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Stories

Stories by Palu Bicycles

Meet the Rider: Jess Morgan

Harry Bunnell

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We recently caught up with a friendly face from the London cycling scene, Jess Morgan, who is a great advocate for women’s racing and regularly competes at Red Hook Crit with her team North London ThunderCats. Jess was testing our new Engine11 Vortex and we took the opportunity to speak to her about the London cycling scene.

Palu: How long have you been cycling and what got you into it?

Jess: I started cycling in around 2008 because I was a broke student in London who needed a cheaper way to get around than public transport. After my ugly second hand mountain bike got stolen, my boyfriend at the time built me a super cute single speed. It amazed me how fast I could go, and I became obsessed with commuter racing. Then I got a Garmin and Strava and that was it, I was hooked.

Palu: What’s your earliest cycling memory?

Jess: I was born in London, so my first memory of riding a bike was in Primrose Hill in North London, slowly pottering along one of the footpaths. Despite having stabilisers, I still managed to ride off the edge of the path, crashed, and bawled my eyes out.

Palu: How long have you worked in the cycling industry?

Jess: I’ve worked in cycling since 2012, when I worked at Rapha part-time when I was still studying at uni and ended up back there full-time after I graduated. I’ve never looked back!

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Palu: When did you start racing? What’s your most memorable race?

Jess: I started racing in 2013 at Herne Hill Velodrome, the women’s sessions there were so key in giving me the confidence to race. Although I loved the competitive element of Strava, before going to the track the thought of ever being one of those intimidating ‘racers’ hadn’t occurred to me. They were real cyclists and I wasn’t. My most memorable race was the first Minet Crit in London, where I got a podium for the very first time. I lost the sprint for 2nd by a tyre’s width which is when I learned the importance of the ‘bike throw’, but was still very happy with third place.

Palu: How has women’s racing changed over the last few years?

Jess: It’s been amazing to see a lot of new faces coming into racing from a variety of backgrounds – road cycling, track cycling or fixed gear. The scene has grown but there’s still work to do to ensure decent sized fields and equal prizes. I’d especially love to see more women racing fixed crits. The men’s races are always sold out and it would be great to see similar participation in the women’s side.

Palu: Which races are you targeting in 2019?

Jess: I’m living in hope that the Red Hook Crit will have a full series next year so ideally I’ll kick off with Red Hook Crit Brooklyn in April, but the Rad Race Fixed 42 is also a real favourite of mine as there aren’t any other point to point fixed gear races in the calendar. And obviously ThunderCrit, my team’s fixed crit!

Palu: What’s your proudest moment on the bike?

Jess: It has to be Red Hook Crit Barcelona 2016, where for the first time ever I stayed with the front group for the whole race. The pace was relentless – my heart rate hit over 200bpm for the first time ever and my legs felt like they were melting – but I didn’t give up. Then, on the penultimate lap a girl in front of me slid out on the hairpin and I rode over her and came off. We both got back on though and I still managed to bag 20th.

Palu: What do you do to relax when you off the bike?

Jess: Mostly sleeping and eating. My happy place is strolling to a local cafe to indulge in an epic brunch and Instagramming the crap out of it.

Palu: Where is your dream place to cycle?

Jess: I’ve never ridden outside the UK except for crits so I’d love to visit one of those iconic cycling spots like Mallorca or Gran Canaria to see what real climbs are like and soak up some sun. We’re so starved of Vitamin D in the UK that I’d really like to go somewhere hot and come back with dazzling tanlines to make everyone else jealous.

Palu: What advice to you have for young riders looking to start racing?

Jess: Don’t put too much pressure on yourself – if you’re trying to win straight away then you’ll only get frustrated. Racing is a long learning curve and there are so many aspects to it beyond results; it’s about having fun, learning from every experience and making new friends. If you enjoy it and are consistent in your training then the results will come naturally.

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Palu: What's your favourite thing about the London cycling scene?

