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Dan Bigham – “We have no expectations – we are going there to win”

"At the end of the day, we're doing this because we love racing our bikes, so if we've got the chance to visit some amazing places and ride fast then why not?"

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We’ve spoken to Dan Bigham more than once this year, he won eight British Championships this year, against the watch and on the track.

But there’s more to Bigham and his KGF team than domestic success; they’ve been riding the UCI World Cup series and in December rode international track meetings in Portugal and Switzerland with strong results.

In Portugal, Bigham won the kilometre and rising pursuit star Charlie Tanfield won the pursuit with another quick time.

Tanfield’s brother, Harry who’s well known to Scottish race followers – coming up regularly to nick the prizes – joined the team for their Swiss adventure.

Switzerland saw them back in their favourite discipline, the team pursuit which they duly won in four minutes dead.

We caught with Monsieur Bigham over the New Year holiday…

Dan Bigham
Dan prepares to blast out of the gate. Photo©Portuguese Cycling Federation

Portugal didn’t go so badly, Dan – you won the kilometre and Harry Tanfield the pursuit.

“Aye, not too bad!

“Your Scottish boy John Archibald was nipping at my heels in individual pursuit qualifying, I snook through by a handful of tenths.

Harry Tanfield was head and shoulders above us all, knocking out a 4:13 casual as anything.

“If he paced it well he’d have gone close to the world record – a first lap of 14.7 seconds isn’t the way to open an individual pursuit ride.

“Winning the kilo was quite fun actually, I don’t think it was a great ride but a win is a win!”

What does it cost to enter an event like that?

“I think Portugal cost us a touch over £1,000.

“Flights including bike boxes and turbos aren’t cheap, then factoring in hiring a car, fuel, accommodation etc. soon racks the costs up.

“We do everything as cost efficiently as possible, we don’t have a big budget unfortunately but have had some great help from the public who have donated to our Go Fund Me page.”

Dan Bigham
Despite the pressure cooker environment there’s still time for some light relief. Photo©James Poole

Then Switzerland and the team pursuit win in 4:00 – are you happy with the ride and time?

“Definitely.

“We hadn’t focused on Switzerland as an A race, even more so after Jonny Wale broke his collarbone post Manchester World Cup, so it was cool to have the pressure off and just ride.

“We’d only had one team pursuit session since the World Cup so we were a little more ragged than usual but it was a solid time and we were happy to break out the champers!”

Dan Bigham
Exquisite style from Dan. Photo©Portuguese Cycling Federation

Harry Tanfield and brother Charlie a one-two in the individual pursuit, nice result.

“A great result for the team.

“It would’ve been nice to lock out the whole podium but I didn’t have the legs to be in the frame.

“If Harry didn’t throw the anchor out on lap 15 Charlie might have taken the stadium record and a nice 500 Swiss francs bonus!

“There’s a great picture floating about of Charlie catching Harry in the final on the finish line, it looks just like a pursuit match sprint finish.”

Harry has slotted in well…

“Very much so!

“With Jonny out of action with his broken collarbone we’d pulled Harry in to the squad to replace him until the Belarus World Cup in January.

“He’s a mad good tester on the road and has spent some time on the Olympic Development Plan as a youth, so he can ride the track.

“I managed to borrow a Dolan DF4 off our team soigneur Adam Wade for Harry to use.

“He went to British University Championships where he promptly popped out a 4:26 individual pursuit off a single track session.

“A few weeks later, some more go faster kit and he’s down to a 4:19.

“In the team pursuit he’s got the endurance to get round, but need some top end gas to get himself on to a fast start and to take turns.

“It’ll come in time.”