Tuesday, August 3, 2021
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Harry Tanfield – A Strong Start to the Season

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It was 2013 when Harry Tanfield (Pedal Heaven) first came into our sights, winning the Dave Campbell Memorial Road Race in the Kingdom of Fife.

We ran a full interview with him 2014 when our man with his finger on the Flemish pulse, Viktor noted that young Mr. Tanfield had been ‘doing the biz’ in the kermises.

And it’s time for another chat with the 21 year-old from Middlesbrough after he repeated his 2013 Dave Campbell victory on the tough roads of Central Fife at the weekend.

We caught up with him the day after his win but first we thought you might like to see what the Pedal Heaven website says about their man…

Harry Tanfield
Harry Tanfield.

  • What has cycling taught you?   Respect is earned, not given.
  • What do you enjoy most about cycling?   Really just been able to get away from university work and other dull things, going out training. Also travelling around, seeing different parts of the world that I would otherwise never get to see.
  • First bike?   A Gary Fisher MTB, but for road Some Raleigh thing. It had 6-speed downtube shifters, grim. 
  • Most embarrassing moment?   Just last week actually, waiting at a set of cross roads, stopped, couldn’t unclip, got down. No one at the junction moved and they all just stared at me on the floor.
  • Interests away from cycling?   Not that much really, finish university work then normally just chill if I’m not riding. Still like to go paintballing when I can, used to do it quite a bit. Also go-karting, love it.
  • Marmite: Love it or hate it?   Can’t remember last time I tried it, if ever to be honest, I would probably hate it, most people do.
  • Interesting Fact:   Made £4k selling sweets at school, year 7-10.
  • Favourite music?   Whatever’s on Spotify, brother has some decent playlists.
  • If you weren’t a cyclist what would you be?   Full time student. Probably fat as well.
  • Childhood hero?   Simon Baxter, used to tear up North East races for fun when I was a youth.

Having looked deep into Harry’s soul, let’s see what he had to say about his Scottish adventure.

Congratulations on the win, Harry – is this your first trip to Scotland since you 2013 win in the race?

“No, I rode The Drummond last year, I was fifth – and the John Gordon race just last weekend; there was a break of four of us at the death but I punctured and ended up fourth.

“Dave Lines won but I’m pretty sure I’d have made the podium but for the flat tyre.”

What did you think of the new Dave Campbell course?

“I really liked it, I only really recognised the final 10 K from last time – but it was good with a bit of everything; the climbs weren’t too savage, there was a technical descent and the rolling road closure was great.”

Harry Tanfield
Harry has started the season strongly, with several wins already. Photo©Dean Reeve

Tell us about your win.

“There was a group of 12 went away from the very start up that long drag and I thought; ‘this looks dangerous’ so I made a big effort to get across – but it came to nothing and I’d taken a lot out of myself.

“It eventually split on the King of the Mountains prime with me in a group of six chasing another group of five – we got across and it ended up after the final climb that there was me, John Archibald (Pro Vision Cycle Clothing) and Scott McCrossan (East Kilbride Road Club).

“McCrossan hardly did a tap all day and I said to him that he should ease off the back at the finish to take third and let John and I sprint it out for the win.

“I remembered the final corner but couldn’t remember how far it was to the line – I had it in my mind that it was a long way so I hesitated with my jump.

“I was just about to jump when McCrossan went past me and the finish line was approaching too fast for my liking!

“Fortunately he died in the last 20 metres and I got past him; but I lost it with him, I was screaming at him – he sat on us and then took the second place prize money off John after saying he wouldn’t sprint.

“It’s not how you ride a bike race in my book!”

And are you still burning up those kermises in Flanders?

“No, because technically if you’re in a Continental team then you should ride the pro kermises not the amateur ones but I’ve heard that if you phone the organisers and speak nicely then they’ll let you ride – so it’s something I’m thinking about.”

How have the results been since last we spoke?

“I was with JLT Condor last year and took two second places on stages in the Tour of Munster in Ireland, third in The Rutland, fifth in The Drummond, ninth in a stage of the Tour of Yorkshire and another good few top ten placings.”

Harry Canfield
Harry is enjoying the PedalHeaven setup. Photo©Hugh McManus

And are you still at university?

“Yes, still doing civil engineering; I’m in my final year now but have split it over two years to half the workload so I can fit in my training and racing.”

Pedal Heaven?

“I moved over from JLT Condor to Pedal Heaven RT this year, it’s a good set up, I like the atmosphere – a Continental team but nice and relaxed.”

And are you still doing a bit of clock bashing?

“Not too much but I did break a Chris Newton course record in a hilly ‘21’, which I was pretty pleased with – I won it in 2014 but was 50 seconds quicker last year and took 25 seconds off Newton’s time.

“Mind, I’d spent the winter in Australia with JLT Condor and came back flying.”

How do you compare the standard in Scotland to that in England?

“I think it’s pretty similar – Scottish guys come down to the North East if the programme is quiet up here.

“I was riding in the Dave Campbell against lads who’d ridden the John Gordon – Dave Lines is a good rider and there are always one or two Raleigh guys in the mix.

“My power files aren’t that different from the Dave Campbell from an English Premier – the Premiers are just longer.”

Harry Tanfield
The National championships are a target for Harry. Photo©Hugh McManus

How’s the programme looking now?

“I have some down time ‘til the end of May when I have exams.

“I’ll ride the Tour Series round at Durham then the University Championships are at the end of May and there’s the British U23 Road Race and Time Trial Championships in June – they’re at Stockton so that’s local for me.

“And there’s The Beaumont Trophy and Elite Criterium Series to look forward to.

“It would be great to ride the Tour of Britain but we have to qualify by scoring points to get us in – only three of the five GB Continental teams will get a ride so we have to perform!”

What would make 2016 a good year for you?

“I’d like to be up there in an Elite Series criterium, I’ve never made the podium in one and of course I’d like strong results in the U23 road and time trial nationals.”

VeloVeritas may well be at the British Nationals at the end of June; we’ll keep our eyes open for Mr. Tanfield.

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.

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