Jess: The community is rock solid in London, there’s so much love and support across all the disciplines. Even the racing scene is really friendly, so if you’re thinking about racing but are scared about turning up to your first race alone don’t worry – all you need to do is introduce yourself and I guarantee you’ll make a friend and future racing buddy.

Getting muddy in Monza

Harry Bunnell

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Back in September we took a trip to the Lombardy region of Italy for the Brianza MTB Marathon race. Marathon mountain bike races, often referred to as cross-country marathon, are a very demanding form of mountain bike racing covering at least 40 kilometres usually in mountainous terrain.

We hooked up with our friends from team Trek Selle-San Marco who were using the race as a warm up for the MTB marathon world championships. Brianza is a prestigious event with around 1,500 participants, with a tough course with 2,000 metres of elevation over a lot of short climbs.

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There were four Trek riders in the race, including super strong female rider Jessica Pellizzaro who has been having some great races this season. After the race we caught up with the guys to see how they got on.

Michele Casagrande

I prepared myself the best I could for the race at Brianza. I wanted to fight for the victory even though it didn’t go as I wanted. It was probably one of the toughest races I ever went through, I’m talking from a psychological point of view and there were three fundamental points during the 67km of the course.

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The first is when Aleksei Medvedev (MTB Marathon European Champion) decided to attack and I was on his wheel. As soon as he jumped on his pedals to break away I just felt on a lower level, and I nearly lost my concentration. I remember turning my head to see if there were any of the guys were looking good,but there was no sign of that at all. After that moment we hit the descent, the bit I’m pretty good at, and where the middle of the race starts. I was constantly head down for around one hour up and down chasing the leader because I felt I was still in the running for a podium spot.

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Ultimately we hit the 25km to go which were characterised by really short climbs and descents connected by long flat segments. I lost contact from up a group of five up front and I ended up alone, which feels frustrating because it’s hard to understand if you're doing great, okay or bad as there is noone around as a point of reference and the concentration again faded. Thinking back on it now make me laugh about it, but at the time I felt lonely for some reason. The last kilometres were endless for this mix of reasons, but I managed to wrap it up in 6th place which I guess isn’t too bad overall.

Andrea Righettini

I turned up at this race with high expectations, even though I knew the standard of the riders was really competitive. The pace was fast and furious from the start, I kept it up for as much as I could but it really felt I was riding way over my limit. I believed if I could keep the ride going for the first three quarters of the race I would then be able to get over the last quarter a bit smoother.

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After two hours race I was in 7th position and I was glad for the fact that the hardest bit was over, but all of a sudden my body showed me “the bill to pay in advance”. When I was still doing the last bit of the race unfortunately I started struggling and psychologically the race seemed to be never ending.

I was happy to finish the race more or less alive!

Fabian Rabensteiner

We arrived to the race area in advance on Friday in order to test the course in two sections; one on Friday and the second part on Saturday and prepare for the race with more confidence.

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The race started at a fast pace and I kept myself between the best spots in the front and once again the form felt really good. Actions started really soon when Medvedev attacked and I managed to get over the first descent in the top five. I had to keep on chasing Medvedev pretty hard anyway and the only guy who kept my pace was Leonardo Páez Leon who I managed to break away from at some point but then due to a technical mistake he joined me again so we played out the sprint finish for the 2nd and 3rd spots, which I won with a lot of adrenaline.

It was only two weeks to go to the World Championship race (around my hometown area) and I felt very ready and fit for it, but sadly two days later I crashed and the dream disappeared. It’s a shame because Aleksei and Leonardo did well, and I could have definitely been up there with them.

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Meet the Rider: Samuele Porro

Harry Bunnell

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Growing up running the track as a kid, Samuele Porro was always destined to go onto big things. After a knee injury forced him to turn to the bike when he was 13 years old, he hasn’t looked back since. He won the MTB Marathon Italian National title in September, making it his third national title in the discipline (2014, 2015 and 2018) adding to his Under 23 Cross Country Italian title back in 2010.

Palu: How did you get into riding when you were younger?

