Friday, October 22, 2021
HomeInterviewsTeam Endura - Under the Radar; but not for long!

Team Endura – Under the Radar; but not for long!


Here at VeloVeritas we: felt that those Endura Racing boys would be giving us plenty to write about in 2009, so we thought we’d better sit them down with them and have a few words.

As well as Jonathan McBain (owner of Pedal Power Cycles) and a lean and fit looking Gary Hand, a keen as mustard James McCallum was there too; so it turned into a lot of words! :

How’s the UCI approval going?

Jonathan: “All the fees are paid; funny thing is that before the fees were paid we were getting calls every day from British Cycling, but since they’ve had the money — not a cheep!”

L to R: James, Gary, and Jonathan.

James, why leave Plowman Craven to join Endura?

James: “It was a stressful team to be in, on the one hand I had Tony Gibb telling me everything was fine, but on the other I had the manager, Eddie White telling me; ‘it’s hard to find a place for you.’ Maybe I was getting complacent there; this situation is a good one, in at the start of a fresh team, helping to develop it.”

Has Scottish Cycling been supportive and what sort of reaction are you getting in general, from Scottish cyclists?

Gary: “Scottish Cycling is pretty much geared towards youth development, the money comes from Sports Scotland and they want to see youngsters being brought through. As for cyclists in general, the feedback has been good, positive; except for a guy — Scott CR1 — who keeps asking daft questions about us on the forums!”

Gary, you’ll have no problem holding your own in England, but what about the rest of the team?

Gary: “Each rider has a job to do, we’re not going down to put nine guys in the top 20, if we have one man on the podium and the rest don’t finish, then that that’s fine, the job’s done. But we’ve also strengthened the team — we have James, Duncan Urquhart, Dave Smith and Callum Wilkinson. We have a mix of experienced guys and riders on the way up, who we’ll be trying to point in the right direction.”

Gary Hand.
Gary Hand.

Talking of England, are drugs much of a problem south of the border, part of the gap in levels?

James: “Not a major problem, but I think we’re all blinded by the; ‘he’s a nice guy, he wouldn’t do that!’ syndrome, so it’s hard to say.”

Maybe one or two of your riders, shall we say; ‘aren’t the world’s hardest trainers?’

Gary: “All of our riders have SRM or Powertap set-ups and they are all connected by ‘Training Peaks’ software to Mark Young’s central computer, he analyses what everyone is doing. And they all know that they’ll have to train harder than ever if we want to achieve our goal of riding the Tour of Britain.”
James: “A thing that I’ve been stressing to them is that we’re a Continental squad, not a club team anymore — the way you train, the way you race, the way you act, it all has to be different.”

You must have been inundated with requests to join?

Jonathan: “We had quite a few, I even had an east European guy emailing me about joining; he was very keen; I think there are a lot of riders without contracts out there. One ‘well known Irish rider’ was very keen to join us: he even had his own frame sponsor.”

Who’s going to surprise us?

Gary: “I think that Dave Smith is due a big result, but the way we’re looking at it is to have specific targets with riders having a job to do.”

The new Team Emdura on their first training camp around Loch Earn in early November.
The new Team Emdura on their first training camp around Loch Earn in early November.

James, how to keep the ‘young uns’ feet on the ground, but not de-motivate them?

James: “If you’re sitting around a table with experienced riders who know what they are talking about, you either listen, or you’re stupid! There’s no one else in Scotland can give them what we’re giving them.”

Jonathan, what’s in it for you, from a business perspective?

Jonathan: “Not much! But it’s not about that, it’s a personal thing; I look at what we’ve done in one year and it’s phenomenal — to pull in a major sponsor such as Endura and be on the brink of being a Continental team.”

How’s the programme coming along?

Gary: “The Tour of Britain is a major target, we’ll be targeting the likes of the Sweet Spot crit series — they’re selection races for the T of B, we definitely need UK results. We’ve had lots of invites — from the Tour of Turkey for example, but until we get our status confirmed by the UCI we can’t firm these things up.”

The British calendar looks good on paper.

Gary: “The ten Sweet Spot crits will place a bit of a logistical strain on us, but we have to ride them if we’re serious about Tour of Britain selection. One good thing is that its teams of five, but you don’t have to have the same five riders in every race.” 

James has a point to prove next season.
James has a point to prove next season.

Will you be riding all those crits, James?

James: “I want to win them!”

Word is that you could have won the British crit champs again this year?

James: “It was quite possible, I was away in a group and the fastest there, but Evan brought the bunch back up — ‘team orders’ for Tony Gibb.” (Gibb was eventually third, behind winner Dean Downing and Rob Hayles)

There’s a point to prove this year, then?

James: “Definitely!”

Your first ’08 race will be?

Gary: “Probably the first Super Six at Gifford, or maybe the Soens — they’re on the same day; then there’s the Bike Line two day.”

Girvan — a home winner?

