UCI World Cup Finals | The GMBN Podcast Episode 19

– Hello, and welcome to the GMBN Podcast. Now, we had a fantastic weekend of racing. A weekend so good that it had you feeling as if you now had a true understanding of what the very edge of
your seat is indeed made for. The non-end of season
World Champs threatened, to steal the jam out
of the climax’s donut. But we were not disappointed. Tracey Hannah’s deserved overall
win, was a joy to behold. And I can personally attest
to just how dedicated she is. Loic Bruni, replicated
a feat seldom achieved as he claimed the double. The release of pressure was
so tangible and so great, it could’ve indeed
contribute to the beginnings of an explanation to the
extreme fronts of weather the U.S is experiencing at the moment. The tension between Bruni
and Pierron was thicker than the aforementioned
world champ’s eyebrows. Just don’t let Brendan Fairclough hear, as I hear, he’s a dab
hand with the clippers. In the cross-country,
Kate Courtney made good on her early season form
and managed to bring it home much to the delight of the American fans. With all due respect, I regret to inform to those listening, our
friends across the pond, that if I hear another
USA chant, I will probably take a long walk off a short pier. I can only imagine what it must be like to carry that weight of expectation. Personally, I struggle
to stick to dinner plans. How these athletes manage to
cope with all that pressure, whilst also being
unwavering in their quest to be on the limit for a
season, is amazing to me. Some even manage to do it
for their entire careers. Nino Schurter seemed to
almost be enjoying himself, if you can enjoy turning
your lungs to pate at one and half thousand meters
elevation above sea level. Maybe he didn’t enjoy
the puncture so much, but he did seem to revel
in bringing back Avancini, with the rumored discontent
between the pair, distilling into something
like satisfaction, as he reeled him in
like famished fisherman. Second on the date, his
powerhouse teammate Lars Forster, but Nino had already
taken care of the overall. I have Oli Beckingsale here with me, and I’m fascinated to hear about his insight on
cross-country, team politics and all around budgie smuggling. I hear the U.S customs
is an absolute nightmare. But first, the downhill. – Amazing. – Amazing, it was absolutely fantastic. I mean, I don’t know
who I feel happier for, for Tracey or for Loic, but
they both seemed to really be desperate for it, and
really really want it. – I mean it’s great, I think
cross-country and downhill, that sometimes you have, they’ve
mixed it around some years, sometimes you’ve had
the final cross-country after the World’s, sometimes
you’ve had it before. And I think there’s risk, if
you have it after the World’s, there can be a real risk of it being a bit of a flat weekend. If the overall’s already,
decided everyone’s done, the World’s is the biggest race. Everyone’s peaked mentally
and in the following week, everyone just goes through the motions. But having most of the
overalls in the big races still up for grabs and
in the U.S World Cup, which is a good addition to see. I think it made a fantastic race, downhill and cross-country. – And do you think it
was, I mean Loic Bruni, is almost so calculated in
his approach to world champs, I dunno if it’s a French
downhiller’s thing, but Nico Vouilloz used to be the same. But we almost saw him
slightly rattled maybe, I don’t think we saw the same
Loic that we saw last weekend, in terms of his, he didn’t
seem to just be like, “Right, this is it, I’ve got to do it.” But even at that bottom
he looked quite frenzied to say that he hadn’t
got the run he wanted. – I think for those guys,
I’m not a downhill racer, I’m a cross-country guy, but
I think cross-country’s easier when you’re racing for an overall title. – [Steve] Yes, possible yeah. – Because you’re going head to head. And you can see where your
competitors at, is it good, is it bad, you can calculate
the points as you go. So you know, right I’ve got
to do him by two places, you can actually structure
your whole race around that. Downhill guys, no chance. They’re not getting phased,
they’re just doing their race. Okay, I’ve got to finish
top three, for example. But actually, do I back off a bit. So they’ve got a lot more going on about how to push, how to hold back. So I think their race for overall is so much pressure, so much conflict. Cross-country guys have an
easy time to set it out. – Yes, and also I suppose
in the cross-country, well, Nino Schurter, as an
example, you can puncture and still get scores– – [Oli] You’ve got time. – You’ve got time, it
can all work its way out. – Those guys, I mean they’re so close, one mistake and they are
done, they’re out of top 10. And literally they’re going down, and so many sections
look pretty gnarly to me. As an armchair fan at home, it scared me. And you know, one mistake,
one clip out and they’re done. – Yeah, and I think, you
know, credit to Snowshoe, being a new venue on the World Cup, I think there’s almost
approach with a bit of, sometimes I think,
cynicism, people are like, “Aw, you know, just bring
back Champery, god you know, “get it done with.” But actually it was a fantastic venue, I think Danny Hart said in
his interview afterwards that he was walking the track
and not really feeling it, but when he rode it, it
certainly made a lot of sense. Some of those feature though, looked, just jumps that, not only
incredibly technical and demanding in terms of timing, but also speed, that one that people were
overshooting in practice. – Yeah I mean, you saw it
from the same camera angle I saw it from, from the backside, and you probably couldn’t
get how big it was. Or how close the trees were coming, I think, but yeah, as an armchair fan, I was blown away by it,
some amazing racing. – Yeah and I am personally,
having worked with Tracey when I was at Polygon,
just so happy for her. She is, you can get the
idea just talking to her, she just has that kind
of intensity about her. But just, how much she wanted it. She knows, loads of
sacrifices and everything is so input, output, I got to
put the inputs in correctly. And I was kind of worried,
watching her come down she was up at the first
splits and then falling back and honestly the anxiety was– – Yeah, I think she got
a bit tight didn’t she, she started to be worried
in that midsection, and then lost a bit of
time, but got it done. – Which is someways made
Snowshoe the perfect venue for the last race of the season. Because is did have that,
the closer to the end you got, seemingly, the more
places you could snag a puddle. – But I think in overall, when somebody wins an overall series. The World’s is the biggest
race, I think everyone would say if you’re going to win
one, you win the World’s, but in terms of a, getting
it right team wise as well. Team, bike, everything’s got to be done good from March through to September. – Yes. – So I think it’s a bigger achievement. – Yeah, I agree. – You got to stay up, you got
