Sunday, November 28, 2021
HomeOtherEditorialTom Copeland - An Introduction

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.

20 year old Tom is a second-year espoir, originally from Eastbourne in East Sussex (he calls it the Sunshine Coast!) and is now living and racing in France.

Tom loves to write in his spare time, and will be keeping us up-to-date as his season progresses, so to kick things off, we thought we’d introduce: him to you now…

Tom Copeland
Introducing Tom Copeland.

Why go to France Tom?

“I had the choice of going straight to Bristol Uni in 2008 or having a year abroad giving it a go… living the dream as you often hear!

“I decided ‘why not?’, and was stuck between the choice of Belgium of France.

“Finally I chose France, given a greater range of races available and also given my height and weight – or lack of; I’m not very suited to the standard Belgian crit racing circuit.”

So it’s a bit different from East Sussex?

“Not really, East Sussex is on the south coast and is perfect for training with a choice of long climbs over the Ashdown Forest within an hours ride or abundant flat and rolling country roads perfect for getting lost on a cold winters day.”

How long did you cycle in UK before crossing the Channel?

“I started cycling quite late and only really started racing as a junior at the end of 2005/2006 season.

“Competing in the junior national series races, I gained lots of experience racing with the likes of Edvald Boassen Hagen in my first junior series race. He was already a beast back then!”

Your palmares in UK?

“Several top 10’s in the Junior national series in 2007 with one podium but no wins. I got several local wins in Elite and 1/2/3 races including races from the popular Surrey League and South East Road Race League which provide most of the racing down my way.

“I also tapped out some good TT’s every now and then, obligatory for an English cyclist, including winning the Team prize at both the 10 and 25 mile junior national champs.”

So you: considered Flanders?

“Brittany “crepes” vs. Belgian “frites”… I chose the pancakes!”

Where about are you in France?: 

“I am in the Finistère region of Brittany, over on the north west coast of France, well known for its micro-climate of wind and rain rolling off the ocean. But the awesome pancakes make up for all that obviously!”

Tom Copeland
Where Tom is.

How long have you been there?

“This is my second season out here; I got hooked and put off my university place for a little longer… sorry mum!

“Last season I was with division 2 club VS Quimper, living with an Aussie, two Poles and a larger-than-life Englishman Dan Smith who can still be found rolling round the premier calendar circuit every now and then.”

Any other Brits or English-speakers close by?

“The Aussie from VSQ last year is still out here but with a different team but we see each other quite a lot at the local races.

“There are also three Brits, Matt Jones, Ali Carr and Nathan Edmundson based over in the other side of Brittany, racing for Fougeres.”

What club do you race for?

“I’m racing for Division 1 Espoir BIC2000 (Brest:  Iroise Cyclisme) based in Brest, obviously.

“We have a large varied race calendar including several UCI 2.2 stage races, amateur Coupe de France races and Elite/Continental pro races all over France, with a couple of local chippers thrown in every now and then.”

Tom Copeland
The racing is hard in Brittany.

Is it a good set up? Bike? Clothing? Accom? Bonuses?

“The set up and support is really good, much better than what I had last year.

“The team provide me with pretty much everything apart from putting food on my plate and pedalling for me. You can’t have everything…

“The bike is a ‘Felino’, a well-known French marque… think of how many Treks/Specialized you see in England… Felino is the same here.

“The bonuses are good too especially in the Elite Pro races and 2.2’s where you could buy a nice car after a couple of wins!”

What’s your best result(s)?

“I’ve had two wins this season, one coming in a stage race down south where I took the white jersey for first U23 as well.

“The 2.2’s I’ve done this year are a jump up from what I was doing last year and have been a good learning curve but a result isn’t far off. Next week in the Mi Aout Bretonne…”

Tom Copeland
Tom winning in France.

How have you taken to the lifestyle?

“The French are so much more relaxed about everything and everyday life than people back in England, making training, for example, much more pleasurable compared to fighting the local drivers for your place on the road back home.”

How’s your French?

“Being the only English rider on the team I’m kind of forced to speak French.

“They seem to understand everything I say in the race briefings and can easily understand the insults in the peloton so I guess I’m fluent!”

What do you do with your free time?

“I’m in the middle of an Open University course which takes up quite a lot of free time, but apart from this and training, I pretty much live on the internet!”

Tom Copeland
Like most French teams, Tom’s outfit is pretty well organised.

How do you survive, cash-wise?

“I’m currently supported by the John Ibbotson Fund and with a job in the winter everything is covered.”

Lastly Tom – what do you think of French plumbing?

