“Hi Ed, I’ve finally heard from Cycling Weekly — they want 300 words, but also if you want to do “Minute With” interviews with some of the riders, that’d be good also.” Time for a piece about the Endura Racing Team launch…
Jeez! Work from “The Comic” and a brief too — I’m so used to rolling up at races with a camera, pencil and notebook then just doing what I want, that I’d forgotten about that word count stuff.
Maybe if I make a good job, I’ll get to do Girvan again; they haven’t forgiven me for last year, when I forsook ‘Comm One’ at Girvan for a team car at Milan-San Remo.
Saturday 09.45, The Dynamic Earth Building – what an excellent venue for the occasion, and the first time I’d been in the place; it’s a wonderful setting, with Salisbury Crags and Miralles Associates’ stunning Scottish Parliament giving your eyes almost too much to take in.
As Martin and I were coming in, the boys were heading out for the photo opportunities; first of all on the grassy mound in front of the building, then among the rock garden over on the right — all good stuff.
It was a bit grey and pretty blowy but the new Endura jerseys brightened the morning up just fine; personally I’d have kept more of the tartan, but I’m the boy that said that Mark Cavendish would never make a good pro.
Inside to the warm and Greg Byron, and it was ‘PowerPoint’ time; background, programme, goals – Premier podiums + ten UCI races per season + a start in the The Tour of Britain – and then time for the riders.
James McCallum: a medallist in the Commonwealth Games and 2007 British crit champ — even more impressive was his win in the Smithfield nocturne, not long after, with the whole field watching his every move in that shiny new skinsuit.
James always has a word for the press — we like that!
David Smith: a new face for me, but I rider that I’ve heard a lot about; you can’t survive three seasons in France if you don’t have ability and character.
Let’s hope his name appears plenty of times in the notebook this year.
Kevin Barclay: We didn’t get to see much of Kevin’s win in the 2008 Scottish crit champs, but we didn’t miss that he’s looking much leaner today than we’ve seen him in the past.
I think he was thrown to the lions too early at Plowman Craven and too much was expected of him; but I know that Gary Hand won’t let that happen here.
It’s always good to see a Kingdom of Fife man in the limelight; it is however, quite depressing for me that I raced against his dad!
David Lines: Winner of the 2008 Scottish criterium series, the last time I saw him in action was at the ‘cross champs — he looked happier today.
Alistair Robinson: Not a rider I know an awful lot about, but I remember him looking classy on a FELT in the Trossachs, last season.
Gary Hand: With Jonathan McBain, the man behind the new squadra; his face graced VeloVeritas many times last year – including topping and tailing the 2008 Super Six series in beautiful East Lothian at Gifford and Saltoun.
With his motivation on a new high this year and a strong team to support him, why shouldn’t he be on the podium in Premier Calendar races?
Duncan Urquhart: Is on Army business in Cyprus, but is back in business with the goal of riding the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
If he can just ride a little more with his head than his legs, he’ll be a big winner for Endura in 2009.
Callum Wilkinson: File under ‘up and coming,’ with experienced riders around him to advise, this season could be the breakthrough year for the slim, classy ex-bicycleworks rider.
Josh James: All the way from Vancouver Canada and an honorary Fifer at the moment, living in Saint Andrews, that’ll do for me!
Gordon Murdoch: Super Six winner and general beast of a man, surely Premier podium places are within his grasp?
Scott McCrae: Always a presence in the Scottish races I watched last year.
One wee point, Greg — it would have been nice if the guys were facing the audience and not a bad idea is to ask each rider a couple of questions, it makes it all a little more interesting.
Sponsor time and Jim McFarlane was to the point; he wants to use the team as a vehicle to get his products better known to the road fraternity, not just mountain bikers; he wants to use the squad for research and development of new product; and he wants to ‘put a little back’ into the sport.
I got my ‘Minutes With’ Gary, James, Dave and Josh — watch for them in The Comic over the next few weeks — but a minute isn’t really long enough for Jamesy!
So far, so good — but now it’s all down to what happens when the flags begin to drop.
Like last year, VeloVeritas will be at Gifford for the first Super Six to see if Gary Hand can carry on where he left off last season.
As we left, Greg asked me about other team launches I’ve attended; ‘best not dwell,’ I explained, ‘the last one I was at was Saunier Duval — and we know what happened to them!’
With thanks for having us to Team Endura Racing and wishing them ‘all the best for 2009.’