Samuele: I started through random chance really... up until 13 years old I was a runner, mostly on the track but also on the winter cross country courses. On the summer of 2001 I had knee surgery for a cartilage issue which sadly never let me go back on practising those disciplines. The specialists who looked after my case advised that I try cycling with the purpose of improving the strength of the leg muscles without overloading/stressing the bad knee area.  

Palu: At what moment did you realise this would become your job?

Samuele: I never really thought it as a job apart from the last past three seasons, when I signed for team Trek-Selle San Marco. My race calendar become more and more busy and I decided to give up my job as a quantity surveyor, which I was doing since I finished my studies, and dedicated myself to being a full time athlete.

Palu: Have you ever thought about switching your career to road cycling?

Samuele: I love doing Granfondo races just for the purpose of getting some good workouts for my MTB racing fitness schedule and because it’s a great social discipline. Personally I think I’m more competitive in MTB discipline, which where my heart lies.

Palu: Which races are you targeting the 2019?

Samuele: To be honest we are still focussed on wrapping up the 2018 season right now, so i’ll evaluate and set my 2019 targets after a proper sit down with the team.

Palu: What are the cultural differences between a road and MTB cycling and are they well connected each other?

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Samuele: I think MTB is a more individual sport comparing it with the road where the team work is really important. MTB doesn’t involve much rivalry between athletes, so as a result we are all very good mates.

Palu: What has been the biggest win of your a career so far? Tell us how it felt!

Samuele: It was my very first “maglia tricolore” (Italian national jersey) when I won the U23 XC category, partly as it was actually the most unexpected one. I still remember shouting to myself with joy with my eyes closed, it felt like a dream.

Palu: What do you do to relax when you off the bike?

Samuele: I like listening to music and watching films, although I often spend a good slice of my spare time looking after my bikes. I’m pretty obsessed with keeping them ‘looking presentable’!

Palu: You ride with Trek, how many bikes do you have as options and tell us about them.

Samuele: I have the Procaliber (front suspension) and the Top Fuel (full suspension). I mainly use the ProCaliber (front), which is lighter and more reactive. It’s also got “isospeed” technology which as opposed to other hardtail bikes is compliant enough to reduce the jarring and fatiguing effects of a rough road.

Palu: What’s your view on disc brakes in road cycling, since it’s been around a long time in the world of MTB?

Samuele: We started using Trek Émonda SLR 8 Disc this season for our road training and I believe it’s the future. Once you try the technology you no longer want to go back on the rim surface brakes.

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Palu: Where is your dream place to cycle?

Samuele: The Livigno mountains are my summer training destination, it’s an ideal area for training at high altitude where you can find some of the best trails in the world.

Palu: What advice to you have for young riders coming through?

Samuele: I think it’s extremely important to have fun when doing sport, whether it’s competitive or not. Fun is the base of everything, it would be massively hard to aim yourself to your goals without that.

Follow Samuele on Instagram: @porrosamuele

London Nocturne: Andrea Vassallo

Harry Bunnell

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On Saturday 9th June the Nocturne returned to London, giving local heroes and those from further afield a chance to battle it out on a fast and furious circuit in Cheapside. We caught up with Andrea Vassallo of team IRD Squadra Corse who was riding the men’s fixed gear race to find out how it all unfolded.

Palu: Where do you live and did you come to London for the Nocturne?

Andrea: I recently moved to Haywards Heath, West Sussex. I lived in London for over four years so I see London Nocturne as my ‘home race’ in the UK.

Palu: How it is racing on closed roads in the centre of the city?

Andrea: It's a special feeling to race in the earth of the City just behind St Paul’s Cathedral. I look forward to these empty roads the whole year!

Palu: How was the atmosphere? Was there a good crowd watching?

Andrea: Yes, they are both amazing! Many friends come to support me and cheer me on. Due to the location, the atmosphere feels different to any other race. People come to watch the Nocturne to hang out with friends and have a laugh. The penny farthing, folding bike and Santander bike formats simply make London Nocturne a unique race.

