Thursday, May 26, 2022
HomeInterviewsRoss Lamb - With Swift Carbon Pro Racing for 2020

Ross Lamb – With Swift Carbon Pro Racing for 2020

"I’d like to perform well in the Lincoln GP and the Rutland and I want to gain selection for the Tours of Yorkshire and Britain."


Ross Lamb
Ross Lamb.

It was this time last year when we last spoke to ex-Rayner Fund rider, 24 year-old Mansfield man, Ross Lamb; he told us he was going to be enjoying a change of scenery, from his habitual Flanders Flatlands to the Toulouse suburb of Blagnac in the Haut-Garonne region of Southern France – with dusty, warm, ‘Roman’ France to the East and the mighty Pyrenees to the south.

GSC Blagnac–Velo Sport 31, nice, we thought – but as oor Rabbie said; ‘the best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley‘. In modern parlance; ‘s##t happens!’

Almost a year to the day since last we spoke, Ross; GSC Blagnac – we even saw a picture of you in their strip – but those nice 2019 palmarès we checked are all up in Belgium? And what about Swift Carbon Pro Cycling? 

“I started the year with Blagnac and I quite enjoyed the first month but then they started pulling out of the UCI races we were supposed to be riding… things went downhill from April so I started to look around.

“My good friend, Jake Scott got in touch with around June time to say there was a place opened up at Swift – which was good timing because I was in a dark place at that time.

“Initially, I was living in an apartment in the team managers’s garden and that was fine but when I moved to the team house and that definitely wasn’t fine. But I learned a lot from the experience.”

How come those Belgium results – some nice ones; fourth in the Stadprijs Geraardsbergen and Memorial De Bruyne and second in the Memorial Johan Hannes with Alvaro Hodeg behind you in sixth place?

“I was with Swift from June; the squad they picked for the Ryedale GP was pretty much going to be the selection for the Tour of Britain and I wouldn’t be riding so I took myself over to Belgium to race and see if I could get a ride for 2020.

“I got some decent results and spoke to continental team Tortelleto and others but nothing came of it and I’ve signed with Swift for season 2020.

“I had offers for amateur teams but I’ve been making the podium in pro kermises so to go back to riding in amateur races seemed like a step backwards.”

Ross Lamb in action in France. Photo©Freddy Guérin

What were the highlights of the season for you?

“I took fifth in the Essor Basque. We drove the parcours and I thought “this isn’t for me!” but I got a good placing and looking back, I could have won.

“And if I’d been a bit bolder in the Geraardsbergen race I could have won that too.

“The guy who won it went away on the Muur with a lap to go. I was behind him and could have got up to him but I thought “he’s not going to stay out there on his own for a lap?” – but he did!”

How did you adapt to riding British racing?

“I haven’t ridden that many and whilst I quite enjoyed the criteriums in Otley and Sheffield, I’m not so sure about the ones on tiny, shopping precinct circuits – if you start at the back then you might as well forget it.”

Swift did some good races in Europe last year though – le Samyn, Loir et Cher and the Sante Tour in Poland for instance.

“Yes, and whilst the programme hasn’t been finalised we’re looking at some nice, cosmopolitan races in 2020.

“One of the reasons I’m sticking with Swift for 2020 is that Pete Williams, who races for the team and has huge experience (he’s been on the podium in races like the Tro Bro Leon and the Ràs and has ridden the Tour of Britain since 2008) will be adopting a managerial/DS role and I have a lot of faith in him so when he tells me the programme is good, I believe him.”

Ross Lamb
Ross Lamb. Photo©Carolyn Nelson

Swift Carbon machines – South African origins, I believe?

“The guy who started the company is a South African ex-pro called Mark Blewett who raced for a Portuguese team; he’s really into the fine detail of frame design.

“I know you’d expect me to say this but the minute I sat on one of the Swift bikes I thought to myself, ‘this is nice!’

“The bike I had at Blagnac had a crack in the top tube and they wouldn’t give me another one, so it was good to be on a really sorted machine.

“The groupsets for the 2020 bikes are by Shimano so they’re top-end machines for sure, I’m looking forward to riding one. “

“The Volta a Portugal was won overall on a Swift this year and they’ve achieved big results in triathlon, too.”

The Swift Carbon Pro team is well kitted out. Photo©Carolyn Nelson

When’s the first team get together?

“There was a training camp in Calpe in December and we’re having a formal team launch in the new year.”

Is Brian Steel still coaching you?

“Yes, I was actually out on the bike with him the other day so our relationship carries on.”

Which races would you like to leave your mark on in the UK this year?

“I’d like to perform well in the Lincoln GP and the Rutland and I want to gain selection for the Tours of Yorkshire and Britain.

“It’ll be nice to ride a season at home, that’s three years I was in Belgium.

“And whilst there are a lot of crits, the Premier Calendar races have hillier parcours; I’ll just have to adjust to the style of racing.

“If there are gaps in the calendar I can always nip over to Belgium and ride the pro kermises – I have a lot of friends over there who I can stay with.”

Ross Lamb
Ross Lamb on his way to 7th place in the GP Kortemark Pro Kermesse – just behind one Iljo Kiesse. Photo©Pol Demeyere

Do you miss Belgium?