to stay upright every week, you got to stay injury free,
the bike’s got to be dialed, so there’s more pressure on the mechanics, there’s more pressure
on the bike suppliers. Yeah, I think it’s a big one. And you can see how much it
meant to her couldn’t you. – Oh my god, I think there
was such a lovely sense of redemption when you saw
Mick congratulating Tracey in the finish area, after only
a few years ago in Cairns, when they were both consoling each other, and there was a nice full circle approach. – Yeah it’s nice, you
see family member there and yeah, it was cool, both races, it was good emotion at the finish. – Yeah totally, and I think Marine Cabirou will probably go into next season as maybe the kind of marked– – Yeah she was something else. That big double at the backend, she cleared that one, I
mean it’s nuts to be able, I mean that was cool where the splits are, where they got more splits these days, and they’re so accurate now to be down. And then almost one double
gets you two seconds up, ’cause you can carry the
momentum into the bottom end. But yeah, that’s pretty cool. – I don’t know if it’s a
narrative device to build tension on the livestream of that, the indicator that
always seems to be wrong, you know, going down the left hand side. It just builds tension, oh my
god, they’re 20 seconds back, oh no, they’re not. – Yeah but you have to think
like, the split side of it, the tension building up. My daughter’s 10, she’s
not a mountain biker, so when we were watching it
last night, “What you watching?” I said, “I’ve got five to go.” And she was like, “All right.” and she sat down, she was into it. And then when Danny went to
the end, she was captivated, and that’s a 10 year old girl
who’s not a mountain biker as such, who straight away,
because of the splits, the tension, was into it,
I think that’s pretty cool. – And it’s funny how I
watched the Stevie Smith one when he had that showdown
with Gee at the Leogang a couple of years ago,
maybe five years ago. And there’s a lot of things to take away from the differences and how
much this sport has changed. But not least, the number
of spectators on the course. It’s the same, you watch,
we’re talking the other week, I was watching some old ones, yet again, even from five, six years ago. And now it’s like three
people deep the whole way. – Yeah, yeah, yeah. – And it wasn’t that before,
and I think some things like atmosphere and stuff, it’s not some, I’m going to sound a bit arty farty here, but it’s not some, digital
thing you can put numbers on, but it’s amazing how it
builds and it transcends as you watch it as a spectator. – I think if anyone’s
been to Fort William, that’s ahead of the game with fans and everyone gets a lift
up, walks their way down and then that tension’s building and then the fans at
the bottom are building. And then when it comes
down, and I was lucky enough to be at the bottom at
the first time Peaty won, in that kind of cauldron at
the bottom of Fort William. – Oh wow, yeah, yeah, yeah. – That was bonkers, you know,
there is clips out there and stuff, but you can’t
beat that at sport. – [Steve] Yep. – That’s not just cycling,
whether you’re into it or not, doesn’t matter who you
are, if you’re in that bit, that’s proper sport. – And I always think as well, when you get the Premier
League footballers who go from scoring in
front of 40,000 people week in and week out, and they retire, how they must acclimatize to
not getting that amazing hit, because it is like a, even
as a spectator you get it, but imagine being what Loic went through, that tension release, must be like a drug, it must be an absolutely
remarkable sensation. – Yeah, I think that’s right yeah. We could do a whole podcast
on it, but lots of sports people struggle to stop,
and actually they go into a bit of a bad place for a while, if you’re used to doing
that every other week, walking around Sainsbury’s on a Sunday probably doesn’t quite cut it. – And I would speak on
behalf of the people that struggled to start. (laughs) – [Oli] Yeah, yeah. – But the cross-country
race was also fantastic. – Unbelievable, yeah. – I mean, it was just, I
think, you were speaking about the overall, and one thing
that world champs doesn’t have is the numbers game. We saw it with, where Neff was sitting and where Courtney was sitting. And then something like,
Rissveds having a puncture, you just, think, “Oh my god,
could this change the overall, “could there be a place in it.” – And it was a really different
circuit for cross-country compared to the others,
some people would say that it wasn’t the best circuit, it was a bit fast and a
bit short, but I like it, and it was different. So you’ve got some races, I
think that’s the nice thing with different circuits,
probably more so in cross-country than downhill, is you’ve
got, some that are hillier, some that are faster. I mean we used to race, when I was racing, we used to have a race in Madrid. the World Cup in a park,
it’s like being in Hyde park, a bigger version of that. Dead flat, dead fast, it
was all based off one ridge, but mental, going round,
big groups, big speed, drifting out, massive crowd,
but it was nice to have that one round and then the next week your in Liege or someplace. And that’s why it was good to
see big groups going around. And it’s slightly different,
it suits different riders. So you get a different mix up of people, some people are better
off following a wheel and being in pain the whole time, more of a cyclo-cross type race. And some people are better off
at big climbs, big descents. But yeah, I mean it’s cool, women’s race went off really fast,
and obviously you had Neff and Courtney that were
battling for the overall. They both started to
give each other a kicking on laps one and two. And as result, both suffered. You saw Neff almost come to a halt. And she recovered really
well, but she did herself in in the first couple of
laps, I don’t know whether she felt great on the start
and didn’t pace it well, or just wasn’t feeling good
and hoped for the best. – And do you think, I mean
1500 meters above sea level, is a fair chunk, is that enough– – Yeah, it’s just enough. – You often hear people
say, over 2000 meters. – Exactly, yeah so
2000, you know about it, you instantly, if you make a big effort and go into the red, you suffer. 1500 is like, in Val di Sole it’s similar, it’s just enough to take the edge off. So some people are
better in it than others, some people really feel 1500, some people, doesn’t touch the sides. But I think those guys, if you overexert and you do a bad lap, it
does take longer to recover. You can’t just go, “Oh, I got that wrong, “I’ll be 20 seconds slower the next lap.” You’ll be a minute,
and we saw Nev do that. – And when you have something
like Andorra for instance, they have a good build up to them, but with World Champs there last week, I suppose, their preparation would’ve been completely compromised, if
not at least interrupted, – Yeah they all rock up.