Gary: “It’s our home race and the only Scottish leg of the Premier Calendar, so of course we want a result. We’ll be a bit ‘under the radar’ with all the big English teams battling it out — but it’s always the last day that counts. I had the King of the Mountains jersey until the last stage this year and it was disappointing to loose it, but I think that our best chance this year is with Duncan Urquhart, maybe not overall, but a stage is possible. On paper Plowman Craven will be strongest, but they don’t have a lot of friends in the bunch; that’s one thing I think we’ll have going for us – the Scottish riders won’t be riding against us.”
James: “And I want to win the crit!”

Goals for 2008?

Jonathan: “We want to get a ride in the Tour of Britain, if not 2008, then certainly 2009; we want James to get good results in the criteriums; we want on the podium at Premier Calendars and we want UCI points.”
James: “…and we all want to enjoy it, we’re all in it together, we want good morale in the squad, everyone getting on and riding for their own individual goal within the team.”
Gary: “We feel that we’re doing something for Scottish cycling, giving young riders and other teams something to aspire to.”

And that’s hard to argue with. Our thanks to Jonathan, Gary and James for their time and wishing Endura Racing ‘all the best’ for 2009.

The team on their first winter training get-together.

To keep up with what the team are doing, visit their Facebook page.

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

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.

Evan Oliphant – a Bit of Everything

Ever-versatile Endura man, Evan Oliphant crammed just about every discipline into last weekend - criterium, Premier one day and a British grass track title. We had a word...

Craig Maclean – Where to go from here?

Craig Maclean has nine golds and two silvers. That's what Team GB took away from the Manchester World Track Championships, back in April. A repeat performance in Beijing is entirely possible. How does British Cycling do it? One of the reasons is that their selection criteria is ruthless; past glory counts for nothing.

Oscar Onley – Looking Forward to 2021 with Sunweb’s u23 Team

Oscar Onley recently caught the attention of many, including Team Sunweb, with his win at Tour de Savoie Mont Blanc cycle sportive, a mountain time trial that took place on the same course as the final stage of the elite men’s race of the same name. For season 2021 Oscar will be riding with the World Tour Team’s u23 development squad.

Chris Hoy – the Next Olympic Keirin Champion?

You're the Olympic kilometre champion, but the 'powers that be' decide to remove the event from the programme at the next Olympics-what do you do? If you're Chris Hoy, you go out and transform yourself into the best keirin rider in the world!

Mark Stewart – World Cup Points Race Winner Dropped from Team GB

The thing about being on a World Tour or Pro Conti professional team is that your fate doesn’t hang on just one ride. But it seems that it does with British Cycling. Mark Stewart, had a strong winter 2019/20 World Cup campaign, but despite those rides Stewart has been axed from the GB team on the strength of an admittedly below par 12th place ride in the World Points Race Championship in Berlin.

At Random

Peter Murdoch – The Man Behind Blanca Bikes

Remember Peter Murdoch? He raced at a high level as a junior on the road. In those days he roomed with a guy named Bradley Wiggins, whatever happened to him? Peter runs Blanca Bikes, providing the full package for those who want some serious training in the sunshine – or who just want to potter ‘sans thermals’ and enjoy a beer and some tapas with that vibe that you only get in those old Spanish bars.

Traksel takes Kuurne Brussels Kuurne 2010 – Best Belge in 8th Place

Kuurne Brussels Kuurne 2010... "Opgave door storm" says the headline, of Tom Boonen - 'gave up during the storm'; I don't ever remember seeing that headline about Eddy Merckx. For the last four years, Kuurne Brussels Kuurne is where QuickStep have pulled the fat out of the fire on the Sunday, after a disastrous Het Volk on the Saturday.

The Final Efforts: Stage 18 (bunchie)

The Final Efforts. We’re on the downhill slope for this race now, and the fatigue is starting to show. It’s getting tougher and tougher to chisel our heads off the pillow each morning, and the coffees are having smaller and smaller effects.

Eddie Dunbar joins Team Sky

Team Sky are delighted to announce the immediate signing of Eddie Dunbar. Dunbar, who is set to make his Team Sky debut on Saturday at Coppa Agostoni, has agreed a deal to the end of the 2019 season. The Irishman, 22, was contracted to Aqua Blue Sport for the 2018 season, but – following the closure of the team – Aqua Blue and the UCI have granted Dunbar permission to leave his contract early and sign for Team Sky.

James Moss’ Guide to Food and Training Camp Eating Etiquette

James Moss has always loved eating but more recently, food has become one of the most important things in his life. He's sure this is the case with most, if not all, cyclists out there but he can't get enough of the stuff...

Giro d’Italia 2007 – Day 2: Stage 1, Caprera – La Maddalena (Team TT)

It's now 19.45 on Saturday evening, and we're sat in the car en route La Maddalena listening to The Pioneers, 'Let your yeah be yeah' - crucial, John. The ferry port at Maddalena is grid-locked, but we've got our reggae and a cold Dreher beer, so waiting for the ferry isn't so bad. We shared the ferry out with CSC and Saunier, but they are long-gone on the first ferry out. It's been a cracking day, weather and gig-wise.