Ribble Pro Cycling team’s race victory total notched over 50 last week and the team had the most successful weekend of the season so far with no fewer than seven podium placings capped off with a national title for Dan Bigham and a podium clean sweep.
Team Ribble’s vlogger ‘Biker Lawrence’ takes us inside the 63rd Lincoln Grand Prix and the Ribble team. Enjoy.
The latest Lawrence Carpenter’s vlog has landed and gives us a great (and rarely seen) insight into big race day through the eyes of a rider. For the final round of the national Spring Cup road race series (formerly the Premier Calendar) Lawrence and the Ribble Pro Cycling team traveled to Lincoln.
The Lincoln Grand Prix is one of Britain’s biggest one-day races and as the longest established has an illustrious roll call of former winners including Malcolm Elliott, Russ Downing and Peter Kennaugh. Team Ribble also has history in ‘the Lincoln’. Two-time British road race champion John Tanner won the race for Ribble in 2001, so watch Lawrence’s edit to see how he and the team got on.
More Lawrence vlogs…
Want to watch more of Lawrence’s great vlogs? Here are two from earlier in 2018. The Klondike Grand Prix in April and the Jock Wadley Memorial road race where Lawrence made his debut for Team Ribble.
This week signified the start of our season proper. Despite a win at Gifford in early March we viewed the UCI 2.2 Tour of Tunisie as our first real goal.
The race proved a turbulent experience for both riders and staff with strong winds, minus temperatures and frozen conditions blighting much of the race – not what was anticipated or forecasted for the North African country which borders the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara Desert. The boys suffered valiantly in the conditions with Gruff narrowly missing out on a better result on Stage 1. With the race splitting in the crosswinds and the team putting four riders in the leading group of twenty, we misjudged the finish slightly and Gruff ended in a disappointing albeit solid 7th which signified the team’s intentions for the remainder of the race. In to Stage 2, in one word, epic. David Hewett the only rider to finish, one of only eleven left in the race, as sleet, high winds and freezing rain battered the race for each of the 172 km. Stage 3 the weather proved to be too much and the stage was cancelled, an excellent decision on behalf of the race organisation. This meant the Tour ended with two stages, David finishing 8th on GC, picking up his and the teams first UCI points of the season.
After a days travel and rest the team rallied for the final race of the trip, a re-organised UCI 1.2 race the 202 km GP Pharmacy. Again a day of heavy rain was forecast. The team set out with the intention of working for Gruff, who duly delivered. Attacking a break of three riders deep into the race he rode the last 12km solo to win – the best way as the only rider in the picture. A fantastic win which topped off a great trip for the team.
Closer to home the riders that remained in the UK produced some excellent performances, undoubtedly motivated by Gruff’s Tunisian success. Due to illness and injury the team was down to three riders at these events. First up was Lancaster University Spring Circuit race at Salt Ayre.
The trio attacking heavily from the outset forced both Si and Alex clear within the first 5km, the duo never looked backed establishing a 30 sec lead that never faltered crossing the line together for a 1,2, Jack narrowly missing the clean sweep in 4th. Onto Sunday the Coalville Wheelers RR the long-running National B over 130 km. A strong Vitus Pro Cycling presence added a further dimension to the race. The pace was high throughout with no group getting more than 20 seconds for the first 90 km, then finally a group of ten managed to forge out a small lead on the peloton. With Alex present for the team and four Vitus riders the break had enough collective firepower to maintain the gap through to the final lap. The final 1 km included a punchy 400m climb before a false flat finish. This turned out to be perfect for Alex as the group of ten contested the win, Alex hit the front towards the top of the climb and never looked back taking a great win. Behind Jack won the sprint from what remained of the peloton.
Also on Sunday still carrying fatigue from Tunisia, Tom and Ronnie combined well for 2nd and 4th in the final round of the Bike Inn Spring Shield in Middlesbrough.
Next up for the team is the 4-day Ras Muhan in Kerry which starts on Good Friday.
Check out the pro team bike getting built here
Been thinking about riding in a group? Check out our latest guide here
Jack Rees – Ribble Pro Cycling team manager – takes us through the teams recent pre-season training camp.
