L to R: Andy’s Dad, Andy Corkill & Ben Swift
Tom Murray chats to Andy Corkill
The 2012 Tour of Britain is set to be the best and most supported one ever, thanks to a hugely successful Olympic Games and a certain achievement of Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky in the Tour de France you may have to fight for your spot on the roadside to watch it!
One of those you can guarantee will be on the road side this year is Andy Corkill. Andy along with his dad has followed the Tour of Britain in its trip around the country each year since it took to our roads again in 2004. That’s not just a stage here and there but each stage each year.
In fact Andy is in danger of achieving fame at this rate. He isn’t hard to pick out along the route thanks to his ever present hat, which travel along during to the race too. In fact he is recognisable too much of the organisation, teams and even riders now, I spotted Andy myself while riding in the 2012 Tour Series crit easy enough. Who better to ask then for the fans opinion on the 2012 edition, than perhaps the most recognisable fan out there than Andy himself?
Andy, the 2012 Tour of Britain is upon us, are you ready for another hectic 10 days? And is your dad; someone you say on your own blog isn’t much of a cycling fan on board for another lap of the country?
I’m not sure, I am never ready for the start of the race, I have good intentions when the route is announced and have a grand scheme to plan where we are going to be on the side of the road, but it always arrives quicker than expected. I always end up the night before a stage planning my route.
You are right; my Dad isn’t a cycling fan. He never follows what’s happening throughout the year, but he always attends events with me. He still says he doesn’t understand the racing and it goes too fast for him to pick out anybody. He loves the atmosphere at races and being with his son!
I always say it, but I must thank my wife who puts up with me disappearing to races all year and leaving her at home with the kids. Thanks Jo.
What do you most enjoy about following the race around?
I just love being there; I like the racing and the way it all works. Guess I’m nosy and being there every day allows you to see glimpses of what happens behind the scenes. It is so far removed from my day to day work sitting in front of a computer.
It may sound strange but driving is another part of it. I love driving and would drive all day every day. So if any team out there needs a driver get in touch!
The hotels, same as the riders or tucked away in a corner?
We always stay as near to the start as we can so there isn’t much driving first thing in a morning. We have never stayed in the same hotel as the riders, I’m sure the last thing they need at dinner or breakfast is fans leering at them.
I decided a long time ago that riders, NEG, police and the organisers had their own jobs to do and I’m not going to interrupt them. If people want to talk to us that’s fine, but I don’t ever want to be in the way.
You and your dad have become part of the race in a way now, back in 2004 when you when all this started did you see it going this far?
When we first went in 2004 I had no intention of attending every stage again, it just grew into a life of its own.
It has been fantastic to see the event grow into the world class race it is now. It has established itself as a great race and is run at a perfect time to sharpen up for the world championships.
The number of spectators have grown year on year and this year, after the successes Britain has had, will be amazing. I’m worried that I may not get a good viewing spot at the finishes this year, there are going to be huge crowds.
The hat’s, we had to ask why and when did that happen?
We started wearing the hats in 2007 so my older children could see us on the TV. I must admit, we used to be a bit embarrassed about it. We used to carry them until we got to the finish line, now they are the first thing on when we get out of the car. It has been fun wearing them; we get recognised every day and have been asked for photo’s and once an autograph.
…and this year, a new design or the old faithful?
Old faithful. We have discussed a different one for next year for the tenth running of the race, but no decision yet.
So the 2012 edition…
Who are you most looking forward to catching a word/photo with on the race this year?
Rider wise, it’s got to be Bradley. But my youngest children’s favourite riders will not be riding the event, Tom Murray and Malcolm Elliott, they have never seen Malcolm racing as they are only 4 & 6, but fans of both men.
Other than that my son will think I’m the coolest if I get a picture with Kristian House.
Give us a prediction?… British winner this year maybe?
As Cav has already had a stage race victory this year, maybe this could be one for him. I think Brad would ride for him to win the Gold Jersey.
Where will the race be won, do you see a crucial stage in there?
I think the final selection will be made in Wales and Devon. I know lumpy roads don’t suit Cav but he could find the legs especially with the support of Sky.
