one who could easily be a superstar on a different, lesser team, yet he is someone who choses to be part of something bigger. The Ultimate Domestique is that star cyclist who choses to ride and give his all in support of another and help the team win a major Tour!

So, who is my choice? Which rider epitomizes that role of the Ultimate Domestique? Hands down, it’s Andreas Klöden.

 

Photo Courtesy of Team RadioShack

An outstanding rider in his own right, Kloden’s individual talents on the bike are really pretty darn impressive. Twice he’s finished second at the Tour de France (2004, 2006), won at Paris-Nice (2000), and brought home a Bronze medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Yet, he’s chosen time and time again to spend his career with the some of the world’s best teams (Team Telekom/T-Mobile, Astana) riding in support of the most heralded superstars of this generation–Ullrich, Armstrong, and Contador. And much to the frustration of those covetous Team Directors who would love to pay him to come be the big star on their teams.

Klöden has used his talent and stamina to support his team leader through the mountains, in the time trials, and through the grueling weeks of a Grand Tours with the focus on the Tour win for the team. Once again it looks like Klöden will quietly operate away from the intense glare of the spotlight and continue to play his role as the ultimate domestique, this year with his new Team RadioShack.

Having seemingly been dropped from the media’s tentacles, Klöden rarely gives an interview anymore–which is a shame, because among other things he seems like he’d be a pretty fun guy to get to know. Instead he allows his performance on the bike to speak for itself, but that probably says more than dozens of interviews ever could.

So, while I think we may get lucky and see a few more individual accolades before Klöden retires from professional cycling, one thing appears to be certain, he’s discovered his place and he seems happy. Andreas Klöden has found his cycling balance as the ultimate team player — the Ultimate Domestique.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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