Given the tough conditions faced by riders training through a typical British winter, warm weather training camps are almost essential for today’s UK professionals.
Spanish cycling hot spots such as Mallorca, Calpe and Girona offer generally dry, sunny and warm conditions in which to rack up pre-race season miles in the saddle.
Continental training camp hot spots usually also have far longer climbs than those in the UK on which to build fitness levels and form.
“These climbs are important as they offer a platform on which structured training efforts can be performed.”
Team training camps also provide the perfect opportunity for riders to test themselves and their new equipment ahead of the first races and get to know each other, both on and off the bike.
Y Viva España
In February, the Ribble Pro Cycling team took their Ribble Aero 883’s to Calpe on the Costa Blanca in Spain for a ten-day camp.
For many years now, Calpe has been the chosen destination for the majority of the World Tour pro cycling team pre-season camps.
With its quiet, smooth mountain roads and warm, sunny climate, it was the ideal place for the Ribble Pro team ahead of the first major races of the 2018 season.
The training camp schedule comprised of two, three-day training blocks which included a range of structured efforts, with two recovery days, and finally a four-hour ‘race simulation’ session.
The rides would also give the team the opportunity to practise sprint lead-outs, ride as a chain gang and feeding , utilising team car support, to take on board nutritional products from Secret Training.
After a three-hour ride on day one which included three, five minute VO2 max hill repeats and four sprint lead-outs, the first real challenge of the camp came on day two in the form of a 20 minute all out FTP test effort.
BUT with a catch!
Riders would set off at 15-second intervals based on their power numbers from the previous day’s session.
This meant that not only did each rider have a ‘carrot’ to chase ahead of them, but they too were being chased by a teammate behind them.
The results of the test were very promising. Most of the squad produced personal best 20-minute power numbers, the strongest of which are considered as world class.
A long endurance ride rounded out the first, three-day block of the training camp.
Riders were rewarded on the ‘rest day’ with a relaxing spin along the coast to a local coffee shop run by a roasting company.
“Good coffee (and maybe some cake) is high on the priorities list of most riders!”
The second block of the training camp began with a gruelling series of intervals forming part of a three-hour ride.
Using a local climb the riders performed a series of high-intensity interval sessions.
Riding 30 seconds ‘on’ and 30 seconds ‘off’ for ten minutes is tough but doing this three times is a horrible, especially when the ride is three hours long.
This was backed up the next day by a solid four-hour training ride which included four, ten-minute sweet spot hill repeats.
These sweet spot sessions aim to build the riders’ threshold power ability.
“As we came to the end of the second block, we all started to feel the training stress. We were ready for the rest day.”
The final day of the block saw the team really empty the tank over five hours over some tough Spanish terrain.
The ride culminated in a long chaingang effort and a classic town sign sprint (would any British training camp be complete without one?).
After a slightly chillier recovery spin north along the coast road to a cafe in Moraira, the riders rolled out for a final, four-hour race simulation ride.
Kitted out in full race equipment including their new Giro Vanquish helmets, Santini skin suits and aero socks, the ride tested both the riders kit and legs.
“The team averaged 40kph over the four hours of rolling terrain which saw more than 2,000m of climbing accumulated.”
All Good Things
With that, the training camp had reached its conclusion, and the riders flew home to begin their race campaigns and add the finishing touches to their training preparations.
In total, the Aero 883 Team Bikes were ridden 970km in 27 hours. The riders left in excellent condition and highly motivated to pin a number on and kick off the 2018 race season.
We can’t wait for what is surely set to be a great year for Ribble Pro Cycling’s riders, staff and sponsors, so stay tuned!
To see other stories from our pro team blog… Go here
A Story About a Bike…
In The Beginning
Like all stories, we need a beginning, in this case, the Ribble Pro Cycling story began with a meeting at Ribble HQ to discuss the creation a professional cycling team for the 2018 Road season.
It was an easy discussion, we’re all cyclists here, so after some excited conversation, everyone was in agreement – For the first time in a number of years; Ribble Cycles was to have it’s very own professional team competing at the highest level once again.