Who is going to bring the IG Markets gold Jersey home and win overall on in Guildford?
Heart says Sky, head says Ivan Basso.
I have never been any good at picking winners except the year of 2009 with 3 predications right. That was Boasson Hagen’s year.
Keep up to date with Andy throughout this year’s Tour of Britain and beyond at www.corkadillo.co.uk
Thanks to Andy for his thoughts on the 2012 Tour of Britain, keep an eye on cycling shorts for more on the race.
Pro Cyclist for Team IG-Sigmasport
Tom Murray, Jonathan Tiernan-Locke & Dan Craven – Image © markghopkins.co.uk
The 2012 road season is heading for its close and with it comes the Tour of Britain, you will struggle to miss it this year too after all the publicity from the Tour de France and Olympics the Tour of Britain is set to be a big success this year. The streets, towns and fields will be awash with fans new and old drawn to the event by big names and unrivalled access. Now with cycling’s new fame and popularity you won’t even be able to hide from it putting your head in a newspaper, the media will be full of updates from the race as everyone looks for a British winner come the final dash up through Guildford.
Personally I’ve been lucky enough to ride the Tour of Britain three times in my time as a professional rider in the UK. As a young kid I used to stand on the slopes of Holme Moss just outside of Huddersfield and watch in awe as the riders passed by on their way over to a finish in Sheffield, I never dare dreamt of riding in the race then, to have three finishes on my CV seems a bit crazy looking back. Each time was a different experience, some positive some not so positive but overall I’ve enjoyed all three and am proud to have ridden the race.
The highlight for me was spending a day out front in a two man break on stage 7 of the 2010 edition, to spend a whole day out front in front of the British crowd, clocking up the king of the mountains prizes was pretty special. It was a massive day not just for me but it was the first participation in the Tour of Britain for my team (Team Sigmasport) and everyone involved in Sigmasport as a company too. When the stage finished it had been a defining point of both my career and that of everyone involved in the team from staff to sponsors, it was a great feeling to be part of that. Since then plenty has happened and this season in particular has seen some ups and downs, but to always have that day in the Tour of Britain to my name is a pretty good feeling.
Tom Murray Tour of Britain – Stage 7 – 2010 – © Mike Morley
The 2012 edition will see others riders clock up their day in the limelight, maybe define their careers or maybe their step onto a bigger stage. For some riders it may be the biggest event they ever compete in, for others it may be a relatively small week out, but that’s part of the races beauty, riders of different experience and reputation mix and become equal for one week. The guys that define their careers may not be the ones at the top of the result sheets at the race finish. They might not be your Olympic hero’s or World Tour stars, everyone has the chance to write some headlines, I didn’t think I’d be grabbing any in 2010! This Tour of Britain as ever looks even more difficult than the year before; the organisers seem to have a good talent for hunting out some of the most challenging terrain out there. Having raced up Caerphilly Mountain once in the 2011 race, heading over twice will really test those at the business end of the race and could really cause some race defining splits; it will certainly be a day that the classification hopefuls will have to be aware. The stage in and around Stoke always provides a hard days racing, with not just climbs but often exposed sections over the top of the climbs to contend with and heading through the challenging countryside around Dumfries could possibly see the race split to pieces. If the weather of the past few years in this area pays a visit again it could be the hardest day of the race.
Possibly alongside Caerphilly Mountain the defining stage for the Overall Classification though is most likely to be stage 7 over Dartmoor. The area is defined by short but incredibly steep climbs, from my own past experience; although the stage in this area has not yet defined the classification it has the potential to do so. Previous years have always allowed groups to reform before the finish after lengthy changes, maybe this year that won’t be the case.
Whatever happens in the 2012 edition though, the Tour of Britain is already guaranteed to be a success. The next generation of riders will be standing on a hillside somewhere watching the race come by much like I did. Maybe they will form part of the Tour’s peloton a few years down the line, maybe even write themselves some headlines along the way.
Keep an eye out on Cycling Shorts for more on the 2012 Tour of Britain.