The last few weeks we’ve been catching up with the young men who are out there in the Heartlands across Europe ‘doing it’ – Brittany, Lombardy and of course, Flanders.
Englishman Ross Lamb – another man supported by the stalwart David Rayner Fund – has been notching up the results in the Flatlands:
- 4th in Heusden-Zolder
- 2nd at Pulderbos
- 2nd at Booischot
- 3rd in the Memorial Vanconinsloo
- 3rd at Huldenberg
- 2nd at Geetbeets and
- 2nd in Linden Lubbeek.
If you’re unaware of the David Rayner Fund; he was a successful young English professional who competed in Europe, the UK and USA. He lost his life in an appalling nightclub incident where a bouncer overstepped the mark.
The Fund’s website explains;
‘After his tragic death, the cycling community wanted to support his memory by giving other young riders the chance to follow in Dave’s footsteps and since then over £600,000 in grants have been given to riders to enable them to race abroad.
Among the riders supported have been Dave Millar (one of the very first recipients of a grant), through to more recent champions like Adam Yates.’
High times we heard what the 21 year-old Mr. Lamb had to say for himself.
Some nice results so far this season, Ross.
“Yes, and I was third in the Halen UCI 1.12b recently.
“I have a few Inter Clubs coming up – so there’ll lots of cobbles!
“You can race every day in Flanders if you want to and there are PDF’s of all the races on the ‘net now which makes it easy to plan your season out – where to peak and where to taper…”
How’s the level of support from the team?
“I’m with United Cycling Team – Truckstop, we get great support on race day, car, massage, food – everything you need.
“I came over last year for a spell, got some results and was asked if I wanted to ride for them.
“But it’s not just help from the team; in the local Cafe SurPlace when folks are in for a coffee or beer and see that you’re getting a few placings they ask if you need help with getting to races.
“That’s such a big help, coming home in a car is so much better than arriving back home at 10:00 pm in the dark with a backpack and no lights!”
And you’re a David Rayner funded man?
“Yes, that’s been a big help and Joscelin Ryan who’s with the fund has also been a huge help to us – I’m staying here [in Belgium, with Joscelin and Tim Harris. ed.] with fellow Rayner rider, Adam Lewis.
“We do our own cooking though; we have a rota for that – and we do our own washing too.”
Where are you from in the UK – and why Belgium?
“I’m from Mansfield in England where I rode for Godfrey Bikewear.
“I always had the desire to get to Belgium; I knew I was never going to get into any of the British Cycling programmes because I was too old, having come to cycling from football.
“I was attracted to Flanders by the stories you hear – grim weather and super hard racing!
“And the David Rayner Fund grant helped to make that possible for me.”
How does the time pass for you?
“It’s funny you should ask that question, I’m always asking myself that!
“I should have plenty of time but never seem to have two minutes to myself; if I’m not racing then I’m training.
“Although my body prefers to race and I don’t do that many runs up to the three or four hour mark – most of my runs are 90 minutes to two hours.
“But when I’m not actually on the bike then I’m cleaning it or shopping, cleaning, washing or cooking.”
On the subject of training, do you have a coach?
“Yes, I’m coached by Bryan Steel [former British team pursuit specialist who rode four Olympic Games with a bronze and silver medal to show; 14 Worlds with a bronze and four silvers; three Commonwealth Games with a bronze and two silver plus 35 British Championship medals, ed.].
“We speak every week and discuss which races I’m going to use for training and which I’m going for a result in.
“Bryan’s been there and done it all so I have huge respect for his advice.”
How’s the equipment bearing up to those Flanders cobbles?
“We ride Ridley Fenix SLXs and have had absolutely no problems, they’re really solid bikes.”
And how’s the Vlaamse chat coming along?
“I have bits and bobs, I can follow a conversation – although sometimes it’s just a noise – but I can’t speak it to any extent.
“That’s certainly a goal for the winter to learn the language.”
Do you get the chance to go and watch the pro races?
What about the rest of the season?
“I have five Inter Club races to ride and pro kermises too – my mother is coming over for me on October 8th, that’s when my season will end.”
What’s 2018 about?
“I want to move up a level; a team like AN Post would be nice to ride for; so that’s the 2018 ambition – to get a ride for a Continental squad.”
VeloVeritas wishes Ross every success in his ambitions and will keep a weather eye on those results.