– Based on altitude. – Yeah so going to medium
altitude like that, like with no altitude prep at all, yeah, the guys, it’s a
bit of cross your fingers, hope for the best, really. But you;ve got to ride
just that bit smarter. And not make herculean efforts, ’cause you’re not going
to recover from that. And then we saw Neff, obviously
struggled, she went out, that put Courtney in the
driving seat for the overall. And then she was having
a hard day, she dug, she swung off, there was five or six guys, she was swinging off
the back of that group, pulling faces the whole race. I mean she’s tough. – Because here’s the thing,
I think in road cycling, there’s a guy called Tommy Voeckler famous for the rubber face. – Yeah, yeah. – I think probably, if I
had that many spectators, willing me on so much, I
think I would be rubber-facing to my heart’s content. As a racer, do you think you’d do it? – I think it was an advantage for her, that Courtney had that group. And she wasn’t going, so
Neff, got it wrong wrong, went too fast and then went
slow, and had to recover. Courtney road a better race
but was just struggling, but she just had that group. It was like she was on a
bungee cord the whole race, and mentally she had
something to hang onto. – Yes that make a lot of sense. – I think if it was a hillier
course, like in Andorra, she would’ve had an even tougher day, because then you haven’t
got that motivation to cling on to. And then at the front obviously, they’re having a right tear up. – And wasn’t it strange, you
know, similar in road cycling, it’s weird when you see Peter
Sagan in his work’s jersey. And it was weird to see Kate Courtney not in the star spangled stripes, and also not in a world champ’s
jersey, just seeing her– – Yeah, took me a while
to work out who was who. – Yeah, it looked quite peculiar. Because with your teams
and with nationalities, how much does that play? I just saw Woodruff looking
behind her shoulder a lot, do you think that she would’ve compromised her race for Kate Courtney? – Yeah, it can be a really
mix up, so you get some, obviously a team’s supposed
to look after each other, and there’s a team overall
that they’re all fighting for. But actually, if it’s contract season and you haven’t got on with somebody, you might actually hope
to give your teammate a bit of a kick in, possibly. – Yeah, I reckon you would, yeah. – You could be really good
mates with a compatriot, but actually, if you spend
every national series and every national
championships racing with them, there could be a bit of a grudge match. ‘Cause you could’ve
been going head to head. So you might get on with a
compatriot or you could not. But when it’s a faster race like that, there’s definitely alliances
within teams or teammates or just mates, just like
you would in a road race. – [Steve] Yes, that’s what I mean, yeah. – And at that sort of
speed, the drafting effect. – Does the drafting effect,
make any difference? – Yes, at that speed for sure. – At that speed, ’cause when you’re coming through the finish straight,
I imagine it would. But when you see, ’cause
I was just watching it, and in the men’s race where Nino Schurter, essentially, had a
mechanical, went back into it, and he fell into the
group, fell into the lap of Avancini’s teammates. But wouldn’t somebody
sitting right in your wheel, but would that be a
distraction for you as racer or would it be encouragement, you know? – Yeah, so you saw it a couple of times, it only happened one or two bits. So obviously he went at the
front, shoot a puncture, then in the group. And you saw Avancini’s teammate Marotte, go into the front before a single track. And he rode fast enough to
not be a complete idiot, but he didn’t try as hard as he could. And that would’ve given
Avancini another three seconds, and there was a bit of that going on. Schurter then realized, he
just had to do it himself. And just gust it. – And it was an amazing
attempt, you could almost… And obviously all these
guys are motivated, I’m not reducing anyone,
saying anyone’s unmotivated, but Nino Schurter seemed to have, I wonder if the puncture kind
of fired him up even more so. – I think it does yeah, I
think when you have that. It still amazes me, those
guys are pretty ice cool, you know they come in to get a flat tire, you’re supposed to leave
it to your mechanics, but to sit there looking like
there’s nothing going wrong, have a little drink,
while chaos is happening and get going again. The worst thing is you
can actually come out and be going too hard
instead of that altitude where you want to not go into the red. You get back on your bike
and all you want to do is tear the cranks off. And actually you have to
just get back in your rhythm, not overexert and he
did a really good job, he got back into the group and
you saw him sitting for a lap just to get himself
back in the right place. And then he went for it. And then he got some help
off Tempier, the French guy, he was riding really strong
and that helped a little bit. But yeah, the other
teammates, you definitely saw they were getting in the way a little bit. – Yeah, and do you think… I always think, talking
about this slipstreaming. – [Oli] Yeah. – When people are going up a climb, it mustn’t really make no different. Is is just, do you get it on the descent? – In terms of that aerodynamics,
below kind of 10 mile an hour it’s legible, especially
on a mountain bike. But on that course there was
quite a lot of parts before, and it ramps it up. So you got those long
forest road stretches, and those guys would’ve been doing, close to 22, 23 miles an hour. So at that point, yeah, you’re in a bunch and that’s why you kept seeing
it bunching it up again, where it’s guys not wanting to commit. There was a really good
one, we used to race the old Fort William course,
