Tuesday, July 27, 2021
HomeInterviewsMax Stedman - On Winning the Tour of Antalya

Max Stedman – On Winning the Tour of Antalya

-

Max Stedman.

The last full weekend of February was a busy one for the pros with the Volta ao Algarve, Ruta del Sol and Tour des Alpes Maritime and Haut Var all finishing.

And with much of the talk of Belgium’s Wonder Boy Remco [VeloVeritas friend Vik has banned me from mentioning his name] it was easy to overlook an excellent result by a British rider.

Canyon dhb p/b Soreen rider, 23 year-old Max Stedman won the UCI 2.1 Tour of Antalya in Turkey with the man from Crowthorne, UK, and his team fending off the likes of World Tour team Israel Start-Up Nation, Italian Pro-Conti Giro-tempered Bardiani, East European hardmen Adria Mobil as well as Belgium’s perennial Vlaanderen Pro-Conti foxes.

We caught up with Max a few days after the biggest win of his career.

Nice job, Max – What was your expectation going in to the race?

“I have a blackboard thing in my room where I mark up my next goal and I had ‘top five Antalya’ marked up on it.

“I knew I had good legs but it wasn’t until we came back from racing in Mallorca and I saw the race profile that I put my hand up and said to our manager, Tim Elverson that I wanted to go for it.”

Some handy teams in there: Israel Start-Up Nation, Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise, Alpecin-Fenix, Bardiani CSF Faizane, Adria Mobil… 

“There were a lot of other races on at the same time but yes, it was a proper 2.1 field with guys like Janez Brajkovič [former Dauphine winner and top 10 Tour de France finisher, ed.] in there with Adria and Pro Conti and World Tour teams riding.”

Max Stedman
Max Stedman in the pink jersey of race leader at the Tour of Antalya. Photo©supplied

Your win was built on your Stage Three ride…

“The climb to the finish was long at 10 kilometres but not steep, just under 6% and in the wheels it wasn’t too stressful, I think we averaged 26 kph up it.

“Ben Tulett (Alpecin Fenix & GB) was away with two others inside the last couple of kilometres and I bridged across.

“The Austrian Riccardo Zoidl (Felbermayr-Simplon Wells) nipped off on his own to win and then the other two, Badilatti (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Fancellu (Kometa-Xstra) opened up the sprint early but I managed to get back and nicked third place – and the time bonus – on the line.

“Bike racing is full of ‘what ifs’ but I was finishing fast and not far off second place.”

Zoidl is a quality guy.

“Yes, he was World Tour for seven seasons, been Austrian National Champion twice and won his home national tour and Czech Tour in the past.”

Stage Four must have been anxious?

“Yeah, even my team mate Andy Tennant was nervous, and he’s a very experienced rider, but I put my faith in the team and they did the job for me.

“Going in to the last stage Kenneth Van Rooy (Sport Vlaanderen – Baloise & Belgium) was at two seconds and Gianni Vermeersch (Alpecin – Fenix & Belgium) was at four seconds so their teams were trying to keep it together for sprint bonuses on the road and at the finish but we were sending riders up the road to try to initiate a break and take away the bonus opportunities.

“Van Rooy managed to get one second on me but Andy Tennant did a great job in denying him any others.

“Coming in to the finish Van Rooy needed to finish top three to win overall but he came down in the bunch sprint.

“We had Rory Townsend glued to his wheel to come round him if it looked like he was going to get in the bonuses and when Van Rooy came down Rory was so tight on his wheel he was lucky to stay upright.

“You don’t want to see guys coming down but it’s very unlikely he’d have made top three so I’m pretty sure that even if he’d stayed upright then I’d have still won.”

Max Stedman
Max Stedman on the top step of the podium at the Tour of Antalya. Photo©supplied

A one second victory margin!

“It doesn’t get any tighter, does it?”

What was the race like, parcours and organisationally?

“I was asked at the winner’s press conference what I thought they could improve about the race – they said, ‘and we know about the potholes!

“The main highways were fine but on the smaller roads the surfaces could be pretty bad.

“Antalya is on the Asian side of Turkey, on the Mediterranean and scenery is unbelievable.

“It’s a bike riders’ paradise, flat roads – but hills if you want them.

“The hotel accommodation was good and we were well looked after, it’s obvious there’s a lot of money being spent on that race.”

Fantastic countryside at the Tour of Antalya. Photo©supplied

You seem to revel in those Asian races – you’ve won the Tour of Quangzhou Bay in China twice.

“Even though that race was in the Asian part of Turkey it’s on the UCI European Tour so my results are coming further west.

“The Asian races don’t have the same depth as European races but what I think I’m good at is capitalising on the opportunity if it comes along, grabbing the jersey if there’s a hill top stage finish.”

Next up?

“We have Paris-Troyes, which is UCI 1.2 then the Volta Limburg Classic, there’s a National Series race then it’s the Tour of Yorkshire.”

Max Stedman
Max Stedman is looking at selection for the Tour of Yorkshire. Photo©supplied

The team has a good Euro programme then?

“Yes, we have a team in the Samyn the Tuesday after the Opening Weekend and we have three French stage races between May and June.

“I won’t be riding the Samyn though, I’m a bit light for a race like that although I’ve ridden things like the Ronde Van Drenthe and Memorial Monsere in the past.

“I can get round but they’re not my thing, albeit they’re good events for gaining skills.”

I notice you rode the Olympic ‘Test’ race in Tokyo last year where you finished 14th, I hear it’s tough?

