Sunday, December 5, 2021
HomeInterviewsMike Cuming - a Very Young Pro

Mike Cuming – a Very Young Pro

-

We all know everything about Armstrong, Contador and the other top names in Pro cycling, but they all had to start somewhere. A young English rider called Mike Cuming has shot from club cyclist to promising Pro in two seasons so nothing is impossible.

Mike Cuming
Mike’s with Raleigh for a second year.

This is his story so far…

Mike, this year you’ve signed for the resurrected Team Raleigh which is a UCI Continental registered team, what were your thoughts when you received the offer?

“Yes, I was made-up to get asked to join them, especially when I heard it was going to be a UCI team so I was surprised to be a part of it – even more so when I heard the names of some of the other riders.”

Tell us about the team, what is their aim?

“They have a three year plan to be racing back with the big boys.

“For this year the Tour Series crits are an important part of their season for the publicity – but our Manager, Chris Truett really wants to get the team racing abroad.”

Dan Fleeman came to the team from Cervelo, has he been a driving force?

“Well the first time we all got together at our managers house I was sitting next to him and had to go out off the room to ask Rich Handley (another team-mate) ‘hey Rick see that bloke over there, is that Dan Fleeman?’

“It was great when I found out he would be part of the team, it made me feel like I was going to be part of something big.”

Mike Cuming
Mike at the Team Launch at the start of the season. Not sure who thought ladies in body paint or heads directly in front of Skoda logos was the best way forward. Photo by Raleigh.

The season before you rode for the Raleigh Avanti RT, did this give you a good base to move up a league?

“Yes – we didn’t really work as a team, we all did our own thing which suited me – and they provided me with everything I needed and I got to know the guys at Raleigh who really helped me like Geoff Giddings, Raleigh’s Marketing Director.

“You could really tell the difference between the two years – the Avanti launch consisted of three of us sharing some crisps and a couple of packets of sandwiches and a coke at the Nottingham factory- and the following year I was in a posh hotel with fancy food, lots of photographers and naked chicks – even though Rick didn’t look impressed!”

Mike Cuming
Mike is ambitious and laid-back in equal measure.

Tell us how you got to where you are now?

“I’m still trying to get there!”

Have you had any contact with the British Cycling Plan?

“No chance – you’ve got to be willing to do track and it’s not for me, riding round in circles for hours!”

Do you have a coach?

“Yes, Andy Patterson, he lives in New Zealand so it’s dead handy for me!

“Actually, it works quite well because we can do everything over the internet and talk on Skype.”

What about education, you’re 19, college, university?

“Finished college after A levels and the rest is on hold – forever!

“Studying and I don’t really go together.”

Your father, Dave, was a top British amateur and professional rider in the 70’s and 80’s, riding in Belgium for many years as well as in the then burgeoning British Pro scene. I guess he has helped you a lot?

“He’s my Dad and I try to take no notice of him.”

Mike Cuming
Mike’s dad Dave, Viking and Fangio Pro.

Another son of a famous rider; Tom Barras (son of Sid and ex Viking team mate of Mike’s Dad) is in your team, he had been based in Belgium, is that something you would want to try?

“Hey if going to Belgium allows me to grow facial hair like Tom then I’ll be there tomorrow!

“Yeah, I think I would really enjoy that, but I would want a bit of racing in the sun too.”

Your Dad was always good for a long, lone break and your Mother (Louise) and Grandfather (Jim Ogden) were top time trialists, so solo riding is in your DNA. What kind of rider do you see yourself?

“I do enjoy riding time trials. Time trialling is something that I have always done, my first race was a time trial and I still do the local 10’s and 25’s because I enjoy them, and they’re a great way of training.

“As you say, I have good DNA for long solo riding – it’s just a pity I can’t sprint like Cav, that’s where the wins are at.”

Mike Cuming
Mike starting the break at the Peterborough RR. Photo©Peterborough CC.

You broke your wrist at the start of May, but after only four weeks you were back mixing in the action with a plaster cast on the arm. Can you tell us about it, or does it still hurt?

