Saturday, May 28, 2022
HomeInterviewsRab Wardell - A Trip Into The Unknown

Rab Wardell – A Trip Into The Unknown


Whilst Endura have been getting all the attention recently, other Scottish riders have been looking to raise their game too. Rab Wardell is taking his talent south – to Southport’s Kinesis team. We caught up with him to talk about the move – eventually. (Rab is a fan of having his mobile on ‘silent’ after five pm – but of course, this means he doesn’t hear it when it rings!).

You’re a regional development coach with Scottish Cycling – what does that entail?

“Working with schools and young people to steer riders towards the Scottish youth squad; it’s all geared towards getting kids racing. And if they show promise, get them on the fast track to race success.”

Is there still a “Chris Hoy effect?”

“Cycling is a cool sport at the minute – I’m hoping the hype remains until the summer – you just have to look at the fields for the youths’ cyclo-crosses this winter, they’re through the roof.”

Rab Wardell
Rab in his previous guise as a top MTB’er.

You’re background is in mountain biking.

“Yeah, mostly, I never had any outstanding results but I was always there; top ten. I was top three in the British U23 mountain bike champs and rode for GB, where I got a couple of decent results in UCI mountain bike races in Belgium and Turkey.”

What’s your best road result so far?

“I was fifth on GC in the Tour of the North and was third on a stage – but I should have won that!”

It’s 100% road now?

“Yes, I’m focusing completely on the road from March. I’m training better that I ever have before, maybe less volume but more effectively.

“I learned a lot about training when I was at the Commonwealth Games with Evan Oliphant and James McCallum. I think I used to over-train before, the volume of training I do is down, but I think I’m smarter with my training.

“When I was with the Tayside and Fife Institute of Sport they were big on heavy weights sessions in the gym, to build strength – with that, on top of road training, I was just doing too much.”

Rab Wardell
The Commonwealth Games Road Race bunch – can you spot Rab?

So what’s inspired you to become a road man?

“I came back after a year out and I was really just playing at it, but I did a bit of training for the first Super Six.

“The scene seemed good and it was good to be back racing, part of a team. I’ve become more interested in the road – the distance, the speed, the tactics.”

Why Kinesis?

“I out CVs to folk I know and Kinesis got back to me. It’ll be good to be part of a strong team and to have good support.

“They’re taking a chance with me, but they remember me from my mountain bike days and they know I’m a good climber – most Premiers are hilly, so you have to be able to climb to perform in them.”

Rab Wardell
Rab has performed well this season for Sandy Wallace Cycles.

Isn’t it a contradiction, working for Scottish Cycling then joining an English team?

“I don’t think so; I wouldn’t want to race against Sandy Wallace’s team – he’s been so good to me, ever since I was a junior; and my brother manages the shop.

“I’m going to get access to the best races and I won’t be racing against anyone I’m coaching.”

Kinesis, a frame and bike company?

“UK designed, Taiwan manufactured frames – really nice. I was down at Kinesis and saw the team frames, they’re very light and rigid.

“We’ll be on Dura Ace groupsets; with Oval bars, stem, seatpins; Reynolds wheels and Vittoria tyres. I’m looking forward to having a really top notch road bike; whan I was mountain biking, it was your off road bike that got all the attention and nice equipment – the road bike was your ‘second’ bike.”

Is it a good package?

“Bike, kit, travel, even sun glasses – it’s not costing me money to race.”

Rab Wardell
Leading the bunch in a Super 6 race.

Your programme?

“We’ll be riding the 13 Premier Calendars, the Ras and the Tour of Serbia. It’s five man teams for Ireland and Serbia and I want to be one of the five!

“We’ll be up for Girvan and I’m hoping to get the guys up for some of the Super Sixes; the team’s Canadian riders will be based in Preston, so that’s not too far away. I’ll be also be riding the Scottish Championships.

“My first race will be the Eddie Soens.”

Team goals for 2009?

“We want podiums, whether it’s GC, mountains or stages. We want to race aggresively, get in the breaks and get the name out there.”

Your goals?

“It’s a bit of a trip into the unknown for me, so I want to go in fit. I’m looking for top 20’s in Premiers; I’m hoping to climb well.

“I’m looking forward to the Ras and I’m looking forward to having a job to do for the team – supporting the guys who are going well.”

