Monday, December 6, 2021
HomeInterviewsAlex Coutts - Scottish Professional with Flanders

Alex Coutts – Scottish Professional with Flanders

-

After a year at DFL, 23 year-old Scottish professional Alex Coutts from Gorebridge, has renewed old sponsorship links with Flemish bike concern, Flanders.

We caught-up with him recently at mentor John Anderson’s Edinburgh shop, the Bicycleworks. Alex Coutts was just back from a training trip to Spain and is already looking like he is ready for action.

Alex Coutts
Alex poses in John’s Edinburgh Triathlon shop.

Tell us about 2006, Alex.

“It wasn’t a great year for me, I was ill after the Commonwealth Games and never seemed to recover from that.

“I don’t think we raced enough either; we were based in Leuven near Brussels and a lot of the races we rode were in Holland.

“They were mostly pro-ams; in Holland it’s always windy and the echelons form – it’s not really the type of racing I’m best suited to.”

Back to Flanders; so it’s like going home?

“Flanders only supply the bikes, the main sponsor is, ‘Babes World’, I believe it’s trendy ladies clothing. With the untimely death of Flanders team-supremo Frans Assez this year, there have been some major changes.”

Why the split with DFL?

“I just think it will be a better structure for me now as far as the races I will be riding goes. For example, there will be more stage racing and also hilly single day races, the team has good contacts with organisers all over Europe.

“I’m familiar with many of the events because it’s a similar programme to the one I rode with Flanders two years ago.”

How do you go about finding a new team, and do you have a manager?

“I’ve been in Belgium for a few years now and I’ve made a lot of contacts so you get to know who to talk to.

“John Anderson (joint-owner of the Bicycleworks with former Scottish champion, Andrew Davies) acts as my consultant. He was present when I had the meeting with Ronnie Poolvorde where I agreed terms.

“John has had a connection with Flanders for a number of years now and a lot of what happens in pro racing is down to contacts.”

Why the Flanders link again though?

“As I said, Flanders are only the bike sponsors but there is a ‘roll-over’ of personnel from the ‘old’ team; for example, Andre the mechanic will still be on the team.

“I think they will help me a lot; not just chuck me into races which don’t suit me. They’ve seen me race and know what I am capable of.”

What’s the programme for 2007?

“We have a training camp at Calpi in late January where we’ll be picking-up our bikes and clothing. I think we’re on carbon frames with Campag Record groupsets this season.

“Then it’s the GP Ouverture, Etoille des Besseges, Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and most of the Belgian and French semi-classics like the E3, Scheldeprijs and right through to the GP Isbergues. I also be riding the Tour of Serbia where I finished top ten a couple of years ago.”

Where will you be staying?

“It will be in Flanders but we haven’t yet finalised exactly where. There are ten Belgian guys in the team so it may be with one of them but John also has a couple of options to explore for me.”

With your talents as a climber might France or Italy not be a better option for you?

“I’ve raced in Italy before with the Endura team before it folded, but it’s getting harder to get a place there. I believe the Italian federation has tightened-up on the number of foreigners allowed in teams.

“France is a big country and it’s easy for your results to get ‘lost’ there in the huge number of races that are held.

“Also, In my experience, France is quite an insular scene Having said that, we’ll be riding in France regularly and taking-in some challenging events. When I was in Spain just last week there was a news item on TV that said there are 50 Spanish professionals looking for contracts.

“It’s also the case that many pros wouldn’t have a contract if they didn’t bring personnal sponsors on-board with them.

“Against that background I feel I’m very lucky to have a confirmed place on a good outfit with a sound race programme.”

Does the team have a nominated leader and what are your goals for 2007?

“There’s a rumour that Francesco Planckaert is joining us, but I don’t know if that’s true. As for personal goal – that’s simply to perform as well as I can in the races I ride.”

Alex Coutts
The Bicycleworks John Anderson has looked after Alex’ interests for a while now, setting up contacts in Belgium for him.

Thanks for your time Alex. John Anderson will be accompanying Alex Coutts to the Calpi training camp in January, and will be sending VeloVeritas exclusive pictures. We also hope to keep in touch with Alex throughout the season.

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

Related Articles

Kyle Gordon – At Altitude on Mount Teide

Last season, after the Scottish Kilometre Championship we said that not many 100 milers have become kilometre riders. We were talking about that man Kyle Gordon, and he's done it again, stepping up to Bronze in the British Kilo Championship with fellow HUUB man and Scot, Jonny Wale taking gold.

