With the Zwift e-racing underway, British teams represented in the Challenge Mallorca, and the UK’s domestic racing calendar kicking off this Sunday at the Perfs Pedal Road Race, we take a brief look at the teams you should be looking out for in 2019.
This is the first of a four-part series giving you a rundown of the UK’s top men’s teams this year. Today, we focus on the two teams that are making the biggest waves at the start of 2019.
Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes
Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes is potentially the fastest growing team in the UK right now. They have coupled an increased roster with continued support from bike manufacturer Canyon to go into 2019 with their strongest team yet.
The addition of Bloor Homes and dhb as title sponsors has clearly given the team the freedom to forge a squad bulging at the seams with talent and numbers – the team could fill, and certainly deserves, a whole article to itself at some point. For now, if you have the time, we’d recommend reading the two-part interview with the team’s manager, Tim Elverson, over on The British Continental blog.
The squad clearly has ambitions: they bring two notable climbers to the table in Max Stedman and Dan Pearson, the latter coming from two seasons with the now defunct UCI Pro Continental outfit, Aqua-Blue Sport; Jacob Vaughan, Jacob Hennessy, Alex Richardson, and Tom Stewart strengthen the squad’s classics capabilities; and the Belgians, Stijn De Bock and Alex Colman could prove to be great signings.
The team may have lost Harry Tanfield to Katusha Alpecin and the World Tour, but it’s unlikely to dent their firepower in 2019. The strength of the team is impressive enough that the question may not be whether they will win, but instead whether they can keep all the riders happy – you could create two teams from Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes’ roster and still struggle to separate them.
It’s a nice problem to have, but one that can cause friction and unrest if not handled well. Nevertheless, Elverson is confident the ambitions can be managed and it may yet prove to be a non-issue.
Manager: Tim Elverson
Stijn De Bock
Owned by the UK’s largest cycling goods distributor, the team has been a high achiever in the UK ever since its inception in 2013.
For 2019, Madison Genesis will be riding high off one of the standout rides of 2018; Connor Swift’s victory in the British National Road Race Championships - a race normally locked down by the country’s World Tour teams - was a coup de grace that is all the more significant considering he is the first domestic professional to win the race since 2009.
The team’s name hasn’t changed since its birth, and its distinctive jersey has become a somewhat stalwart presence in what is a perilous climate for cycling team sponsorship. This is testament to the ongoing support from both Madison and Genesis, something that we should be thankful for as long running teams such as JLT-Condor fall by the wayside.
Aside from Swift, the team goes into the 2019 season with a strong contingent of riders. Ian Bibby is one of the most consistent riders of the past decade – you can expect at least one big victory from him each season - and he has already opened his account for 2019 with a victory in the first Zwift KISS Super League race of the year. A sign of things to come, perhaps? Teammate Jon Mould took the third round of the KISS Super League this week and is showing promising form as we head towards the season’s first road races.
If the portrayal of Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes as a super team has left you dreading a one-horse race, Madison Genesis’ strength and consistency should assuage your fears at least a little.
Manager: Roger Hammond
Next Tuesday sees us turn the looking glass on two of the up and coming teams in the UK; they’ve both been around for a few years, but this year sees them step up to the plate with some added firepower.