Rab Wardell
Bike handling skill won’t be a problem on a roadbike.

Despite his “defection,” we wish Rab well and hope it’s not too long before we’re interviewing him again.

Ed Hood
Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 47 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, a team manager, and a 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 for some of the world's top riders. 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

James Shaw – Moving to Belgium and to Lotto Soudal U23 in 2015

The last time we spoke to young Englishman, James Shaw he'd just won the junior edition of Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. Recently he's followed in the footsteps of Adam Blythe and Dan McLay by signing for Lotto's U23 'feeder' team. High time we had another word with him, we thought to ourselves...

Jake Stewart – Second in u23 Gent – Wevelgem 2018

‘Jake Stewart, Great Britain?’ Second in the u23 Gent-Wevelgem and third in the Trofeo Piva in Italy, strong results – but we know that name... Ah! Yes, he and Fred Wright won the Berlin Six u23 race in 2017 and VeloVeritas was their official photographer for the day best have a word with the man...

Mark Stewart – This Young Scot is British Points Race Champion 2014

At the next Commonwealth Games there’ll be no David Millar or ‘Jamesie’ and even the perennial Evan Oliphant might not make it to Gold Coast City, Australia in 2018. But Dundee’s Mark Stewart should be there; at just 19 he took sixth place in the 20 K Scratch Race in Glasgow behind New Zealand’s World’s Omnium medallist, Shane Archbold with the distance being covered in 22:43 @ 52.819 kph – that’s quick.

Ollie Robinson – a Great Start to 2020 in Belgium

It’s that time of the year again; when young men cross the North Sea to the Flatlands, full of dreams of pro contracts, flowers and kisses from pretty podium girls. It doesn’t always work out like that for all of them but one young English rider has made a very strong start to 2020 with excellent early results; young Mr. Ollie Robinson.

Tsgabu Grmay – MTN-Qhubeka’s Star of the Future

Stage Five of the Tour of Korea was a historic one - the first ever win for an Ethiopian rider at this level; youngster, Tsgabu Grmay of South Africa’s first Pro Continental team, MTN-Qhubeka powered by Samsung. This year has seen the man from Mekele, 2,000 metres up in the Tigrayan Highlands of Etiopia land a top ten GC placing in the Tour of Langkawi as well as second on GC in Taiwan to go with his stage win. We caught up with him upon his return to Europe to ride the Tour of Trentino.

Tom Copeland – An Introduction

Here at VeloVeritas, we encourage you to submit your race results and stories to us, and young Tom Copeland recently did just that.

At Random

The VV View: Vik Goes Disc Brakes, Our Heroes, and Two British World Cyclo-Cross Champions?

Remember Ernesto Colnago said he’d never have anything to do with that Japanese mountain bike, A-head nonsense? And remember our VeloVeritas Mentor and Prophet, Vik said he’d have never have anything to do with those ‘industry driven,’ dangerous disc brakes? Well...

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...

Arbitrary Decisions, Senna and Joe Papp

'Senna,' is a powerful film; the man was fast, brave, committed, and ruthless behind the wheel, but religious, handsome, humble, funny, and devoted to his family, very fond of the ladies and an inspiration to a whole nation. And all of Brazil grieved for him when he died in that horrific crash at Imola in 1994. As well as a portrait of an amazing sportsman the film gives us a rare look at the machinations of the men-or rather man-who run the sport at the highest levels.

Christina Mackenzie – Land’s End to John O’Groats Record Breaker!

Congratulations are in order as Christina Mackenzie became the fastest-ever woman to traverse the largest of the British Isles from it’s south western to north eastern tips. Christina, originally from the Isle of Lewis but now Stirling-based took time to speak to VeloVeritas a day or two after her epic ride.

La Vuelta a España 2012 – Stage 5: Logroño – Logroño 168.0 km

Argos’s John Degenkolb was ‘speechless’ about his second stage win in Logroño; but did manage to say that the last K was crazy fast and his team did a great job for him – that sounds about right.

Paul McHugh – “Big Mac”, the Show-Stopper

Before ‘The Plan,’ Britain had a sprinter who looked like he was the real thing. He had the bulldog build, the aggression and fast twitch muscles; but most importantly - the stopwatch confirmed that he was seriously quick. It wasn’t until the likes of Craig Maclean and Sir Chris Hoy came along that Paul McHugh’s British 200 metres record was beaten.