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Palu: Have you raced Nocturne previously? How has it changed with the newer course in Cheapside?

Andrea: I raced it two years ago on a very similar course. The new course made the race even faster and entertaining.

Palu: Which teams were you watching out for in the race?

Andrea: Specialized Rocket Espresso were the favourites, but we did not wait for them to make the race tough. We attacked from the gun and tried to make it a fun race to watch!

Palu: IRD took a third place. Did the crash remove some of your chance to win?

Andrea: Yes, definitely the crash did not help but this is crit racing. Unfortunately crashes are part of the game. It is really gutting to see riders down and injuring themselves. It is so even more when one of them is a teammate and friend like Ale Mariani that was undoubtedly a race favourite. I'd like to take this chance to send him healing vibes, I am sure he will be back soon, super strong. Saying that we have to pay respect and congratulate Alec Briggs. He won this race three times and characters like him make the fixed gear crit scene special!

Palu: Lots of teams travelled from Italy, is it a prestigious race outside of UK?

Andrea: Certainly is! Racing on the streets of London is a special feeling and the fixed gear scene in Italy is booming massively at the moment. I fell in love with cycling when i was a kid in Italy but I discovered and learned how to ride a fixed gear bike in London. I'd love to see more races in the UK. There are plenty of teams and passionate people over here!

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Palu: Will you be back next year?

Andrea: Yes, and I will bring IRD squadra corse with me. We will be back to give it a show!

Thundercrit 3

Harry Bunnell

 Photo: Brendan Kemp

Photo: Brendan Kemp

On Saturday 2nd June the great and good of the London fixed gear scene headed to Lee Valley for the third edition of Thundercrit, a crit race hosted by the NLTCBMBC. We headed down to support the NVAYRK Paria Team who had five riders in action (Federico, Peter, Euan, Chaz and Simone).

Federico Motta reports back from the race:

The atmosphere for Thundercrit 3 was amazing. We were all hoping for a beautiful sunny day is what and that’s what we got. The crowd was pretty big for the first qualifying group at 1.30pm and it built up to be all spread out around the hairpin corner, the level above the ground and the bridge crossing over the circuit. This is definitely the biggest crowd the Olympic outer circuit has ever seen, and it is for a fixed gear crit. 

I’ve been racing Thundercrit since the first edition 3 years ago and it has seen a massive growth. It has become the UK best fixed gear race where people travel from overseas to come and race outside the iconic Olympic velodrome. Unfortunately Red Hook Crit has been having some issues planning the championship so these original “smaller” races are becoming bigger, with all the best teams attending. The day wouldn’t have happen without the awesome organisation put on by Rob and all the volunteers and marshals, really top work.

 Photo: Brendan Kemp

Photo: Brendan Kemp

We knew this year it wouldn’t have been like the previous edition due to the presence of many top riders and obviously we knew that Specialized Rocket Espresso, Cykeln along with Aventon rider, Oliver Le Roy would make their own race. 

 Photo: Brendan Kemp

Photo: Brendan Kemp

We had a lot of great fun in our qualifying heat where we controlled the field and we managed to finish with four riders in the top four positions. We wanted to work as team and be at the front without taking any risks and we did. This allowed us to take the first four spots and start at the front in the final.

The final was insanely fast. The phase was high from the very beginning without a chance of slowing down. The front group was still very numerous and we were all there trying to do miss out the break. Peter did an enormous performance missing the first lap prime when he was passed at the last corner and finished just out of the top 10 position. 

It was overall a great day and a great performance of the team among some of the fastest fixed gear crit riders out there.

 Photo: Brendan Kemp

Photo: Brendan Kemp

Meet the Rider: Thomas Zanotto

Harry Bunnell

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Elite rider Thomas Zanotto has been racing for 10 years and completed the Baby Giro last year. He's now taking a break from pro cycling to start his own consultancy business. We caught up with him in Veneto to test ride a few bikes.

Palu: You recently tested some bikes for Palu in Padova, which one was your favourite?