and it was like a triangle, so it was generally, one big
climb up, one big descent back and then you had a big forest
road to get back to the arena. And on the forest road
it was always like that, you could get back on, as
long as you were close enough at the top of the descent, you get down and then nobody wanted to be the one pushing on the forest road. And then you get back into a group. So the first couple of
laps at Fort William, I remember one year, I was riding okay and we had 20 guys after that one, and it was the forest road
where it all kept regrouping. There’s a scrap then for the
first bit of single track, and you basically repeat that. And everyone’s scrapping to
get into the right place. The front guys, you know,
Schurter wanted to be up front. – And we did kind of see
that on the first lap, but a bit more tactical,
because I read a statistic that the women’s short track laps, opening laps, were faster than the men’s. That much into the tactic and
being in the right position. As I personally, I think short track’s been quite successful class induction. – It’s been a really good addition, yeah. – Do you think you’d
have enjoyed racing it? – Yeah, I think with mountain bike they’ve been struggling for a while. Obviously, downhill’s got a qualifier, which I think is a really cool thing, it makes the weekend longer,
gives sponsors more coverage, better for the fans that
are coming for the weekend. And cross-country’s been trying to find us a qualifier for a long time. There was years ago, I’m going
to sound like an old guy, but way back, we used to
have to do a time trial lap. – Ooh no. – A whole lap, one at a time.
– Oh no, no, no. – Yeah, absolutely savage. – I mean it sounds horrible. – To grid you for the Sunday. So you did it on a Friday
to grid for a Sunday. That didn’t quite work, because
it was too out of control. So if you had a mechanical,
you were way behind. So they’ve come up with this thing and I think they’ve got it right now. It’s had a couple of seasons running now and it’s that top 30 race it. And actually you’re saved. A lot of teams have got to,
mountain bike mechanicals are commonplace, you don’t want that guy who’s leading the overall
to have to lineup 120th and ruin his race. So this top 30 thing works,
to have this kind of shootout. And having this short race Friday night, you get some really good feedback that people are coming
back and quite enjoying it. – It’s a kind of a, I
suppose, not to disparage four-cross at all, but it kind
of finally fills the boots. – [Oli] Yeah it does, yeah. – In a way, that perhaps
was kind of lacking, ’cause I think the
problem with four-cross, it was like, when it was
almost ground relaxing, not that high consequence. But to say to a downhill rider, “I want you to do a race on a Friday.” Is incredibly dangerous,
you could fall off and not be your fault,
and you could write off a season is ludicrous. – [Oli] They’re not going to get involved. – Yeah, they’re not
going to be interested. – No, this one, it’s a cool little format, the racing’s good, doesn’t
need to be overcomplicated as a circuit, so as an
organizer they haven’t got to create a four-cross circuit. – [Steve] Yes of course, yeah. – They can just literally
bodge it together a bit. And yeah, it works really
well, close racing, Friday night, it’s not
a hard enough effort that all the riders, you can absorb that into your training
plan for the weekend, so that’s not a problem. But yeah, I think it’s
working really well, couple of big jumps
that they can include in and yeah, I think it’s a success. Be interesting to see, I don’t
know whether it’ll end up being another Olympic discipline
for cross-country guys. ‘Cause you know, they’ve
got an issue with Olympics, of getting, they can’t
have any more people, ’cause the Olympics is full, but you can get the same
people doing more events. – Oh yes, yeah. – So swimming, you know– – Yeah, add another one. – Add another one, as long as
it’s the same group of guys, and no more people and no more beds. It’d be interesting, I don’t
know what the plans are, that’s another question for– – And speaking of the Olympics, you head early on in the
season, Mathieu van der Poel, prioritizing Tokyo, I mean
surely a few weekends racing, some bacon sandwiches and a can of lager isn’t going to hurt this far out. – Yeah, so his big thing
was, I mean he’s exceeded his expectations on the road this year. So he won a Amstel Gold, for the guys who don’t know road that’s
about as big as it gets. – But he also was his own
lead out man for that sprint. Which was incredible, the
watts I think he was on was just horrific. – Yeah, so he’s won Cyclo-Cross World’s. I mean when you look at him as an athlete, no one’s ever done it before. He’s won Cyclo-cross World’s. He then wins a World Cup
at the biggest level. And then he wins a
Mountain Bike World Cup. It’s just bonkers. His plan was always to do Tokyo, and I think that’s his best
chance of an Olympic gold, and then I thought, he’d
then go on the road, but because he’s done so
well on the road this year, he wanted get, so he’s missed
the Mountain Bike World’s to do the Road World’s in Yorkshire. So that’s in two weeks time. So he’s now doing, he’s actually doing the Tour of Britain road race, so that’s what he’s doing at the moment. So he could’ve done mountain
bike, mountain bike, and then just rocked
up to the Road World’s. But he’s got a chance of winning the Road World Championships,
so he’s decided, right, I need six weeks, or seven weeks. So he did the last World
Cup, the previous one and then he’s had a road program. – And do you think that will kind of, Nino Schurter is clearly a driven and uncompromising athlete, do you think it would
kind of irk him somewhat, to not be able to beat Mathieu
van der Poel on the track. – Yeah I think he’d want