“We were well looked after, acting as ‘guinea pigs’ for the GB Olympic team this year – flights, hotel, cooling all to replicate what will happen at the Games; but it was hot – 26/27 degrees with 95% humidity and August is even hotter.

“The climb was horrendous, there’s a flat bit in it but overall it’s six K at 10% gradient.”

Max Stedman
Max Stedman stays with Canyon for the 2020 season. Photo©Canyon dhb

You had four seasons with Canyon…

“The team has grown every year and it’s like family to me, I have a lot of loyalty and always want to pay back the faith that our team manager, Tim Elverson has shown in me.”

In your Cycling Weekly interview you said that you’d be keen to step up to Pro-Conti or World Tour if the opportunity arose – do you have an agent?

“We all want to race at the top level and up until now I haven’t been near that level but after Antalya I hope I’ve been noticed.

“I’m trying to sort out an agent to help get my name a bit more, ‘out there.’”

And if you could win just one race?

“The Worlds – the atmosphere and getting to wear those rainbow stripes for a whole year… nothing cooler.” 

VeloVeritas wishes Max and the team well for their forthcoming events.

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

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...

Scott Thwaites – “My 2014 goal is that elusive first Pro win”

The last time we spoke to NetApp-Endura’s Scott Thwaites was in the spring of 2013, just after he’d finished in fifth place in the Handzame Classic and seventh spot in le Samyn – both hard races in brutal conditions. For 2014 he’s already back in the groove again with a podium place on stage one of the Three Days of West Flanders.

Russell Downing – Cult’s New Signing; “I much prefer stage racing and classic racing”

The ride of the Commonwealth Games for me? Russ Downing's fourth place in the road race - 'grinta' is the man's middle name. As the World Tour stars headed into the pits, Russ just kept riding through the wind and rain - the man is dogged. His name featured in a recent press release we received from the Luxembourg/Danish Continental squad Cult, they're going Pro Continental for 2015 and yes, Mr. Downing is on board.

Steve Cummings – Winner of the Tour of the Mediterranean 2014

Steve Cummings has finally landed a stage race win, the Tour of the Mediterranean – he won the stage 3b time trial to go top on GC then hung on to his lead on the nasty slopes of Mont Faron to beat AG2R hard man, Jean-Christophe Peraud to the overall honours. We spoke to him a day or two after his triumph.

Sid Barras – Part One; “Some would say I was just plain greedy!”

‘Super Sid’ was what they called him; his tarmac graffiti artist fans used to paint; “screw ‘em Sid!’ on any suitable stretch of road surface. Sidney Barras was his Sunday name and few people have won more bike races than this man. A fixture on the British professional scene for 18 years from 1970 onwards, it was high time we caught up with him.

Matthew Bottrill – Back to Winning Ways

He’s been CTT 10, 25, 50 and 100 mile champion, he’s been British 25 and 50 mile record holder; he’s been away but now he’s back. When we saw he’d recently won the Eddy Soens Memorial Race some 20 years after he’d first won it, we thought to ourselves; ‘maybe need to have a word with old Mister Matthew Bottrill, aka ‘The Flying Postman, it’s been a year or two since last we chatted’

At Random

Matt Brammeier – Three Times Irish Road Champion

It’s ‘all change’ again for Omega Pharma Quick Step’s thrice Irish Elite Road Race champion, Matt Brammeier. He’s a man who shapes his destiny – abandoning British Cycling’s Academy to walk his own path in Belgium. Despite being part of the QuickStep team which dominated one day racing this season, it hasn’t been a great year for Brammeier. He’s hoping for better things with Champion – he took time to speak to VeloVeritas soon after the deal had been done.

The Scottish 25 Mile Time Trial Championships 2011

On a benign morning amid the lush greenery of the Kingdom of Fife, Endura pro Evan Oliphant proved too fit for the specialist testers, taking the Scottish 25 mile time trial championship by 1:17 from far travelled Carlos Riise (Shetland) with defending champion Arthur Doyle (Dooleys RT) a further 19 seconds back in the bronze medal position.

Le Tour de France 2012 – Stage 16: Pau – Bagnères-de-Luchon, 197 km.

As a colleague from another life used to say; ‘you should never drink on an empty head.’ A sentiment I can endorse as we sit in our hotel in Vielha, Spain. Having left Pau, there were no digs to be had in France near the stage finish – the Tour is a black hole which sucks up every hotel room within an hour’s drive and we had to cross the border after the finish at Bagnères-de-Luchon to get to our digs. QuickStep, Saxo, Movistar and Euskaltel all did the same thing and are here in Vielha, too.

A Wander Through Robert Millar’s Palmarès

Drew Wilson’s ‘Robert Millar Appreciation Group’ has generated a lot of interest on FaceBook, with 1,185 members - by now everyone must know he was Britain’s greatest stage race rider until Team Sky and their marginal gains came along – we had another name for that ‘back in the day’...

Sid Barras – Part Two; National Champion in ’79 – after 10 years of trying

In Part Two of our interview with British professional legend, Sid Barras we discuss the race he was favourite for every year for a decade but which it took him 10 years to win; the British Professional Road Race Championship.

La Vuelta a España 2014 – Stage 3; Cádiz – Arcos de la Frontera, 188 km. Another Jersey For Michael Matthews

We’re feeling a bit smug, this morning, on the eve of Stage Three we said; ‘It could be one for the breakaway but GreenEDGE may control it for Clarke and Michael Matthews – and maybe Yates?’ And they man they call ‘Bling’ due to his penchant for jewellery proved us correct. The 23 year-old from Canberra again proved that in an uphill finish, if his motivation is good – there’s a little question mark over his grinta - then he’s very hard to beat.