Thomas: I’ve tested quite a few bikes actually but the best one is the Pinarello 65.1, with a custom paint scheme for Rui Costa’s World Championship victory in Firenze 2013.

Palu: How long have you been road cycling and how did you get into it?

Thomas: I’ve raced for 10 years and I started to race because my dad gave me my first racing bike, a blue Battaglin.

Palu: What is your best cycling memory?

Thomas: My best day was the last Giro Ciclistico d’Italia (Baby Giro), where I wasn't very fit for the entire tour, but I made it to the finish at Campo Imperatore.

Palu: What do you love about cycling competitively?

Thomas: While racing I love the last few kilometres when the adrenaline goes up especially when sprinting

Palu: What bike are you currently riding?

Thomas: I currently ride a Pinarello Dogma F10

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Palu: Do you have any advice for young people looking to start racing?

Thomas: It’s a really tough sport and it doesn’t relent for a single metre, but with constant motivation you can achieve your objectives. I would say a huge passion is required!

Palu: Who is your cycling hero?

Thomas: My Idol is Peter Sagan because he always knows how to win and always does it in style.

Palu: Do you have any goals for the future?

Thomas: My goal this season is to win a race!

Palu: If you could pick one place to ride, where would you go?

Thomas: The Dolomites are the place I love to be and my favourite climb is Passo Pordoi.

Palu: Thanks and good luck for the racing in 2018!

Meet the Rider: Nicole D’Agostin

Harry Bunnell

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Making waves in the local racing scene in Veneto, we caught up with young Italian rider Nicole D'Agostin who is now mixing it up with her heroes in the pro peloton. Not only did she ride the Nationals last year, but in 2018 she's gearing up to ride the Giro d'Italia Femminile. Forza!

Palu: You recently tested some bikes for Palu in Padova, which one was your favourite?

Nicole: The Bianchi Oltre Xr2 is my favourite road bike I’ve tested, but the S-Works mountain bike was also epic!

Palu: How long have you been road cycling and how did you get into it?

Nicole: I started at 13 years old thank to my Dad’s big passion.

Palu: What is your best cycling memory?

Nicole: Very hard to choose… probably the victories achieved around my home area, where I won two races in a row; a race on Saturday and the following day on Sunday. Then of course the 2017 Women's Road World Championship in Bergen!

Palu: What do you love about cycling competitively?

Nicole: To win! I never like to lose.

Palu: What bike are you currently riding?

Nicole: This season I’m using a fantastic Bianchi Dama Xr3 with Campagnolo setup and Campagnolo Bora rims.

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Palu: Do you have any advice for other women looking to get into cycling?

Nicole: They should give it a go. It’s a sport that teaches you a lot for your everyday personal life, because you can't give up even when nothing goes the way you are expecting. It makes you realise what your dedication and sacrifice is.

Palu: Who is your cycling hero?

Nicole: Marianne Vos has been my hero since when I was little, I still can't believe that I’m racing alongside her now!

Palu: Do you have any goals for 2018?

Nicole: It’s my first year in the pro peloton so I’m aiming to get as much experience as I can and maybe to get some little reward paid off. I’m doing my first Giro d’Italia and I’d love to honour it as best as I can.

Palu: If you could pick one place to ride, where would you go?

Nicole: Apart from my hometown countryside lanes (of course!) I’d love to ride in Spain, I’ve always heard good things about it.

Palu: Thank you Nicole and good luck for your 2018 season!

Nicole: Thank you so much crepi il lupo.
 

Meet the Rider: Gianluca Brambilla

Harry Bunnell

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Ahead of the 101st edition of the Giro d’Italia we spoke to the boy from Bassano del Grappa, Gianluca Brambilla. In his first season with Trek-Segafredo and leading the line at the Giro d’Italia with his Colombian teammate Jarlinson Pantano, we found out how it felt to wear the Maglia Rosa back in 2016 and his plans for this season.

Palu: How did you get into riding when you were younger?