“I haven’t encountered that many ‘old-school’ French toilets (the well known holes in the ground), but sometimes that’s all you can find… just got to hope you’ve got good aim.”

Thanks Tom! Good luck for the upcoming races, and we look forward to presenting your adventures on VeloVeritas!

Martin Williamson
Martin is our Editor, Web site Designer and Manager, and concentrates on photography. He's been involved in cycling for over 42 years and has raced for many of them, having a varied career which includes time trials, road and track racing, and triathlons. Martin has been the Scottish 25 Mile TT and 100 Mile TT Champion, the British Points Race League Champion on the track, and was a prolific winner of time trials in his day, particularly hilly ones like the Tour de Trossachs and the Meldons MTT.

Related Articles

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.

Joe Dombrowski – Proving to be Well Rounded

'Stars of the future ?' Here's one - please just remember where you read it first. After the toughest stage of the Tour of California - traversing brutal Mount Baldy, many were asking 'who's Joe Dombrowski ?'

Ross Lamb – “You don’t get so many opportunities to climb in Belgium”

It doesn’t seem like it but it was season 2017 when last we spoke to Ross Lamb, a David Rayner Fund man ‘doing good’ in The Flatlands. Flanders gets under a man’s skin so we were surprised to hear he was moving to La Belle France – that said, times are tough with teams folding everywhere from the UK to Columbia and all points in between. But that was our first question...

Harry Bulstrode – Silver Medallist at the Scottish ’10’ Championships 2015

The start sheet for the National ‘10’ took a bit of getting hold of; but I guess we shouldn’t forget that all those obscure course codes were designed to maintain the secrecy back in the days when we weren’t supposed to race on the public highways. Do I hear you say; ‘but that was 70 years ago, Ed?' Well, yes, but you can’t let just anyone have a start sheet, I mean they might want to come and report on the race and even take photographs ...

Calum Johnston – Locked-down on Etna

It’s a wee while since last we spoke to Scottish ‘Zappi Man’ Calum Johnston who’s out there in Bella Italia, chasing the dream - but when we heard he was stuck on a volcano in Sicily we just had to learn more.

Callum Johnston – Looking forward to a second season in Italy with Zappi

If you’re a VeloVeritas regular then you’ll have seen our interview with Flavio Zappi, the man who transforms promising U23 riders into World Tour performers. Will Scot, Callum Johnston be pulling on a QuickStep jersey in a year or three?

At Random

Star of the Future: Christian Meier – Taking the Next Step

Christian Meier (Canada & Garmin) is a man for his stats. Monday's mountain stage breaks down like this: 4,600 metre of climbing, 5,000 kilo joules expended, that's the equivalent of 5,400 calories - that's one hard day at the office.

Graham Kemp – National 24 Hour TT Champion 2019

We spoke to Graham Kemp (Team Bottrill) who recorded 544.32 miles to win the national 24 hour championship, eclipsing Andy Wilkinson’s 2011 total of 541.17 miles.

Giro d’Italia – Day 8: Stage 19, Legnano – Presolana/Monte Pora

Buon giorno di Legnano! Another German stage win and the Gazzetta front page says - "three days of truth waiting to attack Contador" - old Jens doesn't get so much as a mention until the fourth page of Giro reports, deep in the paper - like I said yesterday, the Italians just love the Germans winning their tappas...

Julian Wheat – Winning French Races in the ’70s, and ‘the Mafia’

Brittany, the summer of 1977 and a group of Scottish cyclists are over there as competitors in the Roscoff–Lorient road race as part of the ‘Festival Interceltique de Lorient.’ At one of these races, a criterium on a sunny day at a venue long forgotten, we met an English chap called Julian Wheat who had chucked his job and set up shop in the depths of Bretagne.

Sandy Gordon – Part One: a fixture on the West of Scotland cycling scene in the 60’s and 70’s

Late June 1972, Loch Lomond and history is made as Sandy’s Gilchrist and Gordon tie for the Scottish ‘50’ mile time trial title with 2:01:46 whilst Ron Gardner is third with 2:05:15. My part in this historic day on the old road which tracked every curve and bump of those bonnie, bonnie but tough banks? I was caught by both winners on my way to some ignominious time which I now no longer remember but which would have been closer to 20 mph than 25 mph...

Gary Wiggins – a Legend with a Tragic End

The late Gary Wiggins’ sister Glenda Hughes, took to social media recently to remind us that some 13 years have passed since the big Australian died under mysterious circumstances. Wiggins had many sides – depending on how you knew him – which prompted us to re-run our review of his European glory to tragic end.