Andy Fenn – Winner of the Gullegem Koerse 2013

One of the biggest professional kermises in Flanders is the Gullegem Koerse, first held in 1942 when Belgian legend Marcel Kindt claimed victory. Since then it’s been won by many of the hardest kermis riders in the game – Willy Tierlinck, Wilfried Nelissen, Nico Eeckhout, Gert Omloop to name a few. Not to mention some of the best roadmen of their eras; including Nico Mattan, Peter Van Petegem and Philippe Gilbert. And for this year’s edition we can boast of a Scottish winner in Andy Fenn – well, his mum is Scottish and he rode the Commonwealth Games for us in Delhi.

Stuart Balfour – Racing 2021 with Swiss Racing Academy

David Rayner Fund 2018 ‘rider of the year,’ Heriot man, Stuart Balfour was busy post the 2020 ‘lock down’ and season 2021 sees him step up a level to UCI Continental team, Swiss Racing Academy which boasts former multiple World Time Trial and reigning Olympic Time Trial Champion, Fabian Cancellara as it’s patron.

Brian Smith – Team Dimension Data’s General Manager

With the retirement of David Miller, Scotland has just one representative left in the World Tour, Sky’s Andy Fenn; but with MTN-Qhubeka morphing into ‘Dimension Data for Qhubeka’ for 2016 and moving up to the first division of professional cycling the nation has another man at the heart of world cycling. Brian Smith is General Manager with the South African team and always happy to chat to VeloVeritas. Here’s what he had to say to us as the day before his riders Cam Meyer and Nathan Haas grabbed second and fourth behind Jack Bobridge in the Australian Elite Road race Championships in Ballarat.

The 1962 Usher Silver Tankard Road Race

Usher Silver Tankard Nostalgia: “describes a sentimental longing for the past” defines the dictionary. I’m not one to sit and say that everything was better when I was a youngster – bikes certainly weren’t; much of the equipment available was scrap and would get laughed out of court in 2013. Cycling clothing was horrible and cycling shoes were positively medieval. Albeit cars were cooler, music was better and so was the cycling scene.

John Archibald – On the Cusp of a New Adventure

The last time we spoke to John Archibald he’d just won the Scottish Road Race Championship; since then he’s won a medal in the inaugural ‘mixed’ TTT Worlds in Harrogate, ridden well in the individual Worlds TT, enjoyed a World Cup in Minsk which saw him bested only by Filippo Ganna in the individual pursuit...

At Random

Le Tour de France 2011, Stage 15 – kicking around the Limoux départ

Le Tour de France 2011 and We couldn't get out of Andorra quickly enough. Before 08:00 we got the lift down from the 5th floor of the hotel, to be greeted by great plumes of cigarette smoke belching out of the breakfast area. Last night's determination to "make a fuss about the lack of advertised weefee" evaporated, as we just wanted to put distance between us and this horrid place as fast as possible.

Angus Claxton – from Plockton to Kortrijk

According to our research, the village of Plockton in Ross and Cromarty has a population of 378 – but it should actually be ‘377 and one would-be Kermis King.’ And you thought Plockton was only famous for ‘Hamish Macbeth’ and one of VeloVeritas’s favourite movies, ‘The Wicker man.’ Enter young Angus Claxton...

Giro di Lombardia – Day One

Ciao! Five K from Como, 14:42 on Friday. It's 13.5 degrees on the car computer but feels much warmer in the Lombardian sun. Dave's at the helm, we've been fed and I've got the Gazzetta on my lap - I'm having a "Giro flashback!"

Loudoun Moscow APR 2007

Blue skies, sunshine, daffodils and a cool easterly wind greeted a full complement of 60 riders, divided into five groups for the 35 mile Moscow APR race. Group one was given a seven minute headstart on the small scratch group which contained the veteran >50 winner from The Lake APR last Sunday, Jocky Johnstone (East Kilbride Road Club).

Le Tour de France 2009 – Stage 20: Montélimar > Mont Ventoux, 167km

Today was the famous Mont Ventoux stage... It's 9:00 pm and we're headed for the A7 "Autoroute du Soleil," and the drive north to Paris.

Le Tour de France 2010, Stage 17: Pau – Col du Tourmalet; Top Two Ahead, Big Gaps Behind

'Andy talks tough !' say the headlines, he did try his best yesterday, his men used whatever was left to drive up the lower part of the Col du Tourmalet - then he went for it. However, not for one moment did it look like Alberto Contador was under pressure.