Gianluca: I start riding when I was young, but mostly played football at school. I was about 9 or 10 when I stopped running behind a ball and started racing with a road bike.

Palu: At what moment did you realise this would become you job?

Gianluca: I always dreamed that it should became my job and when I was in the under-23 Zalf Euromobil Fior team, high school was finished and I said to myself “OK let’s try 100% cycling for a couple of months and if it works i'll go for it. Otherwise I'll go to university." I think it worked well!

Palu: You are from Bassano del Grappa, how is the cycling there?

Gianluca: Cycling in Bassano is good. It’s well organised with a strong youth cycling scene, plenty of people that ride bikes and lots of routes. But the problem is the viability, like with much of Italy the bike paths are dangerous or don’t exist at all.

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Palu: How has your first season been with Trek Segafredo?

Gianluca: Until now my personal season was not super, in the best moment I got pneumonia and I had to stop for 20 days and restart almost everything from zero! The first race after sickness was Croatia and went quite well, but after two months with no competition it was hard. But on the flipside I met a nice big group of people called Trek-Segafredo team and I really love being a part of it.

Palu: Which races are you targeting this year?

Gianluca: My target this year is Giro d'italia, which start in couple of days. After all that has happened we will see what happen and I’m really confident especially for the third week.

Palu: What has been the biggest win of your a career? Tell us how it felt!

Gianluca: My biggest victory was (especially as an Italian) the stage of Arezzo in the Giro in 2016 where I was also wearing the Maglia rosa. It was an incredible feeling, my biggest dream since I was young come true... AMAZING! 2016 was a really big season for me, the mountain stage victory at Formigal at the Vuelta ahead of Quintana and Contador was also fantastic!

Palu: What do you do to relax when you off the bike?

Gianluca: My biggest relaxation off the bike for two years is my baby daughter Asia.

Palu: Tell us about your team bike.

Gianluca: I’m riding a Trek Emonda Disc with a 52cm frame and I love it. It is incredibly light, even with discs. It's 6.8kg, just within the UCI minimum weight.

Palu: What’s your view on disc brakes in the peloton?

Gianluca: I will never go back from discs to normal brakes!

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Palu: Where is your dream place to cycle?

Gianluca: My dream place to cycle is a safe place without traffic and dangers of nature!

Palu: What do you miss most about Italy when you are on the road?

Gianluca: What I miss is, of course, my family and my friends… but also Italian food. I love pizza!

Palu: What advice to you have for young riders coming through?

Gianluca: For young riders my advice is don’t forget to have fun on the bike and don’t look at the numbers too much either (watts, kilograms, hours of training).

Palu: Grazie and good luck for the Giro!

Meet the Rider: Euan Cattermole

Harry Bunnell

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Our latest rider interview is with a familiar face at Herne Hill Velodrome, the one and only (Lord) Euan Cattermole. After a pretty storming season last year, which included a win in the Last Chance race at Red Hook London, we spoke to Euan about his aspirations for 2018.

Palu: How long have you been riding and what got you into it?

Euan: Simple answer: all my life. My Granddad raced, my dad raced, my brother raced, so I did too. I grew up around the sport and have been racing since I was 8.

Palu: What's your earliest memory of Cycling?

Euan: Probably just messing around at Herne Hill whilst my dad and my brother raced. Going up to Crystal Palace on a Tuesday to watch the racing, watching the Tour on the TV, that sort of thing.

Palu: What's your role at Herne Hill Velodrome?

Euan: I’m Head Coach and Development Officer. Basically my job is to look after cycling at the velodrome. I look after all the coaching team and training them up. I look after all the public sessions and racing. I develop pathways into the sport for women and kids, through new sessions and initiatives.

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Palu: When you're not at the track, where do you train?

Euan: Out in the Kent and Surrey countryside, south-east of London, where the roads aren’t smooth at all! Proper gutty riding at times. Bit of rollers and turbo at home too. Maybe some hill sprints in Forest Hill too (if I can be arsed!)

