Huub-wattbike take World Cup gold in London
Self-funded squad scoop pursuit gold in London, writes Simon Richardson
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