Q&A with Will Bjergfelt

Will was a late signing for the team and we are very excited to have such a talented and experienced rider on the team. Having a lot of young riders on the team means that Will’s knowledge will be invaluable for our developing riders.

Last year Will suffered an almost fatal accident while out training on his bicycle. Most people would have decided to retire from cycling after such a traumatic injury however Will saw this as a huge motivator to get himself back up on his feet and prove that he could overcome adversity. He sure has shown that he has 100% determination and that nothing will bring him down.

In this Q&A you can hear about Will’s accident and how he fought back to be where he is now. Impressive stuff.

So you just had your first race back at the Premier level, tell us a little about your journey back to this point after your accident, and how was the first premier race back?

”Before the accident I had arguably just had the best season of my road career under the guidance of Dan Fleeman of DigDeep coaching. In coming back I always said I wouldn’t ride a Prem or any event unless I could ride it with no issues and be at the level required. Courtney Rowe of Rowe and king coaching was keen to help me back with my road and track aspirations. I feel at times I’ve worked harder to get fit now than I ever have in my life. I had ridden a couple of National B events in the run up to Tour of the Res and these coupled with my power data suggested to me I should be fine. Still I was nervous I didn’t want to get dropped and seem unfit so I was really happy that on the first day the weather was tougher than the stage and I made the splits in the front group and finished respectably. Day two, and with a confidence boost  I’m now in a bike race and really motivated to do a job for our designated team leader Elliot Porter placing him into crucial potential race deciding moments with minimal effort on his part. I managed this well and even slipped into a late move in the final 10km which I thought might have gone to the line and bagged me a top ten on the stage. Alas it all came back together and I held onto the raging peloton as we reached the final climb to the line placing 38th on stage and in GC. Elliot and Oli both managed top twenty on stage and secured their seasons best results to date. Personally I’m really happy I’ve proved I’m back at a good level and know my fitness will continue to improve week in week out from here.”

What has been the hardest part of your recovery?

 ”Accepting the appearance of my lower right leg was tough but it was so close (I’ve been told) to me not having it just above the knee due to the damage. I feel incredibly lucky the Surgeons and Doctors gambled It could heal. Pushing myself through all sorts of pain and hiding it from the hospital Physio so I could be home for my daughters 6th birthday was the most painful thing I did. Good job bike riders have a good poker face.”

What exactly happened in the accident, and what was the extent of the damage? How many screws and bolts do you have in your body?

”I was hit head on by a car on a fast descent on a corner where I was riding behind a van on the white line to see where a cattle grid was placed. The on coming car connected with my lower right leg and flipped me onto the windscreen over the car and down the road. I have no memory of the accident or the first week in hospital (I was there for 4 weeks) I broke my left femur which was nailed (TI rod) and pinned with four screws, Pelvis in 2 places, right Tibia and Fibula which were open displaced and broken into multiple pieces so required three plates and sixteen screws to hold the pieces in place to patch up the hole they used half of my calf muscle and did a skin graft. I also had a brain bleed. I was initially told due to the amount of damage to my lower right leg I would almost certainly never be competing again if my leg healed. Several weeks (October 30th) after the accident I was told it would be circa six months before I would be allowed to walk on my right leg. I never believed I couldn’t or wouldn’t come back, and with this mind set I went to see Brian Simpson in Ipswich who specialises in Magno and laser therapy for speeding up the healing process. I cant believe the NHS doesn’t do this as standard procedure to heal people faster. I had more X-rays in December and the surgeons and doctors were shocked and surprised to see a huge amount of progress in my right leg I was told I could lose my crutches over the next few weeks as I felt comfortable to do so and would need to start using a gym to get muscle and tendon  function back. I binned the crutches that night and got in contact with a friend Andy Wadsworth of MyLifePT who gave me one to one sessions and structured core work to get my body working normally again. More check ups in mid January and the surgeons and doctors signed me off their care, stating I was months ahead of what they believed should or could be possible. I was as healed as they could have hoped for. It was a huge milestone for me to be told I could get back to being me and riding again. Andy was amazing and an integral part in getting me to the stage where I could get outside for my first ride in January. He told me to do no more than an hour but I couldn’t stop myself and did over 3 hours. I blew so badly after 2 hours but I was so happy to be back on my bike it didn’t matter!”

How are you liking the Velo Squad so far this season?

”I’m really proud and privileged to be a part of Neon-Velo everyone on the squad are really easy going and have been fantastic with understanding my predicament. The equipment is World Tour level and this really motivates me as I’m proper bike geek. I am really looking forward to the rest of this season and my future with the squad as it progress’s and grows.”

