All for one

Build­ing a new team re­quires or­gan­i­sa­tion, co­op­er­a­tion and a lot of drive

Cyclist - - Ultimate Upgrades -

Cy­cling is the epit­ome of a team sport. It may not look that way to the ca­sual ob­server – af­ter all, only one rider crosses the fin­ish line with their arms aloft; only one rider gets to stand on the top step of the podium and wear the leader’s jersey – but to get there, that rider needs the sup­port of ev­ery other mem­ber of the team, even the ones who aren’t out rac­ing on the road.

New to the Bri­tish do­mes­tic race scene this year is Team Ford Ecoboost, a women’s squad headed by two-time na­tional cir­cuit race cham­pion Nikki Ju­niper, who has had the task of forg­ing a group of rid­ers who have never worked to­gether into a win­ning team.

‘Each rider has a spe­cific role to play,’ says Nikki. ‘This de­pends on the rid­ers’ form and the race course, but the team and rid­ers have to be adapt­able and be pre­pared for the un­ex­pected. There will gen­er­ally be a road cap­tain for each race who will make calls on the road dur­ing the race.’

Nikki has brought to­gether a team of eight fully sup­ported rid­ers and three de­vel­op­ment rid­ers, pro­vid­ing a range of ex­pe­ri­ence and spe­cialisms. Some are all-rounders, some ex­cel at climb­ing, while oth­ers will con­test the sprints. Ul­ti­mately, how­ever, it is the duty of all rid­ers to work for the good of the team as a whole. And sup­port­ing the rid­ers is another team of mainly vol­un­teers who han­dle ev­ery­thing from plan­ning, bike main­te­nance and race day or­gan­i­sa­tion to hand­ing out bot­tles from the side of the road.

‘Our team man­ager, Nick Yar­worth, de­cides what the tac­tics will be, and he briefs the team be­fore the race. For the sup­port staff, race day starts very early so they can set up the team gazebo, pre­pare drinks bot­tles and get the camp­ing stove on for the teas and cof­fees. Nick will check over all the bikes and en­sure all tyres are pumped up to rid­ers’ spe­cific re­quire­ments.

‘Dur­ing the race, our sup­port staff are on hand to feed us from the side of the road in the feed zone, and our team car drives in the race con­voy and pro­vides me­chan­i­cal as­sis­tance in case we have a punc­ture or prob­lem with our bikes.’

In this case, the team car is a Ford Mon­deo Vig­nale, which of­fers the sporti­ness and ro­bust­ness re­quired to con­tend with all the pun­ish­ment doled out by a pro­fes­sional cy­cling team. Ford is more than just the car sup­plier, how­ever, be­ing the main spon­sor and the cat­a­lyst for the team’s cre­ation.

‘With­out the sup­port of Ford UK this team would never have got off the ground,’ says Nikki. ‘One of our main goals is to de­velop rid­ers and be an as­pir­ing team to help sus­tain the fu­ture of fe­male cy­cle sport. Our part­ner­ship with Ford UK en­sures we can con­cen­trate on the job in hand, pri­mar­ily build­ing a team for the fu­ture.’ To find out more about Team Ford Ecoboost, go to face­book.com/ team­forde­co­boost. For more in­for­ma­tion on cars in the Ford Ecoboost range, go to ford.co.uk/ecoboost

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