Monday, September 27, 2021
HomeInterviewsDan Fleeman - Not Making Any Mistakes

Dan Fleeman – Not Making Any Mistakes


Cervélo’s Dan Fleeman first came to our attention when he won the 2008 Tour of the Pyrenees; we’ve kept in touch with the 26 year-old Englishman ever since; through Langkawi, Paris — Nice and into the Ardennes classics.

But a bad crash in the Bayern Rundhfart stage race saw him break a wrist and spend longer than he would have liked, off his bike.

But he’s back in action in the Tour of Britain and will be racing right through to Lombardia.

We packed the notebook and camera; bundled Viktor into the car to keep us company and headed for the Scottish Borders on Sunday night — after the T of B stage two – to have a chat with ‘our boy.’

Dan Fleeman
Dan discovers Viktor is a real person, not a devil’s advocate of our invention! Photo©Ed Hood

How have the first two stages been, Dan?

“Stage one wasn’t too bad, the break went early and it looked like it might stay away but they were stopped at a level crossing, then Wiggins went to the front and it ended in the sprint — which Sutton (Cofidis & Australia) won.

“Stage two was a harder day, with the wind and the break still had two-and-a-half minutes with seven K to go — two of the three came back but Reus (Rabobank & Holland) stayed away to win.”

What’s your goal for the race?

“I was top ten here last year, it would be good to match that — the crunch days will be Wednesday and Thursday.”

What are the team goals?

“Martin Reimer (German Elite Road Champion) is good for the sprints and there’s Dan Lloyd and me for the GC.”

Is the Pro world as you expected?

“Pretty much; but if you take this race; last year it would have been a big race for me, but this year it’s one of the smaller races I’ve ridden.

“It’s hard to explain, but when you’re in a Pro Tour race – maybe with the same riders as you raced against in a non Pro Tour event a few days before — it’s so much harder; everyone raises their game in the Pro Tour races.”

Dan Fleeman
Dan’s Cervelo “Hero Card”.

What’s the difference between your last team, AN Post and Cervélo?

“About 10 million euros!

“At AN Post, the manager Kurt Bogaerts did just about everything, but here there’s a member of staff to handle each activity — like there’s one guy who books all the fights, for example.”

Tell us about the broken wrist.

“It happened in the Bayern Rundfahrt, originally I was in a cast — but that was to be on for three months!

“The team sent me to a specialist in Switzerland, who pinned it; the day after the operation I had virtually full movement in my wrist.

“It was the lay off that caused me problems, they wouldn’t let me ride on the road, I could go on the turbo but it’s not the same. I fell behind during that lay off.”

Have there been performances you’re happy with, this year?

“Not really, I had a solid top 20 in Lugano at the start of the year then I caught a virus at Paris-Nice.

“One of my strengths in 2008 was that I was very consistent but this year I was feeling it after two or three days racing.

“But around the time I broke my wrist I was tested for the UCI biological passport and my blood values had dropped; our nutritionist reckons that it was caused by a stomach bug — that couldn’t have help.”

Any ‘with hindsights?’

“Not really, I haven’t made any mistakes; I’ve looked after myself and kept on top of the job — but I’ve had bad luck.”

Do you train differently now you’re at this level?

“I might actually have trained too hard at the start of the year; I think because you ride more races and they are much harder, you perhaps should train a little less.

“One of the big differences with being in a team like this which has a very cosmopolitan race programme I that you spend so much time travelling — I’ve made maybe 50 or 60 flights this year and that takes it of you.”

What’s the best thing about the job?

“Doing what I love and getting to travel — seeing different parts of the world.”

Dan Fleeman
Dan saw Peebles last Monday, and officially opened Bspoke Cycles for Ewan and Gary. Photo©Martin Williamson

And what’s not so good?

“Not a lot, but I could do with a private jet, like Lance has!

“The fights are hard work sometimes, with delays and suitcases getting lost.

“What really bugs is that the budget airlines charge you an ‘extra’ for absolutely everything; but if they’re late there’s not so much as an apology!”

What does your wife think about you being away, so much?

“The longest I’ve been away is two weeks, in a team like ours, there’s not actually a lot of point living on the continent because the programme is so varied — as long as you live near a good airport.

“I live near Birmingham International; I’ve been lucky with flights this year, most races I’ve been home the same night!”

What performances do you think you have within you?

“I think can be a solid rider and some one who can do well in the 10-day stage races.”

No Grand Tour in 2009.

“No, that was disappointing; I was supposed to do the Giro but my DS said it would be better to wait until the Vuelta but then I broke my wrist and I’ve not had the racing to ride a grand Tour.”

What’s next?

“After the Tour of Britain, maybe the Worlds then all the late season Italian races, up to and including Lombardy.”

Why should our readers buy a Cervelo?

“When I got my new Cervélo, I rode it round my training circuit, that’s nine miles; I ride on a power metre at a given output, on the Cervélo at the same power level, I was 30 seconds faster — it’s very aero, very fast, like a time trial bike.”

Dan Fleeman
Dans Cervelo gets a wash and brush up.

Advert for Cervélo duly done, it was time to leave Dan to get off to bed.

The next day (Monday) we received this SMS;

“Stupid ISD p***k pushed me off with 20km to go, wacked my head hard enough to split my helmet in two. Limped home, be sore tomorrow!”

Next day, we enquired how the stage went;

“Felt good on the bike, working on the front, last 40 K!””

