It’s been a long time coming, but the Vikings from the north are finally starting their comeback tour of the World!
Team Cyclesport.se is the brain child of Dennis Nystrand who has worked tirelessly for five years to bring Sweden its first professional team of the modern era, and to do so he’s enlisted the help of UK based sports management company Sprocket Promotions to bring in some sponsors, which lead ultimately to a new partnership with Sprocket owner Martin McCrossan.
This also brings the team riders a great mentor in the ever popular Garmin-Slipstream rider Magnus Backstedt.
As well as his guidance, Magnus’ involvement is also as a sponsor with his own Magnus Maximus coffee brand. After setting up his coffee company to help young riders, the proceeds of sales will now directly fund the team.
Magnus and Martin have now set up production and distribution for his coffee in the UK, USA and Sweden in order to increase potential sales and support of the project.
The team of seven Swedes and one Brit will be looking to transfer their aggressive, exciting style of racing from the Elite amateur ranks to professional cycling.
Team manager Martin McCrossan (right) said:
“There has always been a small number of riders from Sweden who have made it as pros. Now we can collectively bring all that is good about the Swedish culture and mentality to the running of this team. The riders have no pressure, there is a bigger picture to this team.
“All we ask is that they go out and race with the true Viking spirit, with the correct ethos and become the new generation of committed young professionals who want a clean future for our sport.
“This is purely a development team and nothing will give us more pleasure than bringing a rider in and watching them move up to the highest level in the sport.”
The team has acquired some historical names in the cycling industry with technical support from Viner Bikes, Miche Components in Italy and American Classic, and it counts eight riders with one or two more being added before the season gets underway.The roster so far looks like this:
Alex Wetterhall (SWE), Max Oste MacDonald, (SWE) Niklas Gustavsson (SWE), Freddy Johansson (SWE), Filip Rudenstam (SWE), Johan Nystrand (SWE), Marcus Johansson (SWE), and Daniel Patten (GBR).
For 2009 the team has a mix of Swedish and a British rider, and they are currently on a talent search to bring in riders from the USA for 2010.
We thought we better ask team manager Martin a few more questions about this interesting venture.
First of all, Martin, what’s Dennis Nystrand’s background?
“Well, Dennis was a talented rider and lived and raced as an amateur in France and Belgium. He started the Cyclesport.se website and the team about five years ago. He was a member of the Swedish national team as a junior and senior.”
How did – and what made – Magnus get into the coffee gig?
“The coffee came about when Magnus and I first started working together. It was an idea I threw out when we were sitting chatting over a cup of coffee as we do! We worked with a small coffee roasting house in Fleet where I live.
“We got loads of different beans to try. One day I walked into Maggys and he had this huge smile on his face! “I’ve cracked it!” he said! he’d worked out the tastiest combination of beans.
“It is incredibly smooth, not bitter and is like rocket fuel! perfect cycling coffee. Once we got it going its grown a bit every year.”
How does Magnus (below) distribute and sell the beans?
“We have always sold the coffee on Magnus’ own website magnusbackstedt.com now you can go to magnusmaximuscoffee.com and it takes you straight into the shopping part of his website.
“The easiest way is for people to take out a coffee subscription. This way they choose how many bags a month they would like, 1,2 or in Dan Fleeman’s case 4 or 5 (!), and we send it out automatically.
“We are also now getting it into shops now. There’s a very cool retro shop in London called Tour de Ville who are one of our first stockists.”I started looking at increasing the USA sales last year and have worked for 6 months to find a coffee producer and distributor over there.
“A good friend of ours, Beverly Lucas, who is a Brit and owns a bike shop in Bend in Oregon, as well as being the VP for marketing at EDGE Composites, is co-ordinating things for us over there. Her shop is Bend Bike n Sport.
“We also have licenced the blend to a producer in Sweden. This cuts big shipping costs and should help increase sales dramatically, I hadto keep sampling the coffee of course until they got the blend spot on. Tough life!