“I was absolutely gutted when it happened – I had just started to get some form with a win and a few placings, it was at the Chas Messenger Road Race.

“The lead motorbike went slightly off course and a few of us at the front followed him. I had slowed right down to turn and someone hit me from behind – so I can’t have been going more than a few miles per hour, but put my hand out to stop the fall and cracked my bone in three places.

“Four weeks later I was put in for a Tour Series event whilst the majority of the team was in Norway, purely to make up the numbers.

“A crit can be hairy at the best of times but having just broken my wrist it made it seem worse!

“I managed to scrape ’round them both, even having a bit of a dig in the round in Exeter event, and didn’t really have bad pain coming from the wrist so I was happy to get back.

“Also, I was in the break of a Premier event; the Ryedale GP. Three of us were away at the start of the race for about 40 miles.

“”The race was 112 miles, the first long race after my broken arm.

“I was off the front for 40 miles and stayed with the bunch until 100, but then blew with a vengeance! The plus was the great coverage on the TV for Raleigh when they showed the race, lots of shots of the break, but the bad news was the commentator (sorry Brian) got my name wrong again and again – so a 2nd cat called Stephen Guymer who rides for Raleigh Avanti got his moment of fame, whilst I was the one busting myself.”

Mike Cuming
Mike (r) ties with Matt Stephens (Sigma Sport) in the Cycling Development North West race.

The race scene in Britain at the moment is quite big and varied with the longer Premier category road races and the televised town centre crits, what do you prefer?

“Road races – no question!

“Although I did enjoy the Tour Series races – they are very exciting to ride and I think they’re just as exciting to watch.”

The Raleigh team will ride the Tour of Britain, any chance we will see you on the start line?

“That would be the dream – especially as the race goes up ‘Gun Hill’ – a climb about 5 miles from my front door.

“With the broken arm however, I have missed all the stage races with Raleigh – and probably haven’t had the preparation, so I can’t see it happening.

“It’s been a tough first year with the lows and I have yet to experience the highs.”

Armstrong or Contador?

“Can’t beat a bit of Lance – unless of course you’re Contador, then you can.”

What about Cav, Millar and Wiggins?

“Can’t really forge a decent opinion on them because I’ve never met them, but I bought some wheels off Wiggo last year and he did them me cheap so he seems all right.”

Mike Cuming
Heading for a top ten placing in another Cycling Development North West League race.

Do you have a cycling hero?

“No!”

Are you interested in other sports?

“Football. I love to play it and love watching it.”

Without being too controversial; Liverpool or Everton?

“Liverpool, been a red all my life.”

Is there a Mike Cuming career plan?

“No not really. I just go with the flow.”

Mike Cuming
Mike just goes with the flow. Photo©Raleigh

Forget reality, what would be your cycling dream?

“To get to ride a Grand tour, classics, biggest and best races all over the world.

“And to win some as well!”

Young Mike has the DNA and the ambition to get where he wants in cycling, good luck Mike -maybe you will get the facial hair before the Tour win?

Al Hamilton
Al began racing on the Scottish roads as "wee nipper" of 17 years. This led him to England where he continued racing and began working in a bike shop. A friendly connection through Paul Sherwin landed Alastair a mechanic's job for Raleigh-Banana team, which raced in Holland, Spain, France, Belgium & Britain, and subsequent postings with several teams including BCF, PCA and the F.S.Maestro team; and races including the World Champs, Kellogs Tour, Milk Race, Cuircuit de la Sarthe, Nissan Classic, G.P. Formies, Isgebergs, Wincanton Classic, lots of Belgian semi-classics and kermesses, and many other races he "can't remember"!

Related Articles

Adam Blythe – “BMC is a great team for me to develop on”

Yorkshire rider Adam Blythe first grabbed the big headlines when he won two stages and the GC in the 2010 Circuit Franco-Belge; a UCI 2.1 stage race with a history stretching back to 1924. Blythe became one of the youngest-ever winners in the event, beating Sep Vanmarcke (Topsport Vlaanderen) by six seconds and Jakob Fuglsang (Saxo Bank) by seven.

