Big Friendly Giant Killers
CYCLING WEEKLY|Jnauary 10, 2019

When A Team Of Amateurs From Derby Took Pursuit Gold At The 2017 national Track Champs The Cycling World Saluted Their Pluck And Now, Back With New Sponsorship, Team Huub-wattbike Are Ready To Up The Ante. Cw Went Backstage With Cycling’s Hottest Ticket

Is Huub-Wattbike the most rock ’n’ roll team in cycling?

The last time I did an interview like this was 20 years ago, in a previous life as a music journalist. I sat in a pub with four up-and-coming 20-something indie punks boisterous with the intoxication of growing success, and enjoyed an invigorating hour or so of large talk, gags and general mockery of all and sundry (including yours truly) — plus a healthy dose of calling out the establishment.

As a wet-behind-the-ears writer that interview was a formative experience, and one which finally paid off last month when I got together for a chat with Huub-Wattbike.

With a penchant for doing things their own way and scoffing at all forms of received wisdom they practically own the ‘maverick’ tag (though they scoff at that too). The wisecrackery and mickey-taking are turned up to 11. It’s not exactly Keith Moon revisited, but if I didn’t know better I’d say they have a big bowl of M&Ms with all the blue ones taken out delivered to the track centre for major competitions.

But here’s the thing: these are serious guys. For every quick-witted barb, every LMAO moment, there are five obscure stats concerning coefficient of drag, or a quick 101 on the disruption of laminar flow.

There is also — as far as I could tell from spending a couple of hours with the team at their temporary pied-a-terre for the London World Cup — a complete absence of Jack Daniels. Or M&Ms.

We sit around the small apartment table, complete with double-aspect views of Stratford’s rail yard, and team figurehead and founder Dan Bigham takes the lead on the answering of questions. Also present at one time or another during our chat are Jonny Wale and Jacob Tipper — both part of the original 2016 line-up from the KGF days; John Archibald, brother of Olympic gold medallist Katie, and new recruit from the USA Ashton Lambie — recognisable by his enormous moustache and 4.07.25 individual pursuit world record. All of them are fresh from a morning session at the track, practising standing starts for the World Cup a few days later.

It’s clear the rest of the lads spend much of their time trying to shield themselves from Bigham’s rampant ambition — demonstrated perfectly by the series of responses ignited when I ask them about their plans to travel abroad on a world record-breaking mission later this year. The idea is to head to altitude at Aguascalientes in Mexico, and employ every last watt per CdA they can muster to break the full gamut of records from individual pursuit to the Hour.

Aiming high

Bigham: “The plan is IP, TP, Hour — in one week, crush ’em all. Every record, if we can, we’re doing it.”

What would you aim for in the team pursuit, I ask? It seems a reasonable question.

Wale and Tipper (in unison): “World record!” [peals of laughter]

Bigham: “It would have to be a sub-3.49 I think. We could probably go well into like 3.46s.”

Wale: “Ah f***’s sake. We had this conversation at the start of the year. Dan likes setting ambitious targets…

Bigham: “You can’t temper my optimism!”

Wale: “This year Dan started off like ‘I wanna go 3.54’. Next week it was ‘yeah, 3.53!’ Then it’s like ‘had a good session today, 3.52!’. No!!”

Tipper: “He’s been a bit quiet these last few weeks but you can see he’s on that pathway cos now we’re on 3.46 apparently. By the time we get to Mexico it’ll be 36!

Bigham: “I don’t care! The numbers say we can do it so we’re just gonna f****** do it. Stop moaning.”

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM CYCLING WEEKLYView All

How to cut through the aero hot air

Is every new bike/wheel/handlebar/skinsuit really the fastest on the market? Michelle Arthurs-Brennan looks at the bad science behind the aero claims

10 mins read
CYCLING WEEKLY
October 14, 2021

NATIONAL PREVIEW: Winning Walls leads Lincoln charge

Victory in Italy sets up track champ for Nationals, reports James Shrubsall

2 mins read
CYCLING WEEKLY
October 14, 2021

INSIDE HELL

At the epic first ever Paris-Roubaix Femmes Vern Pitt went inside the British Drops-Le Col team to experience the madness at first hand

10 mins read
CYCLING WEEKLY
October 14, 2021

'Today is the day!