“The idea is that the coffee sales in each region will help directly fund the team. We have 7 Swedes and a Brit for 2009 and are following riders from the USA to bring a couple in for 2010. The riders in the team also sell the coffee and have sales targets to meet each month. The winner at the end of the year gets a Nintendo Wii.”
Does Magnus have half an eye to when he’s ridden his last race – running his own team, maybe?
“Yes, ultimately Magnus has one eye on what he will do when he retires, but of course he still has some good years left. “The riders in this new team have a mentor and sponsor who is totally committed to helping them reach the highest level in the sport.”
Could you give me a “potted palmares” on the team’s riders, please?
“Sure, we have Alex Wetterhall, he’s a 23-year old Swede, and he was U23 MTB Champion, and won a Bronze medal in the European MTB relay.
“Max Oste MacDonald is also 23 – he’s our Swedish Scot Max’s dad is from Glasgow. He’s another talented MTB rider switching to the road, multi Swedish Marathon Cup race winner.
“Niklas Gustavsson is 20, and he’s twice Swedish Junior MTB champion.
“Some of you may already know Freddy Johansson.
“He’s gone full circle in a manner of speaking, and after 3 years with GB teams is back with a Swedish team.
“After some injury problems Freddy is ready to fullfill his promise.
“The baby of the team, Johan Nystrand, is only 19, and he has twice been the Swedish U16 Champion.
“He’s very talented in time trials and on the road as well.
“Another young rider, 23-year old Filip Rudenstam is next.
“Marcus Johansson is 20, he won a stage of the Vesteros 2 day last year.
“Finally, we have the only Brit at the moment, Daniel Patten. [We’ll be interviewing young Daniel soon here on VeloVeritas]
Viner – cool frames, how did you get them involved?
“They are incredible bikes, I’ve just come back from visiting the factory. The team are getting fully made to measure bikes which is pretty unusual in this day and age.
“Viner have been building bikes in Italy for 65 years. Its amazing to see modern material such as carbon fibre made to measure in the same way people used to build steel frames etc. They are really beautiful bikes for want of a better description. We are not only incredibly proud and lucky to have them for a sponsor, and they have made a three year commitment to the team.
“The involvement came from walking the lobby as they say, at the London Cycleshow. Peter Cole who used to run the Agisko-Viner team has helped bring Viner and Miche in as sponsors.
“We have gone in with a different kind of marketing pitch for the team. We will actively be helping both Viner and Miche develop their business in Scandinavia. We will act as their agents to directly try to increase their sales and show them that their involvement with the team is a real business partnership and not a handout.
“Ultimately when you go to a company for sponsorship its important to show what you can do for them first and then let them see what it is you need from them.”
Miche – not one of the more common gruppis – do they do a road drive train, brakes too?
“Miche are another Italian company with an amazing story. They will provide the wheels and components. The founder of Miche actually trained the founder of Campagnolo!
“They have worked closely together over the years and hence why the Miche groupsets use Campagnolo gears and levers. Visiting their factory was a real eye opener as well, seeing piles of metal and then buckets of chainrings, sprockets and hubs etc was so interesting.
“I had our mechanic ‘Tyson’ with me and he was like a kid in a sweet shop! We have I’d say some of the best bikes in the pro peloton.”
Have you got a programme together?
“We are just finalizing the programme at the moment, but we will take in Sweden (Of course), Norway, Denmark, Poland, Estonia, France, Belgium, the UK and hopefully Ireland.”
What was it like dealing with the UCI to get the licence?
“It’s been a very long drawn out process in that we started in September and finally got registered last week.
“We were committed to making this a Swedish registered team and they haven’t really done this before. The UCI, I must say, have been very patient and understanding with helping the SCF through the registration process. It’s now full-steam ahead to the racing season.”
With thanks for all your time and patience Martin, and best wishes to Magnus, his racing and coffee business, and to the new team – we suspect it’s not the last time we’ll be writing about Team Cyclesport.se this season!