Saturday, July 24, 2021
HomeInterviewsJohn Herety - Gearing up for Girvan

John Herety – Gearing up for Girvan


John Herety has won a Peace Race stage, French amateur classics, the British pro road champs and was robbed of the GP Pino Cerami — the judges gave it to local hero Rony van Holen — but photos later showed that the Englishman’s wheel was first across the line.

John Herety
John is still enjoying himself.

Now he’s passing all that experience on to a new generation through his role as team manager of London squad Rapha-Condor Recycling, who are north of the border to recce the hills, gravel, rain, wind farms and sheep that are — Girvan.

The guys are riding the Musselburgh 3-Up, John?

“It’s a good skill to have, roadmen used to ride a lot of them back in the ‘good old days,’ there was nothing on in England and we were coming up to do our Girvan recce, so we just thought we’d ride.”

Team morale must be good after the Bikeline win?

“Yes, very good but there will be no complacency, we’re expected to be the best team, we were on the training camp then started racing early, so we have a little advantage, but the other teams will catch us up, so we’re taking nothing for granted.”

Dean is going well, isn’t he?

“Interestingly, despite all the years he’s raced and been a big name on the UK scene, that’s the first time he’s ever had a team at his disposal like that.

“He was very nervous about the responsibility and he learned a lot about handling pressure.”

John Herety
John rode for Coop – Mercier with Joop Zoetemelk.

Girvan, it must be a big deal, here you are a week before the start.

“I did this last year, we came up a week early to get to know the roads, there’s obviously the training aspect, but if you know that the top is ‘just round the next corner’ then you can dig a bit deeper and hang on.

“The squad is predominantly the same as last year, but it does no harm to remind the guys of what to expect. It’s going to be a hard race to win; we’re the team to beat at the moment, so I expect we’ll get other teams collaborating against us — that’s bike racing, though! “Girvan is a different race from the Bikeline, there’s no opening time trial, but there are time bonuses — the race is won and lost on the bonuses.

“We can’t leave it to those bonuses because there are some quick guys — like Evan (Oliphant of PCA) and Wilko (’07 Girvan winner, Andy Wilkinson of Science in Sport — Trek) who are liable to grab them. Wilko is probably the favourite; but I know that Evan is also very motivated to win, he’s a big threat.”

What about the Rapha v. PCA rivalry?

“We’re both trying to encourage it! It gets us more column inches, but we want to keep it friendly, the British cycling scene is too small to have grudge matches going on, but provided it’s light hearted I don’t think it’s a problem. I think some of the internet forums have been getting a bit heated about which is the best team, though!”

John Herety
It’s 26 years since John turned pro!

It’s 26 years since you turned pro — how do you remain so enthusiastic?

“I love it; it’s a lot better than working for a living! My career as a pro was cut short by illness, so it wasn’t like I’d ‘had enough of it’ when I stopped racing.

“I wouldn’t want to manage at any higher level than this, but it would be nice to have a little more money in the budget. I’m quite happy that we’re a ‘feeder team’ for riders to move on to greater things from.”

Rapha/PCA/Pinarello/SIS/Halfords — the UK scene is getting better isn’t it; could it be like the 80’s again, with city centre races?

“The last three or four years have certainly seen the racing improve, it’s mainly the same guys winning, but in better organised teams. That’s one of the pleasures of the job, teaching young riders how to race properly, you see riders who have never won a Premier Calendar race going up the road from the gun — I don’t know what they are trying to achieve.

“The racing here is getting more like continental racing with the race-winning move generally being made late in the race. As for the future, it’s getting more difficult with the police (witness the demise of the Archer Grand Prix) and I think that place to place racing will be very hard to organise.

“City centre racing will be harder to organise these days too with the increasing move towards pedestrian precincts; although the Smithfield nocturne is proving to be a big success. I think the future is liable to be along Belgian lines, with kermesse type racing and rapport built with local communities.”

Why is ‘Rapha’ the dominant sponsor?

“If you look on the back of the jersey, you’ll see a little logo that says ‘recyclinglives’ — this is a new initiative that Recycling are involved in: there are going to be 10 or 12 centres around the country where people can go and get their lives back on track — people who have maybe left the forces, but with nowhere to live or a plan for the future.

John Herety
Click to jump to Recyclinglives.

“They can live at one of these centres and work there too — recycling televisions, computers and the like. This is a big project and it’s moving very quickly because a politician was impressed by the scheme and has embraced it. With all this on the go, Recycling have eased back on their involvement, but they hope to be back in a bigger way, next year.”

How’s Chris Newton after his crash?

“He had a titanium plate fitted to the collar bone at Sheffield Hallam University on Tuesday and he’s hoping to be back on the turbo in five or six days, maybe racing in four weeks.”


“Having lived in France, I’d like to see the UCI win! The Tour has become so big and ASO so strong, but you can’t have a race organiser dictating to the sport’s governing body. It’s no surprise to see French politicians involved on the side of ASO, the revenue that the Tour brings into France is phenomenal and they won’t want to see that jeopardised.