Ah, those pros!

With thanks to Dan for his time and better luck for the rest of the Tour of Britain.

Dan Fleeman
Dan in a break in the Tour of Britain.


Yesterday Dan produced the best stage-long performance of the Tour by a home rider so far, driving the break all day and only succumbing five K from the line – with one of the team sponsors in the Cervélo car, that ride will have him done him no harm.

Dan Fleeman
Ready to go.
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

Dave Clarke – Drummond Trophy 2014 Winner

VeloVeritas didn’t make it to the recent Drummond Trophy, for which we offer our apologies to Mr, Norrie Drummond, one of the sport’s staunchest supporters and a former competitor himself – you can read of his Flemish exploits ‘back in the day'. It would be rude of us to let ‘The Drummond’ pass without a mention, so with the aid of ex-Cervelo and Raleigh professional, not to mention friend of VV, Dan Fleeman we got in touch with the 2014 Drummond’s winner – English professional Dave Clarke (KTM Cycling Team).

Bob Cary – Part Two; Life After TI-Raleigh

In Part One of our interview with Bob Cary we covered that part of his career up to his third year with TI Raleigh and the end of 1976. For 1977 he was back in the UK with the Carlton-Weinmann team alongside riders like Olympic team pursuit medallists, Mick Bennett and Robin Croker not to mention British pro scene stalwart, Reg Smith.

Harry Tanfield – With Team Qhubeka ASSOS for 2021

Harry Tanfield is good at Snakes and Ladders; he went up the ladder from UK continental team Canyon Eisberg to World Tour team, Katusha Alpecin, but that folded. However, he grabbed another ladder to go to French équipe AG2R, there was no contract renewal at the end of season 2020 though, then came the snake as he slid back down to another UK continental team, Ribble-Weldtite, just for a week or two. Now, he’s gone and grabbed a rung again, this time with South African squad Qhubeka-Assos.

Chris Lillywhite – 1993 Milk Race Winner; “I was fiery back then!”

It occurred to me that VeloVeritas had never spoken to the man who won the last edition of the famous Tour of Britain Milk Race back in 1993; Chris Lillywhite. A quick message to our friend Martyn Frank, who was on management with Chris on the late, lamented Wiggins team and we were in touch.

Tom Moses – a Great Start to the Season

Rapha-Condor-JLT’s 21 year-old ‘Yorkshire man in black’ Tom Moses has been making the headlines these last few weeks. In the opening race of the British Cycling Elite Road Race Series (what was wrong with ‘Star Trophy?’) recently, the Tour of the Reservoir, Moses tried to steal the second stage victory and overall GC with a late attack but was ridden down by Scotland’s Evan Oliphant (Raleigh). This year he’s moved across to John Herety’s team with the ambition of catching the eye of a Pro Continental squad for 2015. We spoke to him between his Normandie and the Reservoir results...

Reg Barnett – 1970’s World Class Pro; “a sprinter’s speed in a road rider’s body”

The 70’s are the ‘decade that taste forgot’ according to the Media; which is strange because I remember the era as having the best cars, music, films – and bike riders. On the continent the exploits of Sercu, Ocana, Merckx, Hoban, Gimondi, Verbeeck, Thevenet, De Vlaeminck and all the rest of a ‘Golden Generation’ of hard men made the disappointment of ‘The Comic’ being late once again all the harder to bear.

At Random

The Two Day Theory: TdF 2010 Stage 4 (bunchie)

Two Day Theory. It is a very fortunate thing that the situation that Garmin-Transitions is in during this Tour is a first time for all of us involved. The fortune I speak of is partly that we've never had to deal with nigh on half of our team all being pretty badly wounded on the one descent, and partly that the fretting resulting from this would leave us, the staff, nervous wrecks. I have made up a totally anecdotal "two day" theory regarding peoples' responses to injury and trauma. It's completely without scientific evidence or backing, but does explain a pattern of behaviour that I have regularly seen over the years.

The Namen Round of the GVA Series – 13th!

Hey folks, first round of the GVA series - it's one of the big three (World Cup, Superprestige and GVA) top 20's at these races were my aim for the year, I got 13th at Namen.

The Scottish Road Race Championships 2017 – Robertson and Erskine take the honours

The Scottish Elite men’s and women’s Road Race Championships winners medals went to new homes with neither of last year's winners Evan Oliphant or Eileen Roe on the start sheet for Sundays events. An exciting day's racing saw the victory in the Elite Men’s race go to the Army CC’s Mark Robertson with Julie Erskine riding appropriately for Cycle Team on Form taking the Women’s title.

Le Tour de France 2006 – Day 9: Stage 6, Lisieux – Vitré

Much of the cynicism I have built-up about the commercialism and rampant ‘janitor-mentality’ of many of the officials on Le Tour de France 2006 evaporated on Friday as we drove the full race route from Lisieux to Vitré.

Evan Oliphant’s Tour of Britain 2010 – Part One

Despite a clash with the Vuelta, the Tour of Britain boasts probably it's strongest ever field. Endura Racing's Evan Oliphant is VeloVeritas man in the peloton.

A Matter of Scale (Preview: TDF 2012 St 9)

A Matter of Scale. The first (of two) Individual Time Trials in the race, the riders are looking at 41km on a relatively hilly parcours where the stronger time triallists in the field will attempt to put some more space between themselves and their “mountain goat” rivals.