It hasn’t been a slow start for Bike Channel Canyon. Launching as a UCI Continental team this year with a roster of largely new riders, Bike Channel Canyon have been competing in road and criterium races pretty much nonstop across the UK and Northern Europe since they launched.
The most notable event so far has to be this year’s Tour Series, previously the Pearl Izumi Tour Series, a ten stage mix of criteriums, time trials and stage races across the UK. We’ve been regular attendees at the series, and not just because it happens to run past our office.
With a few stage wins going to the new team, Bike Channel Canyon have managed to take third in the overall results. We took the opportunity to throw a few questions about the race and the team over to directeur sportif, Tim Elverson.
Congratulations on taking third place at the tour series. Did the result meet your expectations?
We met our expectations in that we took wins, but I felt we had a very good chance of winning the series, unfortunately the weather had other plans for us and we had a few freak incidents which somewhat hampered our overall progress, so to still get top three and good Tour Of Britain points was good.
Both London stages of the Tour series (Croydon and Wembley Park) managed to coincide with some of the heaviest rain and thunderstorms of the year, and criterium racing in the wet had fairly obvious consequences for many of the teams.
Did any of your riders stand out or surprise you with their performance?
I’ve got to say James Lowsley-Williams, there are others who put in great rides but he was so good at every round and has to be a stand out for me.
While only 25, James is surprisingly one of the more senior members of the young team. Taking up the sport at 17, James has had multiple appearances at the Tour of Britain, Tour de Yorkshire, and took his first race win at the Via Roma Cirencester Twilight Criterium in 2015.
What are the main races you are targeting this summer?
The main one was the Tour of Britain so any races that go to qualify for that become the priority. The Beaumont trophy is the next target, we have a few good UCI races in Belgium this month that will be great experience for the lads and help the form for the UK targets.
Can you describe your role as sports director for Bike Channel Canyon?
I select the races, the riders, the tactics, the travel plan and accommodation, then keep everyone ready to go and on plan for race days. So it’s mainly about getting in the highest profile races possible then selecting the most suitable riders from the squad to get the job done to the best of our ability as a team, which is often tough as I have some very good riders.
What are your ambitions for the team?
I want to have a slightly improved calendar from this year but next year we will re-visit this year’s races and aim to improve on the results. In 2019 we will expand that calendar slightly to bigger European races and then again improve from there. Whilst this process is going on we will maintain a young squad keeping 6 riders U23 so we can work with them and hopefully turn a few of them into household names.
The average age of your riders is unusually low. Is the intention to grow Bike Channel Canyon into a world tour team, or incubate talented riders before they move elsewhere?
Yes, it is intentionally low so I can work with riders before they get bad habits (I have actually already signed two top juniors for next season when they start as first year seniors) and try to turn them into great professionals. I currently don’t have the desire to turn the team into a WT team, but after 2019 we will look at budget and if pro continental is possible. For now we have plenty of growing room as a continental team and being the best at this level is our first target.
Keep an eye on Bike Channel Canyon, we will be popping in throughout the rest of the year with updates on the team and their progress.