him to be at every race. – He’d want him to be there. – Yeah, he’s too much of a competitor. – Do you think that that
will, I would a imagine… It would affect you mentally,
as Nino now builds up for this really important Tokyo year. And he’s basically, in
terms of world champs and one day racing, well I
suppose world cups as well, he has been just the story
of the decade really, he’s been absolutely fantastic. Do you think he will be
going into winter thinking, “Oof, I wonder what Mathieu
van der Poel would’ve done?” – So yeah, the advantage he’s got though, is he’s only thinking of one thing. van der Poel at the moment
has managed to combine cross, road and mountain bike. But that’s a risk, he’s doing something that can’t be done, basically. And he’s doing it, but at some point, it’s not the best way of doing it. If he just did one, he would
surely be better at that one. Even if it’s a few percent,
but that few percent can be, so next year he’s going
to do more road again, he’s going to do less cross in the winter, but he’s still racing
cyclo-cross in the winter. So he’s trying to spin a lot of plates, and Nino’s just got one plate to spin. – Yeah, and then with
them in terms of build up and training, I think we
saw in both the downhill and the cross-country
with Prevot and Nicole, very bad starts to the season. But they brought it back. Do you think that racing
is the best training? Do you think you can replicate it at home? – No.
– And in Zwift? – No, no, I mean you have to race, you got to be fit enough to do
it, but you can’t beat racing. – I mean Zwift’s now, at Eurobike they had it with the steering. – I saw that, yeah. – So I mean, it’s great
and that is no reason to ride bikes outside, it’s
just all online. (laughs) – Exactly, a little rumble strip as well. – Yeah, totally. – Yeah, we’re cool, but I
think you can do so much, but just think that, what
racing does is it pulls you out, when you think you’re done,
you’re up to go that next bit. And when you’re training,
you can train to your numbers and be on your power meter
or on your turbo or whatever, but nobody then comes in
at the last 10 seconds of your interval and
sticks a half wheel on you, then you have to go again. That’s why a lot of
cross-country is, you struggle to recover from it, so
it’s hard to build form through cross-country
racing, you need some, but if you do too much,
it’s too fatiguing. But that’s why a lot
of cross-country riders will race on the road, so
you can get that racing and that physical effort,
but without the beating. So you can’t beat
racing, you got to do it. – And do you ride in
that sort of sequence, thinking of Avancini out in the front, you seem to have it fall into
his lap, this potential win. – He would’ve preferred Schurter
to stay with him I think. – Yeah, and do you think that, would he have been off the power meter. As a racer do you– – Quite a lot of those guys
are still running power now, but I would guess, they’re
not using it so much when they’re in the race. It’s more of a research afterwards. – Yeah, I suppose, it’s
probably a limited use to you, if you’re being overtaken
and you’re shouting, “But I’m doing 500 watts, I’ve
been doing it for minutes, “it doesn’t make sense!” But if you’re dropped, you’re dropped. – Before power meters, we
used have heart rate monitors, and you’d have a look at it afterwards. But when you’re doing it, you’re doing it. In that race you’re either, and you’re doing it so many
years and so many times, you’ve got a sense of pacing. And you know whether you are,
whether the pace you’re on is achievable for your
hour and a half or not. And sometimes you mess it up,
but normally you’re alright. I reckon a long climb you could, so say it was an Andorra sort of race, with the big long climbs, I think then you can have a look at it. But something like the race on the weekend where it’s so intense, forest
tracks, little kicks up, little descents, you just
got to rev and rip I think. – Yeah, totally and I
think with that sort of, that culture of, this is what
I have to do to stay with it, I think actually that’s
kind of more coming over to downhill. I feel now we’ve got a crop of racers, your Brunis, your Pierrons,
and as you said at the top, you’ve got to do a 403,
they could almost do it, do you know what I mean,
like, they seem to be. I remember hearing an interview with Loic after I believe, it was Andorra, and he heard the time at the top, because the pits were at the top there. And he had a TV and a speaker,
and he just said to himself, and kind of to paraphrase him, he said, “Well I’m just going to have to be scared, “because that’s the time
I’ve got to do now.” – Yeah, they know where those
bits are if they need it. – Yeah, and I’d love to see
if there’s way we could get, there’s a lot of telemetry
and things going on downhill, I would love to see if we
could get more metrics. I think it could be really
useful, and as a mechanic, I mean stuff like that is,
they call it puzzling now, which is a bit of buzzword,
but it’s so satisfying, sitting at the bottom of a
gondola with a cup of tea and maybe a breakfast
muffin, and being like, they go do a one, you think,
“This is what need to be done.” And then you think they need a wet balance and all that sort of thing. And I suppose it’s moving
away from just feel, now we do have all these new
metrics and this telemetry, although, enormously expensive. Do you think there’s a place for telemetry on cross-country bikes? – Well I know guys are doing more testing. I’m away from the cross-country scene now, but we were starting to
do, I’ve stopped racing probably seven years ago, but just then we were starting to do more. So we had timing sections,
not so much on the bike, but more small timing posts. So you had a watch which
you could posts on lap– – Three lap or something. – Yeah, yeah, and little
