Brian Smith has been helping put the 2010 squad together – we spoke to him yesterday and here’s what he had to say.
Did Endura approach you to help recruit, Brian?
“Jim McFarlane from Endura first approached me at the Tour Series criteriums; he was a little disappointed with how this year has gone for Endura.
“A month or two after that, we began to talk in more depth, Jim said that wants to do it right for 2010; he has a new line of top line clothing coming up — l’Equipe range – and he wants a team to promote it.
“We agreed a budget and that I should help build a team — as I did for Cervelo last winter.
“I spoke to few guys on the GB circuit to ask what the going rates are for home pros — I simply didn’t know what guys get paid here, but I think that’s been wrongly interpreted as me trying to ‘poach’ all sorts of names; there’s a lot of hearsay out there!”
Will your involvement be on-going?
“No, that’s not what I want to do, I’m part of our Cyclevox organisation; as soon as I was involved with running a team, none of the other teams would want anything to do with Cyclevox for PR or promotion work.”
How did you go about finding riders?
“I looked at the guys on the Tour Series crits and saw what was what — the core of the team was already there by that time; James McCallum, Ross Creber, Evan Oliphant and Gary Hand – but Jim wants a team made up of GB riders, not just Scots.”
How do you choose which riders?
“They have to be competitive in the Tour Series and in the Premier Calendars — its also important that we get riders who can have in-put on the new L’Ã‰quipe clothing.”
Why Big Bob?
“The guys with the management experience are spoken for, so I thought it would be a good progression for him as rider-manager. Perhaps it could be an eventual progression for him to Team Sky, who knows?
“He’s an innovative guy; he customises and tweaks his equipment until he gets it how he wants — that’s important, the kind of rider to give Endura the feedback that they need.”
Who else is coming?
“There are ‘political’ reasons as to why I can’t say too much about that at the moment but I’ll let you know as they put pen to paper.”
Will the team hold a Continental licence?
“Yes, the team will be Continental; the programme is something that we’ll start to look at once we have the riders signed.”
Endura 2010 will be very different from Endura 2009, then?
“A different level altogether, it will be a twelve man squad of full time riders with no part time riders.
“The Continental licence won’t just be for the sake of having it; they’ll ride a programme to justify it.
“The budget is much increased, this year — into six figures.”
“We’re looking to win the Tour Series criteriums; be competitive in the Premier Calendar and get a ride in the Tour of Britain.”
Will there be additional sponsors?
“Endura want to keep the jersey as ‘clean’ as possible — the real professional look.
“There will be other smaller sponsors who’ll commit five figures but I don’t want to firm that up until the full team is announced and they know who’ll be riding for us.
“To get another big name on the jersey would take a lot of money.”
“We’re talking to a couple of big European names but again, don’t want to say too much until the team is finalised so as the supplier knows what they are getting.”
“We haven’t sat down and talked about a programme but I have contacts and opportunities; once we have the names finalised – Continental organisers are keen to see British teams.”
And the Commonwealth Games?
“Yes, the team is committed to helping their Games riders do well; we’re hoping to have riders from England and Wales, as well as Scotland.
“It’s too early for me to think about the Games but our programme will have to include races that the guys are competitive in Delhi — getting them there in the best shape is Rob’s job; it will reflect on him how well they do.”
What would make the team a success for you?
“An overall win in the Tour Series criteriums and a stage win in the Tour of Britain.”
As the sales managers say to their men; ‘man with no target hit nothing,’ Brian’s obviously heard that one!: With thanks to Brian for his time; VeloVeritas will keep you abreast of any developments, as they happen.