Palu: What kind of training programme do you follow for Red Hook?

Euan: Normally like to start properly ‘training’ about a month before a big objective. I break it down into three, 10 day blocks. The first 10 days is mostly mileage, but with a few race efforts, just getting myself fit. The next 10 days I’m looking to push my race fitness, so less mileage, more intensity, some brutal rollers, turbo and race efforts. The last 10 days is the taper, more rest and recovery but trying to stay sharp. Rollers and derny sessions here for sure, getting that speed work done. In the midst of all of this I’ll do some cornering sessions on my track bike, finding the limits. Occasionally I’ll go to Crystal Palace, but mostly I do it in the centre at Herne Hill. To find out what speed you can go round a corner, you also have to find out at what speed you can’t go round a corner! I don’t think there’s any point in having the legs if you don’t have the skills. I always try and mix in a bit of skills training when I’m riding because I think it’s worthwhile but also, simply because I enjoy it so much. I always grew up just mucking about on bikes and that is something which I’m glad I have never lost. Even out in the lanes I’ll be seeing how hard I can hit a descent, come flying past my mates sitting side saddle on the top tube, or flicking drinks cans with my front wheel.

Palu: How do you find the switch between track and road?

Euan: To be fair, I’ve never done much road, only really for training. I’ve been back racing for three years and have solely focussed on track because I love it so much, but I want to get into more road crits next year, Crystal Palace especially. I never really had the attention span for road racing. I can just about sustain my attention for a few hours in the lanes, but you’re not allowed to muck around as much in the bunch during a road race so I get bored.

Euan: Do you prefer velodrome or fixed gear crit racing?

Very tough question. I’ve always had a passion for track racing and loved the sensation you get from riding a fixed gear bike. To take that same bike and apply it to a different environment is such a perfect feeling. I’m glad that track bikes made their way onto a crit circuit, for me it’s quite a natural feeling. I guess just doing track racing can leave things a little stagnant; it was nice for a bit of freshness and a new challenge. I’m quite a tactical thinker so to give me something new to delve my mind into the intricacies is quite fun. Can’t beat the crowds at a Red Hook too. Milan especially.

Palu: Do you follow a particular diet for your training?              

Euan: Well apart from being vegetarian, nothing crazy strict or regimented, but I eat pretty healthily. Normally fruit or a smoothie, with oats and yoghurt when I wake up. 3-4 eggs for brunch. Big rice or pasta based dish for lunch and then something ‘normal’ for dinner. Main thing is to make sure I eat enough to be honest. I eat a lot and often to keep myself feeling fresh. As a rule of thumb, take the amount that normal people eat and double it! Will try not to eat anything big 2 hours before a race or hard session. Constant snacking whilst out in the lanes.

Palu: How does cycling help you tackle your health issues?

Euan: I love how cycling can offer you that bit of escapism away from the pressures and stresses of the rest of your life. In terms of your head, it’s life changing; it can make you feel so free and so calm. You can be so perfectly connected to what you’re doing, without having to worry about anything else. I’ve also spent the last 6 or so years recovering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I always feel like people who do such physical sports know their bodies so well. I think having this knowledge really helped. Also having the knowledge of how to structure and progressively build training, actually really helped to improve my health, nice and gradually. It’s something I still have to manage very well, but I think because of the things it has taught me, I may well now be a better racer than I would have been without it.
 
Palu: What do you love about Pinarello?

Euan: Love a bit of Italian class and style but without compromising on performance. Perfect balance of style and speed. Everyone loves a Pinarello, everyone stops and tells you they love your bike.

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Palu: What has been your most memorable race?