pods down the course, so you could even work out
speed in and out of a section. You’ve got power meters on
bikes for cross-country, and it’s trying to work out, so a lot more research onto tires. But mountain biking’s
traditionally really difficult, because of the changing
conditions, you know? So it was when I was on the national team, you’re looking at trying to
develop kit for mountain bikes, compared to someone trying to develop kit for track riding in the velodrome. Now a velodrome on one day
is going to be pretty similar on another day, and you can
even adjust for air pressure and work out the equation. What you can’t work out is well,
that route was a little bit wetter that day, and the
dirt’s a little bit stickier, it’s a hard one to do. – Do you not find it
strange and this is maybe, I think it’s probably more indicative of funds in mountain biking
and the available resources. But say at the top of a
Downhill World Cup run, or indeed a cross-country run. We look at trend patterns, in terms of how they
all penetrate the dirt and if they will clog up,
that’s kind of largely it. Or how they’ll basically
grip to the terrain. But providing those two
criteria are satisfied, we’re on the same compound in
the wet as we do in the dry. Doesn’t that smack of like a bit of, they wouldn’t do that in Formula One. They wouldn’t be like, “oh,
bloody good in the dry that, “yeah, the tire’s not going to
clog up, it’ll be all right.” You know, like when Aaron
Gwin, and I was speaking to Chris Porter and he made the point, the fact that Aaron Gwin
a couple of years ago at Mont-Saint-Anne, could
inside those last turns in a deluge of rain, but
it’s probably the tires aren’t soft enough in the dry
then, do you know what I mean? – Yeah, yeah. – It’s a really, say again, I’m not saying we have different, I
think it would be cool to have different compounds in both. – Well I one year, I’m
not naming the sponsor, but we had one year– – Oh, I love the scoops, under the bus! – We had one year where we
had, they sponsored the team, but they weren’t really
investing in mountain bike tires, and we had cheaper tires to run with. So instead of running the better compound, what would retail at kind of 60 quid, we were running tires,
racing on world cups on tires that were probably
retailing at about 35 quid. And they were all right,
but you get anywhere near any rocks, oh my god. – I can believe it, yeah. – Yeah, we’ve all ridden a
crappy mountain bike tire, but the difference was night and day. And that was just over tire quality, never mind then getting the best tires, and having a different trip on brands. – Yeah, and I would love to
see, this is probably just me and it’s not necessarily
a serious suggestion, but the way the world cups is going, they’re kind of looking
at reducing the field, the size of the field in downhill. And you know, making it kind
of more spectator friendly et cetera, et cetera. And I would love it see
to get to a point where, maybe, and this isn’t
necessarily a serious suggestion, but maybe there was say,
50 to 60 world cup riders. And the series, they say,
you just face the series, because why would you race anything else, there are 11 rounds. And this is the series tire sponsor. Because I think you can
have a fantastic bike and you can have fantastic geometry and the best suspension technician. But if your tires don’t grip,
and there are some companies, like you said, there are
some companies that sadly don’t make very good tires
and they sponsor teams. – Yeah in certain conditions,
I wasn’t competitive. – Yeah, yeah, oh I can believe it. And you see so many, if you
look at the tread patterns as opposed to what it says on the side, teams are constantly having to black out, and it’s a very difficult relationship with the tire sponsor then. I think it’d be so nice to see, this is the series tire sponsor, everyone gets a fair share of the money, depending on where your
standings are roughly. And this is the tires, ’cause
then people will be like, “Oh okay, well that’s wonderful.” You know what I mean? It would kind of be, I
just think, like you said, you could get the best
bike with the best rider, put them on some bad
tires and everything else, all the other inputs are playing catch-up to the bad information being fed back to the ride up on the tire. Because if you’re tire
doesn’t grip, what can you do? – Be interesting. – And I heard, and I would
love to try, but I never did, it was something on my
to do list, with RC tires and softening compounds,
’cause for those little things they put stuff on to
grade the rubber slightly. And I think, I know this
probably isn’t an environmentally nice view to to have,
but for a downhill tire, you should only get five runs out of it, for a world cup climb,
it should be that soft, it shouldn’t be like, oof, this
isn’t even consumer friendly we’ve made you something
a bit extra special here, because it won’t last. And I know there’s a lot
of things about support. I heard a few years ago, it’s
actually quite a big brand, went to a new compound, and
all the racers were having to run the harder compound,
which was the cheap one, because they have so much flex in the chassis of the
tire, on the side knobs. So it’s probably not as
simple as I’m making out. – I mean it wasn’t so long ago, it was only a couple
of years ago, but Nino, well the SCOTT team and
Nino were running tubular. – Oh yes, yes. – So they were running tubular,
so stick on the rim tires, on a high end road bike, they
were still running those, that wasn’t only up until a few years ago, when he swapped over and
Maxxis became involved with those guys, but
they were using tubular. And those tires are,
the advantage of those is they’re so soft or pliable. So there is silk casing, and
they’ll absorb around anything. But that was specific
