We caught up with Andy Tennant, professional road cyclists for Canyon Eisberg, who will be competing in this year’s OVO Energy Men’s Tour of Britain.
He discusses how his debut season has gone so far with the Canyon Eisberg team and how his preparation is going ahead of the Men’s Tour of Britain.
How has the season gone so far for the Canyon Eisberg team?
The season has been very successful for the team, in my debut season… definitely a progression from last year, which is great. One of the main aims at the start of the year was to win at the Tour Series and we’ve been able to achieve that! This was important for the Tour of Britain places and the rankings. We’ve been hit by quite a lot of bad luck this season, so it was really nice to secure the Tour of Britain place at Stockton.
We never thought we’d have won a stage at the Tour de Yorkshire: that was the cherry on top of everything which we have achieved this year; Harry being the first British rider to win a stage in what is becoming one of Britain’s biggest cycling races. It’s been a really successful season for Canyon Eisberg, and we hope that we can emulate it next year; but it will be difficult to top with what we have achieved so far.
It must been have great exposure for the team to get a stage win at the Tour de Yorkshire?
Yeah, the crowds are unbelievable: going up the Cow and Calf, it was absolutely rammed. People who have ridden the Tour were saying there’s more people here than the Tour de France, which is fantastic. It just shows that people want to watch it and want to be involved in bike racing when the big races are happening. Its great exposure for the team and it improves morale when going into future races.
Did you feel pressure going into the Stockton race, with this being the final qualifier before the Tour of Britain?
I felt a bit of pressure as there were a few crashes on the course, which made the race a bit easier because we lost 8 km of bike racing within that. I knew all of the scenarios of what we could and couldn’t do, and I knew I just had to beat team Wiggins. It wasn’t perfect, but we did the job.
How is preparation going ahead of the Tour of Britain?
Yeah it’s good so far. I had a bit of time away on a holiday training camp with the wife… I was out training and Lauren was laying in the sun, so that seemed to work well. I had the race at Leicester at the weekend, which was good, and I managed to sneak fourth, despite the crash, which shows that my training is going in the right direction before the Tour of Britain.
There are still a couple of weeks left, so I’m still keeping all of that work going in. We’ve got quite a lot of racing, which will take over a lot of the training. That’s it; really, we go from there and just hope for the best. Hope the legs are feeling good!
What do you look forward to the most ahead of major races such as the Tour of Britain and Tour de Yorkshire?
I enjoy all the big events: I guess the satisfaction comes from completing the challenge or completing the goal, like we did at the Tour Series. Once you’ve done it, though, you’re always looking ahead to the next thing. I suppose it’s been like that throughout my entire career with various performances I’ve done.
Satisfaction from myself and the team doing really well, it’s good for team spirit. I took a lot of pride and joy in Harry winning that Tour de Yorkshire stage. Even though I didn’t do that much, it’s great for the team and your spirit is lifted by that. It’s always nice to ride the big events when there are lots of people watching: it makes things more exciting and more fun.
Do you feel the pressure more during the big events?
Not as much on the road, compared to world track races, when your race can be over with one mistake… I don’t get as nervous. I was a bit nervous before Tour Series, not for myself, but because I knew how much it meant to the team.
I try not to think about the end results too much and just control what I can, which can make it easier to process: I try to break down everything logically rather rationally. Rather than concentrating on the romance of it, my brain works quite scientifically, which helps a lot.
It’s been quite a big year for UK cycling with Geraint Thomas winning the Tour de France. Do you see it growing over the next few years?
I’d like to think so, yeah: it seems to have gotten bigger and bigger each year since the Olympics and maybe it’s even gone backwards a bit this year from my side of things. It got so big after 2012: I still think it’s growing, but maybe it’s just tapering off slightly from where it was, which is the same with any sport. It’s never going to be as big as football, but it certainly seems to be a lot more accessible to people than golf.
Eisberg came in as title sponsors this year: how important is sponsorship at your level, especially for the teams?
It has a massive impact: as with sport and any industry, money makes the world go round. Without the sponsors we couldn’t do it… that’s the simple answer. We couldn’t afford to go to bike races; we couldn’t afford riders’ wages. Without them, the teams wouldn’t run and it’s that simple.
So, Eisberg coming on as title sponsor essentially saved the tem. Unfortunately, Bike Channel went into administration, which was our title sponsor at the time and which was massive in contributing to the budget. Eisberg came in and stepped up as much as they could and kept us afloat. Look at how successful we have been: definitely one of the most successful teams in the UK. When you compare our budget to other teams, we’ve achieved a lot. That’s all credit to the team: we have great spirit and make a little money go a long way.
We wish Andy and all of the Canyon Eisberg the very best of luck for the Tour of Britain.
You can stay up to date with their progress by following the team on Twitter: @CanyonEisberg