Sean Flynn – the Young Scot with Top 12 and Top 20 in UCI 1.1 Races

In a solid 12th place at the British Road Race Championships in Lincoln was 21 year-old Scot, Sean Flynn, riding for top Dutch development team SEG Racing, in what was one of the team’s last races before sadly, it folded. We caught up with Sean not long after another fine ride, this time in the last race of the European season, the  188.5 kilometre UCI 1.1 Ronde van Drenthe.

Kyle Gordon – Big Plans for 2020 and Life in the HUUB House

But we’re pretty sure that no 100 mile time trial champion has ever been on the keirin podium? Enter, that man Kyle Gordon – quality time tester, ever-improving pursuiter and now sprinter. We caught up with the man from Alness just before he jetted off to Australia and a round of the UCI Track World Cup.

Jack Bauer – New Zealand’s new Elite Road Champion

It was Vik (who else?) first spotted the man; 'there's a New Zealand rider winning a lot of races for Kingsnorth Wheelers in Flanders just now, you should get hold of him!' he told me, last summer. We duly tracked down Jack Bauer and have been keeping an eye on him and talking to him, ever since.

James Oram – New Kiwi U23 TT Champion Rides With Axeon for 2015

Racing with Axeon for 2015 is Kiwi, James Oram who we first spotted when he won the 2011 Tour de l’Abitibi in Canada – the ‘Junior Tour de France’ with Bobby Julich, Tyler Farrar and Taylor Phinney all on the roll of honour. Later that year Oram took silver in the Junior Worlds TT and for the last three seasons has been with Merckx. Last season he cracked the top ten in the Tour of Alberta and World U23 TT Championships and he’s kicked off 2015 in fine style with a win in the New Zealand U23 TT Championship – we had a word soon after his Kiwi win.

Robert Hassan – First Super Six Winner of the Year

If it's the first weekend of the month and the snow drops have burst through - it must Scottish Super Six time. VeloVeritas caught up with the first Super Six winner of the year, 19 year-old Dumbarton man Robert Hassan (Endura/Pedal Power Development Team) the day after he'd triumphed over 65 miles of beautiful East Lothian countryside in the Edinburgh Road Club promotion at Gifford.

At Random

George Atkins – Time Trials, Belgium and Cooking!

George Atkins was a name that suddenly appeared on the Scottish scene back in the summer. And on Sunday the versatile man from Leicester took silver in the British U23 Time Trial Championships, but before his foray into the world of riding 'alone and unpaced', he spent six weeks in Flanders, so naturally we needed to have a word with him, not long before the British Champs.

Dan Patten Blog – End of Season Report!

the end of the season has arrived on the Dan Patten Blog. All in all it's been a good year - I've learned a lot, showed my strength (although sometimes a little too much) and certainly had some success along the way.

Il Giro d’Italia 2014 – Stage 10; Modela – Salsomaggiore, 184 km. Third for Nacer Bouhanni

Bouhanni is impressive; he was on the limit to get over the little rise on the run in – where Sky did a lot of damage to a lot of people, unfortunately including their own sprinter, Ben Swift who just scraped in to the top ten – but the wiry French fast man was right where he had to be for the finale.

La Vuelta a España 2010

The La Vuelta a España 2010 presentation was in Sevilla this year (normally Madrid), the start town of next year's race. Some of the old stars of cycling where in attendance; Thevenet, Olano, Hinault and introducing the show Pedro Delgado. Hinault pointed out that one of his hardest day on a bike was the stage to Avila in 1983 which he won stage and overall.

The 1978 Tour de Trossachs Remembered

When Ed Hood said he and VeloVeritas editor Martin Williamson were going out to watch the Tour de Trossachs it brought back my memories of watching the race for the first time in 1978. When I started my reminiscences it was going to be all about the Trossachs but one thing led to another and now we are looking at the early career of Robert Millar and the state of Scottish cycling.

David Hewett Blog – Highs and Lows

August has been a little bit of a disappointing month for me in some ways. It started with me messing up a big target race and ended with two races heavily disrupted by illness. Having said that, these sandwich a road race win so there’s been success too.