rims, specific tires. Changing a tire is not
an option, they turn up with a van full of wheels
and that’s really full on. – Yeah, we used to glue
the tires onto the rim, which meant that the rim was sadly toast. – Yeah, I’ve heard of that one. – Well you can get it off eventually but– – I head Danny Hart coming
down and they literally, they’ve gone and taken a rim,
rebuilding rims every lap at Fort William, because
the tires are glued on, and he’s just denting rims. – Yep, that’s just how it is. – Just a pile of empty rims
at the end of the weekend. – Yes, totally. And do you think with this
whole, I mean a fad wouldn’t be, a fashion of tire inserts,
would you be interested in taking a slight weight penalty. – Yeah I heard of some
people running over, I think I saw it was a bike analysis with Kate Courtney’s bike and she was running one in the back. – Oh, really? – In Mont-Saint-Anne at the World’s. Don’t know if Nino is
running one, I don’t know but some who might help,
might know about that one. Yeah, but running an insert in the back, just to take the edge of I think, ’cause they were trying to run, those guys in particular are running wider tires this year than average. – And low pressure I’ve heard as well. – Really low pressures,
you know, 16, 17 PSI. – That’s basically just coughing
through the valve I think. – Yeah. – Just putting an insert back in. – Yeah, and 2.3, 2.4
tires, which you know, is really wide for XC, I
mean XC is generally running off 2 inch, then 2.2
got a bit more popular, and they’ve gone another notch. And they’ve both won the
world cup, so you know. – But there is a lot
more data with this now and coming from the roadside
and the footprint of the tire, and whether you want it
to be long and parallel to direction of travel or
wider and sort of stouter, and you know, which is
actually faster rolling. But coming back to what
you said, I wonder, there must be so many variables, I wonder if you say to mister,
how ever many world champs he’s won now, Nino Schurter,
“We’ve got the data, “this tire’s quicker.” If he’s like, “Oh no, I don’t– – He invests in his equipment,
he’s on it that boy. Yeah so he’ll know, he
doesn’t run a drop or post at the moment, that he’s worked that out. He hasn’t just made a call on that one. He’ll know the facts by now. – In that SCOTT-SRAM team. – Yes? – I mean is dominance a fair
word, they didn’t just enough, they didn’t win UCI Team Ranking. – No, so Cannondale got that one. – [Steve] Cannondale. – And it was close.
– It was close. – So hence why that was
another aspect of the weekend, we saw the final group had, two SCOTTs. So the team race for the cross-country, is your top three riders from your team added together for each
race, and then overall. And then in that last lap,
there was three Cannondale’s, two SCOTTs, and the manager’s
son Thomas Frischknecht who is a complete legend, his
son Andri rides for the team, he was the third counter,
who wasn’t having, he was having still a
good day but not the best, he was sitting at about 20th. – Yeah, no pocket money for him. – Not this week. – But he still did a good ride,
but he’s the third counter. And then Cannondale had all
three guys in that front group, so they smashed the overall there. Which is a big award. – Yeah, totally, I think it
would definitely go some way to substantiate claims
about bike performance, when they say, “Oh, you
know, you only want a lefty.” Look. (laughs) – Well it’s only world
cup overall I ever won was part of a team, so
I’ll tell ’em take it. (both laugh) – Because something I was thinking about, actually I was thinking
about it in World Champs. And they were talking
about French dominance. The cross-country women’s,
the cross-country downhill in terms of– – And men’s, don’t just go too long ago, you had Julien Absalon,
who still got the one up on Schurter on the
number of world cups run. – But just in terms of that nation thing and looking at the field
of play as is currently, and I would say yes, there
is a French dominance. However, the other common
denominator with those athletes is they’re Red Bull athletes. – Yes. – If we talked about Red Bull as a nation, which I’m doing very
tentatively, but you know I mean. – Yeah so Lars Forster,
he was a Red Bull athlete, so he won, he’s a SCOTT rider that won the Cross-Country World Cup. They won both cross-country’s,
the women’s overall, the men’s overall. – Because do you think there’s, do you think that’s a case
of them being big enough to buy the best talent. I remember when a couple of years a go, there was a real emphasis
on getting young guys, signing people when they
were still in juniors and developing them, but now maybe, Martin Maes would be an example, though he is still very young. He’s obviously had a
huge amount of acclaim. Before that Richie Rude. You know just put them ahead. – Yeah, ’cause I knew bits and bobs, and I think, they certainly
used to put quite a lot into the background of it, so
if you were a Red Bull athlete you had access to psychologists, strength training, et cetera. But that was available as well wasn’t it to try and help you just
get the cash in the helmet, you’ve got some extra support. I don’t know what the current
deal is with those guys, but they do seem to be now just going, “Right, he’s winning.” – I know they have
houses around the place, like in various resort towns and stuff, and you get free, you might have to live with some rag tag bmxer,
who just wants to do ollies and kick flips, whatever, but you do get free accomodation. So you can go to say,
Queenstown or wherever. – Yeah, so you’re accessing
the support network with those guys, yeah. – Because the other thing I suppose, and this is a bit of a
kind of gossipy sort of, but I have heard of people being said, by say Red Bull to Monster, or vice versa, “You don’t have to sign with us, “but if you refuse that other
