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Podium Ambition Pro Cycling powered by Club La Santa

ProBikeKit were one of the lucky few to have been invited to the Launch of the Podium Ambition Pro Cycling powered by Club La Santa – adidas press release event in Manchester on the 26th Jan. The launch of the new team is a very exciting time for us, the riders, adidas, and their sponsors as the strong Women’s Pro Cycling Team are set to achieve big things going into the 2016 season.

We had the chance to see the new range of adidas evil eye half rim promoting all its cool features and how this benefits the riders, including a photocromatic lens and clear vision lenses to aid performance and reaction times for riders. Watch the video below to see the innovative design of these adidas sunglasses and how they work:

We caught up with the co-founder and team leader of Podium Ambition Ltd – Dame Sarah Storey – to tell us all about the new Podium Ambition Pro Cycling powered by Club La Santa Team, the Boot Out Breast Cancer Club (BOBC), and their plans for the upcoming 2016 season.

ProBikeKit’s Interview with Dame Sarah Storey

Question: How did you decide on who was going to be in the team?
Answer:

“We’ve had hundreds and hundreds of applications to the team, so many applications that we could probably run ten teams quite easily! It’s amazing the number of riders that aspire to be at the highest level, it’s absolutely amazing, we’re all very honoured to see that people want to be a part of that, so we have to whittle it down to riders that we know, that we’ve worked with, and riders that we’ve already had our eye on – we’ll approach riders who are doing exceptionally well. It’s amazing the difference between different applications as well, so we’ll get applications from riders who talk about what they want the team to do for them, which is the worst kind of application. Then we’ll get riders who talk about what they can do for the team, what’s inspired them about the current team, and why they want to be involved. Then you get applications from riders saying I’d like to consider riding for you could you send me some more info and so it’s amazing how quickly and easy it is to whittle down the applications.”

Question: How does the race selection work?
Answer:

“We set out a road programme that we’ll support and they can choose to ride other races around that and the equipment that they are provided with allows them to race independently, we’ll provide race wheels for specific races and it’s kind of a programme whereby we’ll set out a race programme that we believe will allow the maximum opportunity for them to improve in all areas. So we’re not solely focused on one particular type of road racing. We really encourage time trials, perhaps more than any other team because if you want to be a professional on the road, if you’re not a great time trialist it doesn’t matter but you still need to be able to get through the time trial stage easily, so we really encourage time trials and they get the equipment for that as well – we’re also looking for opportunities outside of the UK as well. We’re currently finalising a calendar that is supported and then outside of that they can race other races but that will be at their own discretion and for their own training and those races we believe will give them the exposure they need to hard racing and provide the stepping stone to the next level because Women’s UCI racing is really fast, really hard and there’s a big big difference to surviving and finishing the race to being in that race and we need to fill that gap, we need to allow riders to race in the UK and be sufficiently capable from when they’ve raced in the UK to take that step easily and that gap is still quite big so we’re hoping that by setting that programme will help bridge that gap a little bit more.”

 

Question: You mentioned that there will be certain privileges to being part of BOBC Cycling Club - is this on a personal base or a cycling based experience?
Answer:

“So there are two sides to the BOBC cycling club. It’s only £15 for general membership, you ride for the club and for your own benefits, this could be because you want to be involved from your own personal level. We also have a corporate club called the ‘Captain’s Club’ and that’s where you get some exclusive money can’t buy opportunities and those, the captains will have the opportunity to have a time trial experience day where they’ll come along and be hosted by the team camper, supported by the team sport science riders, they’ll have their lunch cooked for them when they’re finished or a snack, they’ll be able to have a de-brief of their day as it were, how their race went, a bit of feedback to go onto the next one. They’ll also get discounts for being coached by club authorised coaches, so normally if you want to be coached it’s £150 a month for a full package that you’d get as a pro rider, normal members you’d get for £120, captain’s club members can get that at £100 a month and there will be additional discounts on Estrella bikes who are supporting the club, plus discounts on the kit (available from ProBikeKit here!) that we sell as a pro team which are already incredibly discounted from the previous year’s kit. So lots of different opportunities are available. Members of the Captains Club will be able to book themselves a day in the team car and follow me around a national time trial or follow the team on a road race and then you never know someone might have a skill and then become a member of staff as well kind of like a community feel.

