Huub-wat­tbike take World Cup gold in Lon­don

Self-funded squad scoop pur­suit gold in Lon­don, writes Si­mon Richard­son

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Huub-wat­tbike brought their World Cup cam­paign to an end with a visit to the top step of the podium in Lon­don last Fri­day. Win­ning World Cup team pur­suit gold in the Olympic velo­drome was their main aim this win­ter and they clinched it by ac­cel­er­at­ing to a 3.57 ride in the fi­nal to beat Bel­gium.

The quar­tet thrilled the open­ing night’s crowd by leav­ing it late. Bel­gium had lead at all but one split right up un­til the fi­nal 500 me­tres, but the am­a­teurs from Derby, who live to­gether in stu­dent ac­com­mo­da­tion and run their own pro­gramme, fought back in the fi­nal two laps.

The team can’t af­ford to travel to the fi­nal two rounds in Hong Kong and New Zealand so will turn their fo­cus to world record at­tempts at al­ti­tude next year. “The World Cups are our glass ceil­ing. We can’t do the World Champs and we can’t go to the Olympics. We’ve got the Na­tion­als in Jan­uary then it’s the records,” ex­plained Dan Bigham.

The team hopes to travel to the Aguas­calientes track in Mex­ico next April, and while Bigham said it would def­i­nitely be in 2019 there was still a lot of work to do.

“It will cost around £20-30k. It’s not a small amount but it’s doable and we’ve nearly

“We’re not get­ting paid for this. Our bud­get is too small”

got that cov­ered. It’s the lo­gis­tic side: how do you struc­ture the week, how do you re­cover and pre­pare, where do you go for

ac­cli­ma­ti­sa­tion, what do you do around that to make sure your op­ti­mal on race day, what sup­port do you have, who do you race against? All this has to be thought about.”

The win last Fri­day was made a lit­tle sweeter as the team from ‘Der­ba­dos’ (they even got a flag made) beat the Bri­tish na­tional team, al­beit one that av­er­aged just over 18 years of age, who fin­ished third.

Un­like one year ago when Dan Bigham and Char­lie Tan­field spent time train­ing with Great Bri­tain, that re­la­tion­ship seems to have soured some­what. Af­ter GB helped them on oc­ca­sions through last win­ter’s cam­paign, Bigham claimed in an in­ter­view with The Times that they had de­lib­er­ately hin­dered them this win­ter.

The team will carry on through next win­ter’s World Cups, pit­ting them­selves against na­tional teams in their fi­nal Olympic build-up phase. Af­ter that, who knows?

“[The records] could be our swan­song,” Bigham said. “We’ve put our ca­reer on hold, we’re liv­ing off sav­ings. We’re not get­ting paid a salary for this, our bud­get is too small. As much as this would be great to be a 10-20 year project and grow to some­thing huge; un­for­tu­nately I don’t think it can hap­pen.”

The Huub-wat­tbike boys power to the top step of the podium

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