Euan: Probably the Last Chance Race at Redhook London 3, racing in the pissing rain in front of home support. Ended up there by accident to be honest, but actually revelled in the chance to get to race again. Was pretty worried at the start as to how I’d get on as I pretty much didn’t know anyone else I was racing against, really thought I’d struggle to be fair. It wasn’t long before I realised I was actually able to race the race instead of just riding round. Me and my mate Rees kept drilling the pace of the group until only the 10 qualifying riders remained in the front group. Then I had this crazy thought that I could actually win so dropped back a few places, ready to gun it on the long straight with half a lap to go. I got a big enough gap to sustain my lead through the more technical section. I remember as I kicked into the home straight that in road sprints, sprinters always move towards the middle of the road for the photographs, so that’s what I did. I popped my front wheel in the air as I crossed the line and everyone went nuts for it. All the kids I coach were there screaming for me and when I came back to the rider area all my friends mobbed me. It was a great feeling.

Palu: What are your plans for next season?

Euan: Definitely more crits for sure. More fixie crits in warmer and beautiful places but also get stuck into the local crit racing scene; Crystal Palace and the like, whilst keeping things ticking over at the velodrome.

Palu: What advice do you give to young riders getting into racing?

Euan: Get yourself some mates around you, it will make such a difference to your confidence and your drive. Starting racing when you’re new can be scary. If you’re turning up to races with some like-minded mates then you’re gonna be so much calmer. I’m quite a quiet person, but just have that confidence to say hello and strike up a conversation with someone. You’ll only need to do it once and the rest will flow. Cycling is such a social sport too. It’s one of the beautiful things about it. Make friends with people who are better than you too! Look up to them, learn from them, that’ll push you on.

Palu: What's your favourite thing about the London cycling scene?

Euan: The London cycling scene is probably the most diverse in the world. People ride every sort of bike, in every way imaginable. It’s such a broad spectrum, their truly is something for everyone. 

Palu: Grazie Euan, good luck at Red Hook!

Meet the Rider: Andrea Pasqualon

Harry Bunnell

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Our latest rider interview takes us into the pro peloton, with a rider who hails from Bassano del Grappa. Pro since 2011, Andrea Pasqualon currently rides with the Belgian team Wanty–Groupe Gobert. After strong results in the early season classics, we spoke to Andrea ahead of the Tour of Flanders.

Palu: How did you get into racing?

Andrea: I really wanted it. I’ve loved cycling since I was little, but I used it for keeping a good fitness during summer time while competing in winter Alpine skiing. The passion comes from my uncles who competed at fairly good Under 25 level. It’s thanks to them I was put on the saddle, but I also believe that my self-belief helped me to reach where I am now.

Palu: When did you realise that professional cycling could become your full time job?

Andrea: I realised that I would become a professional when I won Trofeo Piva (Col San Martino). It was 2010 and my team coach Gianni Faresin (former winner of Giro di Lombardia) said “do you realise that you just won one of the most important races of the season.. which means you’ve just put yourself in the frame for a pro team contract?” That was the day I knew I would become a pro rider!

Palu: Who is your sporting hero?

Andrea: Funnily enough, my biggest inspiring person does not relate to cycling, but my “ex” sport… he’s Alberto Tomba. I would compare him with Peter Sagan.. a bubbly person always with the right humour, not seriously methodical and precise. I like his style because he never don't takes it too seriously as some other riders in order to achieve results. They are full of charisma and I love to inspire myself  from these aspects. 

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Palu: What are your 2018 season goals?

Andrea: I’m looking for an important result at the North Classics this 2018. Ideally at Tour of Flanders or Amstel Gold Race which are very suitable for my best riding style and strength. I will focus at achieving a good Tour de France stage result on  fast or rolling course. Basically something that really counts for this ‘world of the pedal’!

Palu: Do you have any rituals when you race?

Andrea: I have a fairly big faith in God so 4-5 minutes of praying and thanking him for gifting me the life is something I usually do.. doesn’t take long and it’s a privilege to be lucky and able to enjoy it.

Palu: What’s your opinion about competing on disc bikes?

Andrea: To be honest I support the disc brake concept as long as every single rider uses it. I don't find it fair that half the peloton can have one type of performance and the other half cannot. This is something that spectators don’t notice but there is a timing difference between the two concepts.

Palu: Grazie Andrea, good luck at Flanders this weekend!