energy drink’s contract. “we’ll pay you the same amount.” Apparently it’s quite big in motocross, them just like, “We don’t want
another Red Bull athlete.” So Monster say, “We don’t
want another Red Bull athlete, “on the podium, but for whatever reason “he’s not going to sign
with us, ’cause of X, Y, Z. “but we’ll pay you off not to sign.” They are in that heated
rivalry with one another, but interestingly,
Monster hasn’t come across to the cross-country side, or has it? I can’t think of anybody. – No, I don’t think so. – No. – No, don’t know an athlete
that signed with them no. – They’re a bit kind of cooler and less. – Yeah, Red Bull’s
just, yeah I don’t think it’s quite their market. Yeah, they don’t advertise
it in the same way, so that’s probably where
they’re putting their cash. I mean clearly the Red
Bull cross-country athletes is a big deal, so. – I’m just surprised at how
much money these companies have. I wouldn’t have thought drain cleaner would be that lucrative, but it is. It is they’re making, phew, Coca Cola as well, another big one. – Yeah, but they’re really
smart in the fact that. Obviously, a very smart
company, very well marketed, but it’s the fact they do the helmet, I mean that’s blood brilliant. When someone crosses a finish line, so all race, Lars Forster’s leaning over, and you can’t see his jersey,
so you can’t see SCOTT, you couldn’t see Maxxis in his seat. But you can see his helmet all race. And when he’s on the podium at the end, and it’s just like, I think
a lot of sport sponsors, they’re actually getting a deal. – Yes. – So I don’t know what the comparison is, or how much he gets compared
to the other contract, but you always see the Red Bull there, and you don’t necessarily
see the team bit. – And that’s something that’s
a bit of a pet hate of mine. On the downhill jerseys,
they have the name across the shoulders, and when somebody’s standing up straight, it looks fantastic, like a football shirt or something. But when somebody’s riding a bike, looking at them from behind,
you can never see their name. It is so annoying, put it at the bottom. – [Oli] But yeah, they’re smart guys. – Yeah totally. And I think what’s, you know,
we’re talking about that, if we treat Red Bull sort of, as a nation. – As your nation. – As a nation, which you know, is probably quite dangerous territory. You were obviously part of
the British Cycling set up. – [Oli] Yeah, yeah. – How much, could you ring up
the head of British Cycling and say, “Listen my factory team is great, “however I need X, Y, Z,
they can’t provide it.” Would that sort of support be there. – Yeah, so when we did it… So the way that British Cycling set, you’re either in the team
and then you get support, but if you’ve got a professional sponsor, then that’s different, they then become the support network for it. – And did you personally have any dealings with Daddy Dave Brailsford. – Yeah, all the time yeah. – What was he like to deal with? – [Oli] Yeah, he’s a good lad. – He’s a good lad? – Yeah, he’s very straight
and I was an annoying athlete for him for the national team, ’cause I’m not a winner,
I was never a winner, I was a top 10 guy. Which is annoying for federations, but especially British Cycling,
’cause it’s about medals, that’s what it’s for, it’s
a medal winning factory. So someone like me is annoying, ’cause I was too good enough to ignore. – (laughs) Right. – But actually wasn’t going
to give them very much back. – Well that’s probably very modest of you, but I get what you’re saying, yeah. – So I won a Commonwealth
silver, so I gave them something, but when you look at the
investment they put in over X amount of years, if
you add that up in cash, and said, “I’ll give you a
Commonwealth Games silver “for that money.” – But he seemed to have
take on the kind of, but I feel David Brailsford
has become the Oprah Winfrey of road cyclists, just like,
“You get a Tour de France! “You get a Vuelta a
Espana, you get a Worlds!” You know, he just give them away. (laughs) – What he’s achieved is very impressive, yeah, he’s a great guy,
a good businessman, he’s great with managing people. And the nice thing about,
I always got on with him because he was straight,
straight down the line. You know, I’ve sat down,
and I’ve had meetings, we’d have annual meetings,
we’d see him at races as well. But he’s always, he’s hands on. And it’s, this is what I
think, what do you think? And I came and went in the
national team a few times, because I wasn’t going to necessarily give them what they wanted. Then another Olympics would
come around and they go, “Oh bloody hell, we
got to send Oli again.” – (laughs) “Wheel him out boys!” – “Wheel him out, oh god, we
not get anyone better yet.” But then afterwards they’d say, “In four years time you going
to give me a medal yet?” And I’ll be like, “Nope.” – It sounds like the premise of some kind of Hollywood
movie, one last heist. (laughs) – I was always one last, and eventually they just said, “Look mate, you’re done.” “You are done.” – Well I feel we can wrap
things up quite nicely there, with those last couple of words, we are done.
– Abusing my cycling career. (both laugh) – Well thank you very much
for coming on the podcast. – Cool, cheers, thanks for having me. – I hope it’s been some
informative and good listening for those at home and only
apologies if it’s not. If it hasn’t been, well
done for getting this far, for sticking with it and
grimacing though. (laughs) – It’s good endurance. – Don’t forget to like and subscribe, and hit the notification bell
if you’re watching on YouTube. And also you can get
this all over the place, and thank you for listening on one of the other
platforms if you do so. See you next week, thank you very much. – Cheers, thank you.

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