Tour of Britain
11-18 September 2011
Report: Scott Hobro
Motorpoint Pro Cycling Manager Malcolm Elliot believes a good finish for one of his riders in the Tour of Britain could come down ‘to one break on one stage' with the event boasting its strongest line-up in recent years.
Elliot will be hoping Ian Bibby (third in from right) and Johnny McEvoy (far right) can reproduce their Premier Calendar efforts
Motorpoint enter the eight stage series on the back of a 1-2-3 in the Premier Calendar which saw Ian Bibby take the overall title. After finishing sixth in the team classification in last year's Tour, the highest British domestic team, Elliot is hoping for a repeat performance but emphasised the fine balance between success and failure, particularly in the general classification.
"The results speak for themselves; the 1-2-3 is extremely good. The Premier Calendar is one of many goals in the season. Although we didn't hit targets in some of the events it is nice to have something to show for the season and to say ‘we accomplished this'," Elliot said.
"I think a top 10 is possible [for a Motorpoint rider], whether that happens or not is another question. Historically the Tour of Britain tends to be decided on one stage, even one break on one stage that forms the overall general classification; you have to be really attentive not to miss those moments.
"We did miss it last year, it is very tough to know when that's going to happen or if indeed it will be like that this year. Anybody getting in that big move or split on the crucial day has got every chance of finishing in the top ten.
"It'd be great to get a stage and top threes on as many as we can. I think the preparation they have had this year should carry them in good stead. Last year we were the best domestic British team overall, I think the British teams are anxious to be the best British team, realistically no-one is expecting you to match the Skys, HTCs and Garmins blow for blow."
Elliot, whose career included achievements such as a British Road and National Circuit Championships and claiming the green jersey in the 1989 Vuelta a España, also noted the strength of this year's Tour field.
"It's going to be tough. There are a lot of extremely strong teams and when we have come to this in the past with British riders it has been a shock to the system to many of them how fast they go and on the climbs," Elliot said.
"It's a very strong field, the number of superstars riding is going to give it lots of competition," he added.
The Motorpoint man also revealed he has been enjoying this year's Vuelta following Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins' efforts in Spain. "I was screaming at the TV when I saw Froome crack Cobo [on stage 17], that was fantastic. Even if he can't manage to overhaul Cobo, it's superb to see the strength we are now getting and the direction things are taking which will hopefully continue," Elliot stated.
"Every aspect of the sport in this country has been on the increase in terms of quality and numbers in strength and depth."