You have had some great success in the past few seasons, what are some of your proudest moments and what are you excited about his coming season?

”I’ve had an amazing career for someone who always held down a full time job in the Aerospace sector and has a family. Managing all of this and being competitive makes me proud of what I have done. I have helped friends progress in teams being their super domestique gaining results that have seen them progress to world tour level. Personally representing GB at the MTB worlds in 2007 and 2008 was amazing. Switching to the road placing well in the Premier races and the Tour series events have always been good. Barrow in Furness Tour series last year being the highlight. I’m very excited to be helping the young lads on this team and hope to be able to teach and progress them as successfully as I can.”

 


Rutland-Melton International Cicle Classic – race report

Sunday was the Rutland-Melton International CiCLE Classic. The teams first UCI race of the season.
The team lined up with 6 strong guys. For some of the team it was to be their first ever UCI race and it was a good learning experience and will help them to develop as riders.
The CICLE Classic is always an epic race and brings out some fast, aggressive racing. The roads are narrow and the off road sectors brutal!
With 100km of racing completed all our riders were still sitting comfortable in the front group and things were looking good for a few top 20 results. It wasn’t until the riders hit the Somerberg sector that we lost 2 of our strong guys- Jeremy Durrin & Marc Potts. Both guys unfortunately suffered untimely punctures and so by the time the team car was able to get to the guys for service the fast moving Peleton was long gone. Marc and Jeremy had to settle into a chase group some 8 minutes down by the finish line. This group contained 5 of our riders.

We asked Jeremy what he thought of the race after he finished –

It was a really fast race, and pretty aggressive going into the early sectors. But it seemed as if the teams were not happy letting anything get up the road, so it was a big fight to the start of all the sectors to keep yourself safe. I positioned myself well all day, and once we hit the Somerberg I had an untimely flat when the race was starting to kick off making it impossible to catch back on through the tiny roads. I was very disappointed when it happened as I was feeling strong – but thats the nature of this race. There is a lot of luck involved. On to the next one.


Ollie Maxwell put in a strong ride despite not having the best legs on the day to finish 42nd. He was our top finisher of the day.

This race is very much about luck and who can survive the crazy off road sectors & not puncture at any crucial points.

Welldone to Kieran, Ollie, Marc, Bjergy, Arthur & Jeremy.

Photos by – Sam Larner


Mechanical Friday!! Q&A with team mechanic Alex Gidley

How long have you been a bicycle mechanic for?

”I have been a mechanic for just 4 years.I have always been messing around with bikes but four years ago decided to get qualified and carried out my training courses at the Cycle Systems Academy which was in London at the time. Since then I have attempted to gain as much experience as I can in my spare time.”

What made you decide to get involved in the cycling world?

”I have always been a fan of the sport of road racing. I was a keen cyclist as a kid staring at the latest bikes in Geoffrey Butler in Croydon, riding around in my Z Peugeot kit thinking I was Greg Lemond. I competed at Triathlon for a number of years but had to give this up due to a running injury.  It was at his point I thought I would try and get involved with Road Racing again as a mechanic. I have always been an engineer so thought I would utilise these skills at the same time as being involved with cycling.”

What is your most memorable experience as a team mechanic?

”The first year I was involved on the scene i did a full Tour Series. It was a steep learning curve and was pretty intense but was a great introduction to what is expected of a mechanic within the British Road scene.”

How do you keep your cool in stressful race situations?!

”My full time job is as an Aircraft Engineer in the Royal Navy. This has led to me dealing with working under pressure in environments such as Afghanistan which helps significantly with the pressures that arise during a race.  The difference with the pressures in cycling is the human aspect.  Riders in a race require a far more personal relationship and this is something that I have learnt is a key requirement of a team mechanic.”

What race are you most looking forward to working at?

”A tough choice. It will either be the CiCLE classic or the London Nocturne. Both very different races but each have their appeal. Rutland is THE race of the year where mechanics earn their value as it is such a tough course. The Nocturne is just a great event. In London with big crowds, a great circuit and just a fantastic advert for cycling.”

What is your favourite tool in your master tool kit?

”I am extremely lucky to be part of a team that has such fantastic sponsors.  Being provided with the full Master Tool Kit by Pedro’s means I have everything I need at my disposal.  Got to say that the Pro Chain Tool is an absolute cut above anything else on the market. ”

What is your favourite music?

”I’m an indie boy at heart so any band from the 90’s generally gets my vote. Oasis and the Verve are the stand out bands with a little bit of Northern Soul thrown in for something different.”

