Kristian House (Rapha Condor & GB) is one of those riders who ‘looks the part,’ dark skinned and stylish, he just looks like he can win races.
When we heard about him riding very strongly in the pre season Bay Criterium Series in Australia, we thought we’d better ‘have a word.’
I believe you hail from Lanceland?
“Yes, I grew up in Austin but used to come back to the UK for the summers; my step dad was a computer programmer out there.
“I started racing in Texas when I was 16 — road and mountain bike.
“I got to a good level in the US and was on their Olympic training plan, but then we found out that I was actually English — they wanted me to change nationalities, but I didn’t know if I wanted to do that.
“I rang up the GB national coach and in 1996 I rode my first race for GB, the junior Tour of Wales.”
You had a couple of good seasons in Belgium in ’00 and ’01.
“I rode for the Lombarden squad; I was getting offers from smaller teams, but not the big teams — I was winning, but the races weren’t big enough.”
You had a varied couple of years after that.
“Yeah, I rode the track, I was on the WCPP but eventually they let me go — ‘I wasn’t winning enough,’ but most of the time I was working for Chris Newton or Paul Manning.”
2006 was your ‘breakthrough’ year.
“I was with Recycling; it was a great team, all or nothing, one goal — win!
“I won the Tour of Tasmania, the Ras, the Lincoln and Girvan.
“The result that really set me up was to win a stage in Ruban Granitier; it just gave me so much confidence.”
In 2007 you rode for Navigators, how did that come about?
“They were a US team who came over to race in Europe; they were looking for English speaking riders who knew the Belgian scene.
“Charlie Jackson and John Herety from Recycling said that I should ‘go for it,’ so I did.”
How was it?
“It was an enjoyable year, I rode De Panne for them and as well as Belgium, we raced in Britain, Ireland, Germany and the US; that was good because I saw a lot of old friends.
“At the Tour of Ireland they told us that the team wasn’t continuing; it was one of the oldest teams on the circuit — 18 years.”
Last year was Rapha Condor.
“I really enjoyed it, there was a good group of riders and the sponsors are just so ‘into’ it — I’m always receiving emails from them.”
The squad is bigger and better for ’09, I believe?
“Things have changed, we have more riders; guys like Dan Craven and Darren Lapthorne have joined us and the programme is really ambitious — with races like the Qinghai Lakes.”
You’ve won most big British races, what’s left?
“In every race, I’m there to win; but Lincoln is my favourite race, it’s as close as you’ll get to Belgium in this country with it going from the gun and the crowds on the climb.
“I’ve won most of the Premiers, but I’d love to win the Nationals and a stage or a jersey in the Tour of Britain would be fantastic.
“I have a lot of supporters in Ireland, so a good ride in the Tour of Ireland would be pleasing.”
You have track medals and have ridden summer sixes.
“Those were pretty tough, I was thrown in at the deep end with Tony Gibb — I had the ‘numbers’ to perform, but not the experience.”
Good early season form in Aus, this year.
“I was surprised by that, I’d only done base work until then.
“Graham Brown (Rabobank) was in our team for the Bay Crits and he said; ‘just do your own thing, guys.’
“But when he found himself in the yellow jersey, we got together and said; ‘we can win this for you!’ We controlled the last two races and Brownie won — he was so full of thanks for us at the end, I’ve never seen him like that!”
How did the first Rapha camp go?
“We did plenty of kilometres and the guys all gelled; it gave us a feeling for who’s going — I think that Tom Southam and I are a little ahead of the rest.”
After your next camp you’ll be going to South Africa?
“We’re back to Malaga, then it’s the Giro del Capo — it’s a race I’ve heard good things about.”
You’re racing a lot, early in the season.
“I like to race, especially if I’m on form, but I’ll appraise my programme once I’m fully into competition.
“If I feel I need a break then I’ll take one — you don’t want to over-cook it.”
What are the ‘peaks’ for 2009?
“I haven’t finalised them, but I’d say — the Capo, the Nationals and the Tours of Ireland and Britain.”
Whatever they are, he’ll certainly look good enough to win. With thanks to Kristian for his time and wishing him and Rapha Condor, every success for 2009.