Cycling Weekly will have a rider blogging from every round of this year’s Tour Series, offering insight, comment and humour from the fast-paced proceedings.
This week, Ian Bibby (Madison-Genesis) explains the hidden world of tactics, politics and secret messages that make up a Tour Series round.
The fact that the Tour Series is a team event changes the tactics quite a bit. Often a group will go up the road with one member of each of the big teams in it, and then everyone else will accept it and won’t chase it down.
After a few rounds the bigger teams all start watching each other, so that can give the smaller teams a chance to get a result.
There isn’t really a patron in the Tour Series peloton, someone who controls the riders and calls the shots. The big teams all respect each other, and each team has a leader who will generally speak to the leaders on other teams during the race.
For Rapha that tends to be Kristian House, he’s one of the bigger riders in the series, and for Madison-Genesis that will often be me or Andy Tennant.
The managers are also all trying to shout instructions from the pits every lap, but it’s actually really hard to hear them. Having said that, I always seem to hear Roger [Hammond], I’m not sure why!
He’s usually telling us where we are in the race, which is important for the team competition. If you’re third man that’s when it gets really important, because your position can have a big impact on the overall team result.
If Roger is telling you you’re third man, it means you have to do everything you can to hang on to your position.
Last year on Endura our manager was Julian Winn, and he would somehow manage to move around the course to the quiet places. He must have really been running around, because all of a sudden he’d pop up somewhere new after each lap.
John Herety has been doing a lot of hand signals lately, so we reckon he must have a secret code with his riders. We’ve managed to work out a few; we think hand clapping means “attack.” I saw him doing it on one lap and suddenly Kristian House attacked.