What is your favourite food?

”Got to be a Cheesy, Hammy, Eggy.  Those that know, know!!!”

Tell us one fun fact about yourself that we may not know…

”I have an unhealthy addiction to trainers and once had in my possesion over 50 pairs of Adidas Originals.”

 

 

 


Tour of The Reservoir – A tough mans race

This past weekend 8 riders from the team headed up north to race the hard mans race – Tour of The Reservoir. This race is notorious for its tough conditions, and this year was no different with Saturday seeing every type of weather. Rain, Sleet, Weather, and sunshine! It was a race for the tough men and a very limited field was able to finish the demanding race.

The race saw a flurry of attacks for about 2 hours before the final move was able to get some distance after a large crash in the field split the race up. The 5 riders were from all 5 UCI teams, so they shut everything else down from getting across and that was the race. Our boys rolled in after a demanding day out and were able to finish safely in the bunch with Elliot Porter giving it a go on the tough uphill finish.

 

Day two the team had two objectives. Get in the early breakaway, and set up one of our riders for the uphill sprint finish that would most likely suit our young snappy rider, Ollie Maxwell.

We completed both objectives with Jeremy Durrin rolling into a very strong move with all the major teams represented. He rolled strongly in the move for about half the race before most of the break got reabsorbed by the field. The race was to come down to a bunch sprint, so we had Ollie and Elliot being protected by our team to give the finish a strong go!

We had a chat with Ollie about his first Tour of The Reservoir –

Q: How did you find your Res experience?

A: The first day was awful! Freezing, all the weather conditions came out during the stage and it was really just horrible. I couldn’t feel my hand or feet and wasn’t in a good place.

Q: Getting into the top 20 must have been a tough one, seeing as your not much of a climber – how did you pull that off?

A: The second day was a very hilly day, and the team rode well all stage with J in the main leading breakaway. Legs felt good considering it wasn’t my course, but I was able to relax in the bunch since we had Jeremy up the road which allowed me to save my energy for the finishing circuits. The guys helped cover moves and keep me protected so I could give the finish a good go. And I was able to hang on to the front to sneak into the top 20.

 

The team came away with a couple good results, but as always we strive for better. As the young riders get their legs underneath them after these early season races, good things will definitely be coming.

 

Gabby Durrin had this to say about the weekend.

The guys have a lot of work to do, but we have come a long way over this weekend of racing. The teamwork is starting to get dialed in and we will see a big improvement over the coming weeks as the riders get stuck in to the biggest races in the UK. The Cicle Classic is coming up this weekend and we are bringing a strong squad that we expect to get some good results.

 


Round 2 of the Motor Point Spring Cup – Manx GP

This past weekend the team fielded a strong 6 rider squad that headed to the Isle Of Man for a race on the historic Isle of Man TT course. The race would circle the island 3 times for a total of 113 miles and 2500 meters of climbing.

The race was very aggressive from the start with lots of attempts of breakaways, but no teams comfortable with the groups that got off the front. After about an hour of racing, 2 riders snuck off the front which would establish the break of the day.

The first time up the climb of the day was controlled and was not too difficult for most riders, so it would come down to the next time up when the race would most likely split. And thats exactly what happened, with the 2 team Sky riders taking to the front and forcing splits over the 20+ minutes of intense climbing to the KOM.

Elliot Porter and Kieren Simcox were able to crest towards the front of the group and then battled it out over the last lap coming in together just off the back of the leaders for a very hard fought day on the bike.

Jeremy Durrin, who’s first race was the Manx GP, rolled in to the finish line with a small group after helping the team position into the base of the climbs during the race. Ollie Maxwell was able to get into one of the most threatening breaks of the day and snatch one of the sprints of the day before heading into the climb! Ollie shows a lot of maturity for such a young rider and we will definitely see him on the podium in the near future.

Tom Yiangou and Liam Yates, both in their first premier calendar races,  played their part in the opening laps working for the team and covering dangerous moves which really helped setting up the other riders for success in the race.

Race Director, Gabby Durrin, had this to say about the teams performance:

“There is obviously room for improvement, but the team worked well together and set our climbers up as best they could for a demanding KOM. We are a development team, so I am happy to see some of the guys doing well in their first Premier Calendar races and it can only get better throughout the season.

We have a strong group of riders and we are really looking forward to getting stuck into the top racing in the UK and seeing what we can do. Just racing on the Isle of Man TT course is really something, with the history and past winners who have been on the top step. The racing here was top notch and the organization did a fantastic job!”