“The racing, yes. The Inter Club events aren’t UCI so I think folks in the UK underrate them but they’re very hard races. 

“The training, not so much. There’s not a lot of ‘picturesque’ going on over there and it’s uncomfortable on the bad roads.

“I’m looking to forward to training in the Peak District, hopefully in the sunshine!” 

Ross Lamb
Ross Lamb during the Ronde L’Oise a couple of seasons ago. Photo©Julie Desanlis

We admire his optimism and look forward to seeing his name in those 2020 results.

Ed Hood
Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 47 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, a team manager, and a 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 for some of the world's top riders. 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

Morgan Bown – with EC Saint-Etienne Loire for 2022

As road racing in Scotland and the UK thinks about making a start to the year, over in mainland Europe the season is already well underway. Young Scot and Rayner Foundation man, Morgan Bown has been racing in France with his EC Saint-Etienne Loire team since early February.

Stuart Balfour – Taking it One Race at a Time

Dave Rayner Fund 2018 ‘rider of the year,’ Heriot man, Stuart Balfour has been busy, post-lock down. There have been two top 10 stage places and a seventh on GC in the highly rated UCI 2.2 Tour de Savoie Mont Blanc; then a stage win and second on final GC in the GP Pays de Montbeliard – both race taking place in la Belle France.

Mark Stewart – “I realise AN Post is ‘the real deal'”

The last time we spoke to Scotland’s top endurance track rider, Mark Stewart he’d just added to his growing medal collection at the European Championships with bronze in the team pursuit and silver in the scratch. Some nice road results in the Ronde van Oost Vlaanderen followed where he made his breakthrough from riding as a domestique and/or ‘getting round’ to being a serious contender for stage and overall honours.

Tao Geoghegan Hart – The New u23 British Champion

It was the end of 2013 when we last spoke to Tao Geoghegan Hart (Axeon Hagens-Berman). He has a name that's hard to miss, Tao Geoghegan Hart; with 2013 results to match - two of Europe's premier junior stage races and a podium in the junior Paris-Roubaix. Since then a lot of races have flowed under the bridge and he’s had strong results in more than his fair share of them. Sunday saw him take arguably the biggest result of his career; finishing sixth behind Messrs. Blythe, Cavendish, Fenn, MvNally and Thwaites in the British Elite Road Race title event – and taking the U23 jersey champion’s in the process.

Star of the Future: Sam Spokes

He's another Vik 'find.' Australia's Mr Sam Spokes, he had a good season in Belgium last year and this year he's with Etixx-Ihned Cycling Team - the QuickStep U23 feeder team. Last week he pulled off his best win in the four stage Vysocina Tour in the Czech Republic and as is our way, we 'had a word.'

Daniel Kain – Joining Spokes Race Team for 2020

A young man we’ve been meaning to speak to for a while, ‘but never got round to it’ is Aberdonian, Daniel Kain. He can do it all - time test, ride the boards, circuit and road race.

At Random

Alfie George – On Winning the u23 Gent Six Day!

Adding his name to the u23 Gent Six Day roll of honour is Scotland’s Alfie George; the young Scot ran out winner just a few weeks after his fine seventh place in the Junior Worlds Road race in Harrogate and a season which saw him fifth in the junior Paris-Roubaix.

Jody Warrington – How Riders Can Cope in a ‘Lockdown’

In the overall scheme of the world’s current predicament, guys not being able to race their bikes doesn’t even register but if you’ve been training all winter to realise goals you set yourself for the season and overnight they’re plucked from your grasp it’s not easy to handle. We spoke to one of the most respected coaches in the area, Jody Warrington about how riders can cope with ‘lockdown.’

Kuurne Brussels Kuurne 2011

Sky Procycling just missed the win yesterday with Flecha finishing second in Het Nieuwsblad, but the team stepped it up a notch today, setting up Chris Sutton perfectly for a superb win in the bunch sprint at Kuurne - Brussels - Kuurne.

La Vuelta a España, Stage 15: Notes from Lagos de Covadonga

It's 10:00 pm and we've just finished dinner in our 'local' at Cangas de Onis, we were here last night too. The Mahou is cold, the food is good and the wi-fi is free. It's a working dinner, words and pictures get dealt with in between patatas bravas and chorizo. 'Lagos de Covadonga' - one of the Vuelta legends.

Tour de San Luis – Stage One

Well, I've never seen anything like that before... I'm at the Tour de San Luis and it's amazing. Not the Tour of Britain, not even the “Granda­ssima” (Volta a Portugal). Maybe only the opening of the Tour of Spain in Seville a couple of years ago was up to the scale of this “small” event here in the middle of Argentina.

Le Tour de France 2016 – Stage 1; Mont-Saint-Michel – Utah Beach. It’s About Cav

The Friday evening prior to the Grand Depart at Mont-Saint-Michel, we're in the Amritsar Indian restaurant in Kirkcaldy – Callum, Dave and I agree that Cav has won his last Tour de France stage, Kittel and Greipel will be the men, and that the 32 stage wins record of Merckx is safe – as is Hinault’s second spot on 28 stage wins. Mark will have to be happy with his 26 bouquets. Not for the first or last time, the little chap from the middle of the Irish Sea made us eat our words; "Cav can never win Milan-Sanremo..."