Confounding doctors’ expectations, Chris Riley is back on his bike and savouring every moment, more than a year on from a devastating diagnosis

7 mins read
CYCLING WEEKLY
October 14, 2021

Archibald eyes Worlds titles after Euros triple

Scot leads British team that picks up five medals, reports Vern Pitt

2 mins read
CYCLING WEEKLY
October 14, 2021

7 DAY WONDER

Weekly mileage is a fixation for many a cyclist but Josh Quigley has taken it to a new level. He tells James Shrubsall how he did more than anyone has ever done in seven days

6 mins read
CYCLING WEEKLY
October 14, 2021

BUILD THE ATHLETE FIRST

Far from being one-trick pedalling machines, the world’s best cyclists are consummate all-round athletes. You too should build a broad base of skills, urges Chris Sidwells Photos Daniel Gould, GettyImages

10+ mins read
CYCLING WEEKLY
October 14, 2021

Bell and Richardson throw down National Hill Climb markers

Tom Bell beats Andrew Feather to gain psychological edge, reports Snowdon Sports

2 mins read
CYCLING WEEKLY
October 14, 2021

Vitus Substance CRS-2 eTap AXS Rival | £2,499.99 | 9.6kg

Stefan Abram gets to grips with a great-value gravel machine

6 mins read
CYCLING WEEKLY
October 14, 2021

Vollering leads SD Worx to Women's Tour victory

Dutchwoman takes up the torch from compatriot and team-mate van der Breggen, writes Owen Rogers

2 mins read
CYCLING WEEKLY
October 14, 2021
RELATED STORIES

WORKERS FED UP WITH NIGHTS, WEEKENDS SEEK FLEXIBLE SCHEDULES

After struggling to hire workers for its outlet store in Dallas, Balsam Hill finally opened on Sept. 1. But the very next day, the online purveyor of high-end artificial holiday trees was forced to close after four of its five workers quit.

2 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #521

TRUMP ANNOUNCES LAUNCH OF HIS VERY OWN SOCIAL MEDIA SITE

Nine months after being expelled from social media for his role in inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, former President Donald Trump said this week he’s launching a new media company with its own social media platform.

3 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #521

VIRGINIA EXPECTS $2B IN PUBLIC-PRIVATE BROADBAND FUNDING

Virginia has received a record number of local and private sector applications to match state investments in broadband connectivity and the state expects more than $2 billion in total broadband funding, Gov. Ralph Northam announced this week.

1 min read
Techlife News
Techlife News #521

NETFLIX POSTS HIGHER 3Q EARNINGS, SOLID SUBSCRIBER GROWTH

Netflix posted sharply higher third-quarter earnings thanks to a stronger slate of titles, including “Squid Game,” the dystopian survival drama from South Korea that the company says became its biggest-ever TV show.

2 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #521

TESLA HITS RECORD PROFIT DESPITE PARTS SHORTAGE, SHIP DELAYS

Record electric vehicle sales last summer amid a shortage of computer chips and other materials propelled Tesla Inc. to the biggest quarterly net earnings in its history.

4 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #521

RIGHT ON CUE: NBA FINDS HIGH TECH OPTION FOR VIRUS TESTING

If so inclined, an NBA player could now test himself for the coronavirus and get results on his phone in no more than 20 minutes.

2 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #521

SENATOR ASKS FACEBOOK CEO TO TESTIFY ON INSTAGRAM AND KIDS

The senator leading a probe of Facebook’s Instagram and its impact on young people is asking Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify before the panel that has heard farreaching criticisms from a former employee of the company.

3 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #521

COMPANY BEHIND TETHER ‘TOKEN' FINED $41M BY US REGULATORS

The company behind a digital token called Tether has agreed to pay $41 million to settle charges that it misled investors by claiming the token was fully backed at all times by U.S. dollars and other fiat currencies

1 min read
Techlife News
Techlife News #521

FACEBOOK PLANS TO HIRE 10,000 IN EUROPE TO BUILD ‘METAVERSE'

Facebook said it plans to hire 10,000 workers in the European Union over the next five years to work on a new computing platform that promises to connect people virtually but could raise concerns about privacy and the social platform gaining more control over people’s online lives.

3 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #521

PAWN STARS' CHUMLEE SHEDS 160 LBS OF FAT

Gastric sleeve works miracle

1 min read
Globe
November 01, 2021