When I launched BOBC Cycling Club I realised that cycling is incredibly inclusive when it comes to clubs, so as you go through a go-ride club at some point you have to leave that club to make your way into professional ranks. Now it’s impractical to have a professional team that is a club but it’s not impractical to have an affiliation, so we’re very much sister clubs, we’re in partnership with that membership and will support them so we’re kind of joined on that community feel so when you stand on the start line of a race you know that you’ve got the Boot Out Breast Cancer Cycling Club behind you as well. It joins people up and creates a community and I’m also trying to maximise the opportunity for the BOBC charity to get around the UK to get the message that the NHS is struggling to buy equipment for early diagnosis and this is a way that we can help to prevent people from needing the expensive cancer treatment because it’s diagnosed too late.”

 

Question: Could you tell us how the team work for the charity and how this raises money for them.
Answer:

“Every single penny raised goes to Boot Out Breast Cancer’s equipment, so there aren’t any costs for advertising or marketing or anything, so we are essentially a free marketing tool for them. We also donate prize money and membership money from the Cycling Club, but predominantly we are advertising for them which can be incredibly costly.”

Question: How would locals go about organising fundraising activities for the club?
Answer:

“So anyone who comes to us asking to fundraise, I put them back in touch with the charity who are the experts and Debbie Dowie who is the founder who will guide them through the process and the required regulations. I know there’s a group of Ladies in Nottingham who have already raised some money for BOBC with an event. These fundraising events can be run as a sportive, family fun days, Park rides and so on. It’s been only four weeks since we launched the BOBC Cycling Club so we have a lot of scope to grow in this area so in years to come if we can host our own events or create our own sportives or find a way of doing that then yeah, we can have our events rather than tagging along to others’.

We want people to have the understanding that alongside the idea of the Cycling Club is a pathway, so if you join the club as a youngster and we know that you are racing for us, we know your results because you are in our club colours, we might then be able to invite you to join our scholarship programme and then onto there within, you can actually stay at the same club from being a ten year old right through to being a forty year old and then you stay in the club when you retire from professional racing and race masters so it’s something whereby it’s the complete package. At the moment it is just women but as we grow and evolve there’s no reason that well the men’s side of the sport has slightly many more opportunities. We can signpost young lads to the teams that we are linked to through our sponsors of the pro team so for example HMT academy, we are sponsored by HMT hospitals and they’ve got a brilliant cycling academy that links into JLT Condor, so we’ve obviously got links and the ability to signpost people.

Also when people come out of British Cycling programmes, the national body has to select but that doesn’t mean that that’s the end of the road, a lot of young athletes think that if they’re no good for a national governing body then they’re no good at all but what we are trying to say is no actually you are good, you’re developing at a different rate to the people they’ve selected it’s not necessarily a negative let’s make it a positive so we have created a different path. And for people that don’t want to go down the track path which is predominantly what we have to have because it’s the controllable path of cycling and that’s the governing body’s focus obviously then if you don’t want to go down that path it’s no problem we’ve got an option here. It’s not the be all and end all, they’ve only got a certain amount of money as a national governing body and they have to channel it into what they can control more of but it’s not a problem because there’s a path here and it has a completely different world attached to it.

And in addition we are trying to use ex riders to come back in and support staff, so at the women’s tour last year we used two young girls who are 21 and they were support staff so we are trying to create opportunities that if you end because of injury or because of education or a job or whatever, then stay involved because your skills are still valuable and your experience however far you went is quite valuable.”

With special thanks to adidas, Dame Sarah Storey and the team for speaking with us and to help launch the partnership of adidas Sport Eyewear and Podium Ambition Pro Cycling powered by Club La Santa.

From all of us here at ProBikeKit, we wish them the very best of luck and achieve great things this coming season.



Elizabeth Demetriou

Elizabeth Demetriou

Editor

I'm a runner at heart but since shin splints became a big part of my life, I turned to cycling as a form of cross training. I love riding track and am a regular on the Manchester velodrome; on the road I ride a Trek Lexa and I call it Toby.


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