Colin Sturgess wants Madison Genesis to feature prominently at the Chorley GP this weekend.
The team manager – who named his squad on Wednesday – was enthusiastic to see the squad start a crucial two-month stint of domestic competition.
We’ve had two hard camps and some racing, everyone has wintered well and done the hard yards. Let’s show what we’ve got. We’re pro cyclists, we have a job to do, to represent Madison Genesis on a high stage and this is a high stage. Let’s show ourselves to the front and get amongst it.
Despite his bullish assertions, Sturgess remains vigilant when it comes to the challenges that await the team at the first national series race of the year – and one which is renowned as being a hilly, physical test.
Everyone knows Chorley is a particularly hard race but anything can happen on the day and that’s what we need to be aware of.
We can fall into the trap of thinking it’s all down to the big continental teams but we’ve got to keep an eye on the smaller teams as well, because there are some strong individuals in there and they throw a completely different aspect into the mix.
Talking tactics, the team will be going for a tried and tested approach of ensuring the early breakaway forms in their favour – but he won’t be the only one.
Of course my tactics are the same as everyone’s, so it’s a case of making sure that we have the right combination of riders in that move balanced by who is feeling good on the day.
We want a rider, or even two riders into that early move and then let the race come back, the attrition, and then try to send a few across.
Sturgess has confidence that the riders he has selected have the right attributes to deliver success using this game plan.
We’ve got options. Johnny can climb and sprint, then there’s Holmes and Handley who can climb with the best in the country and then we’ve got Isaac as well – he’s been climbing extremely well and he’s just a raw talent.
It would be nice to put a sprinter in there and see how they get round, but it’s very much a case of horses for courses, so the selection made itself.
I’m a bit disappointed for Atkins (not selected – ed.) but he’s had seven days of racing in the legs so let’s bring Pym and Mundy into the fold now and give them a shot.
Beyond the climbers’ course of Chorley, Sturgess will have challenging decisions to make for the CiCLE Classic and ultimately, the Tour de Yorkshire, a process which is already underway.
We’ve got a shortlist for Yorkshire but there are a few guys who I still want to see get stuck in.
The eight-week period should give Sturgess the opportunity to discover who has the mettle to form the Tour de Yorkshire squad and who will head the challenge for the Tour Series title.
The busy, varied and season-defining calendar of competition forms the backbone of the British road racing season.
Starting with the Chorley GP on April 15, the team must then tackle the gravel roads of the CiCLE Classic, before the Klondike GP.
May begins with the hilly and ultra-competitive Tour de Yorkshire, which is followed by ten rounds of criterium racing at the Tour Series, along with the Lincoln GP – one of Britain’s most coveted one-day events.
“It’s a strange period of year and it’s quite crucial we get it right now” Sturgess reflects.
Selection for all of these races is going to be tricky, nobody is hurting for form, everyone is riding well.
We’ve had a couple of quieter weeks after Normandie which is good and to be able to now refocus and look at things in a more domestic sense I think that’s what you have to do, that’s what’s going to qualify us for the Tour of Britain.