“The thing is though, that the Tour is the best race in the world, really only the Americans can challenge that dominance, if you look at the way the Tours of California and Georgia have grown it’s very impressive. The teams stay in these wonderful hotels and the word goes round that it’s a good race, so the riders forget their usual reluctance to travel across time zones.

“I’m not saying that the UCI will come out on top, but I hope they do.”

VeloVeritas would like to thank John for his time and wish him and the squad all the best for Girvan.

[And anyway, Rony van Holen’s haircuts were always the worst, John!]

Musselburgh 3-up Team Time Trial Result

As mentioned in John’s interview, he fielded 4 teams in yesterday’s Musselburgh RCC 3-Up 28.4-mile time trial in East Lothian, which had a start sheet boasting 30 teams.

3 of the Rapha teams finished in the top 4, with first going to Dale Appleby, Kristian House and Rob Partridge, who won the event with 1-03-52.

However, they were nearly upset by the PedalPower team of Gary Hand, Gordon Murdoch and Scott McRae, who were only 25 seconds away from taking the top spot.

Dean Downing led his 2 team-mates Rhys Lloyd and Ryan Bonser to third place, while fourth place was taken by Tom Diggle, Simon Holt and Graham Briggs.

John’s teams used their road bikes for the 3-up, as there isn’t a time trial at the Girvan next weekend, whilst most of the local teams taking part were competing on their TT bikes, and today John takes his teams over to the West coast to recce the first stage of the Girvan.

  1. Rapha Condor/
    Rob Partridge, Kristian House, Dale Appleby
  2. Pedal Power RT
    Gordon Murdoch, Gary Hand, Scott MaCrae
  3. Rapha Condor/
    Dean Downing, Rhys Lloyd, Ryan Bonser
  4. Rapha Condor/
    Tom Diggle, Graham Briggs, Simon Holt
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

Junior Tour of the Kingdom 2019 goes to Finn Fisher-Black

Overhauling a 34 second deficit from Saturday’s savage Lomond Hills Stage One finale, New Zealand rider Finn Fisher-Black in the colours of Netherlands outfit WWV Junioren took Stage Two and the overall win at the Junior Tour of the Kingdom in Kennoway on Sunday.

Tour DoonHame 2011 Finalé

"Ate that bunny on main climb of day! Went down a treat!" It's texts like that which make it all worthwhile - mission accomplished; Dan Fleeman's Easter bunnies delivered. Vik, Dave and Ivan all 'passed' on the Doon Hame gig; that left it down to Jimmy Leslie and I. The Saturday night crit around Victory Park used to be the traditional pilgrimage - now it's Easter Monday.

At Random

Looking back at the 75th Gent Six Day

Coming to Gent to watch the Six Day, as I have for 20 years, is like meeting up with an old friend, a friend you see just once a year but when you meet you are familiar and easy in each others company. Most familiar is the velodrome, Het Kuipke that hosts the Six Days which has, barring a few upgrades in the bar areas, changed very little during the time I’ve been coming.

Michal Kwiatkowski Eyes Cobbles Return in 2018

Michal Kwiatkowski is hoping to tackle the Tour of Flanders this season as he looks to continue his momentum following a standout 2017 campaign. The Pole enjoyed arguably the best 12 months of his career with marquee victories at Strade Bianche, Milan-San Remo and Clasica San Sebastian, before heading to the Tour de France to help wingman Chris Froome to a fourth title.

Lewis Askey – Signed with Groupama-FDJ then Locked Down

We’ve been big on the ‘retro’ lately – for obvious reasons – but with the season starting to come back to life we’ve been speaking to one of the ‘men of the future’, Lewis Askey. Askey is just 19 years-old and probably best known for winning the 2018 edition of the junior Paris-Roubaix; for season 2020 he’s with Equipe continentale Groupama-FDJ, based in Besancon.

Craig Grieve – Spokes Racing Team Owner

Craig Grieve is the man at the helm of Spokes Cycles, with branches in St. Andrews and Dundee, and manager of the successful junior Spokes Racing Team through which so much talent has passed. Craig raced ‘back in the day’, paying his dues in Belgium and The Netherlands in those 240 rider, warp-speed criteriums.

Copenhagen Six Day 2010 – Day Three

Maybe it was all those minds thinking; 'I hate split sessions' that made the access panel in the track jam? In fact, it was an electrical fault, caused by someone who didn't understand the procedure for shutting the big sliding panel in the track's back straight that meant the Saturday afternoon session was cancelled.

A Lotto Lottery Ticket?

Lotto Lottery Ticket... There are three definite bunch sprints forthcoming in the Tour: the traditional Champs Elysee final stage, and the stages directly before and after the Alps. Today's relatively short stage may also be a bunchie. It's a very lumpy part of the world: virtually no flat, and no straight stretches of road make it an exhausting, but beautiful, area to drive through (let alone ride).