Tag Archives: Endura Racing

Measuring Netapp-Endura’s success at the Vuelta

Netapp-Endura targeted a Grand Tour ride this year and finally got a wildcard entry to the Vuelta. The Pro Continental team, part headline-sponsored by Scottish clothing manufacturer Endura have certainly grabbed the opportunity with both hands.

I’ll recap some of their exploits at the race briefly below but rather than simply regurgitate the press information, I thought I offer an alternative take on what success means.

Endura’s stated goal when they expanded their pro team was to build the brand in Europe and with a road audience, as they were already well known in the UK and for mountain bike apparel.

Without interviewing the director Jim McFarlane, it’s pretty hard to quantify how succesful sponsorship of a pro race team is. Even still, I’d guess they might be reluctant to publicly state what they felt they were getting for their money, as with any marketing. However there are a few you can look at.

Outside of a GC win or a jersey, which would be pretty tall order, a stage win would provide the best exposurefor the team to date, and they got that with 25-year-old team leader Leopold Koenig’s victory on stage 8. You get a prime spot on live TV and plenty of visibility in post-race coverage, not to mention a nice shot with hands in the air.

Team NetApp-Endura Vuelta Stage 8

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Endura -> Netapp

Recently the news was confirmed that Team NetApp will extend and welcome Endura as a second name sponsor through to the end of 2014.

This is seen as a merger in many quarters but to me it looks a bit more more like the closure of the Endura Racing team with sponsorship, resources and some of the bigger name riders moving to the German squad.

Finance in pro cycling is tough as it is in many other areas of business right now, and I’m sure this decision wasn’t taken lightly- if Endura Racing had been able to secure a big sponsor to meet its ambition to gain Pro Continental status then I’m sure it would have continued.

However it does raise a few questions:

Who are the 8 riders? One presumes it will be the bigger names that have raced the European circuit this year but this is just speculation. Paul Voss is German so that is an obvious fit and we may see the likes of Camano, Mandri, Wetterhall and Dempster but hopefully there will be some UK riders moving up too. Bibby’s future is uncertain, and you’d expect riders who have focused more on the UK calendar like Wilkinson and McEvoy to be looking for new squads but there are some talented young riders like Rowsell and Thwaites.

Photo: Ian Bibby, Tour Series Kirkcaldy by Larry Hickmott | www.VeloUK.net

What about the riders who are left? Hopefully they can all find teams, and this announcement has come relatively early on. Brian Smith is good at moving riders from team to team and has hinted that Endura needs a presence in the UK so maybe a low level sponsorship or involvement in one of the domestic squads will remain. I’ve seen it mentioned that Endura still need a presence in the UK and they have been incredibly successful in the Tour Series and Premier Calendar this year.

John Tiernan Locke’s future is unconfirmed but everybody thinks he’ll be moving to Sky. I joked today that Netapp were working to help Endura pull back the break in the Tour of Britain, because maybe they would benefit from Locke’s points next year, but he has said he is expecting to join a World Tour team. It will be interesting to see where he goes and how he develops.

Most importantly: what colour will the kit be? I have enjoyed the black and lime green and it would be a shame if this disappears but I would expect it to be different.

It will be great to see a Scottish-backed outfit moving onwards and upwards to European level, but I can’t help but feel this is the end of an era for a team that has its genesis in a local shop team from Pedal Power in West Calder. There’s a sad tinge but also expectancy for the future.

Photo by Joolze Dymond | www.joolzedymond.com

Below is the news in full:
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Jon Tiernan-Locke takes lead in Tour of Britain

With Endura Racing’s imminent merge with Netapp for 2013, there isn’t much time left for fans to enjoy watching the Scottish-backed outfit.

Today the team enjoyed what may turn out to be one of its best days racing ever, as JTL attacked to take the leader’s jersey in the increasingly popular Tour if Britain.

Here’s the news in full:

Endura Racing’s Jon Tiernan-Locke swept into the IG Markets Gold Jersey in the Tour of Britain today in Wales with an impressive display of climbing in the race’s Queen stage.

The Endura Racing team were instrumental in bringing back the break of the day, which had slipped clear early in the 190km stage from Welshpool to Caerphilly, and delivered the rider from Devon in exactly the right spot to launch his assault on the overall classification.

The six strong break – Backstedt (UK Youth), Bialoblocki (Node 4-Giordana), Briggs (Raleigh-GAC), Craven (IG-Sigma Sport), Ghyllebert (An Post-Sean Kelly) and House (Rapha Condor) – were swept up by the chase group on the lower slopes of Caerphilly Mountain and that was the cue for Jon to launch a blistering attack. He overhauled the last of the escapees just before the summit before Briggs managed to latch on to his wheel and the pair swept down the mountain together. Briggs dropped back as they headed to the second passage of the Mountain and at the same time, Leo König (Team NetApp) bridged up to Jon from the chaser group.

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Focus on mechanics: Brendan Milliken

Brendan has kindly agreed to answer some of my questions about the past two years he has spent as a full time mechanic for Endura Racing.

You’ve spent the past 2 years as mechanic with Endura Racing, remind us how you got the gig?
Since the age of 14 I have been involved in cycling, as a rider and working in cycle shops as a mechanic, cycling has been a big part of my life and to be involved in the professional scene on or off the bike has always been a dream. I have been involved with Endura Racing for 4 seasons now, from the original incarnation that was PedalPower Race Team/Endura where I assisted the team with mechanics and support in the team car at a few Premier Calendar events. During the 2009 Halfords Tour Series after a mechanical-strewn 1st round, I was offered the position of mechanic, looking after team bikes, driving and logistics which led to a full time job with Endura and Endura Racing.

Tour Doonhame 2011 | Photo by Larry Hickmott | www.VeloUK.net courtesy of Endura Racing
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Endura Racing 2011 – Tour of Britain

Having had a successful racing season so far, with strong results at international as well as national events, Endura Racing are now in the final stage of their preparations for the Tour of Britain which will start in Peebles, Scotland on September 11th.

I’m disappointed not to be watching the Scottish stage of the ToB this year, having enjoyed being a roadside spectator in 2008 and 2009, but the start in Peebles is sure to be a spectacle, with the borders town having fully embraced the race over the past few years.

Jack Bauer, Tour of Britain through EdenfieldEndura’s Jack Bauer, former NZ champ
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Endura Racing’s Jack Bauer wins stage two of the Tour of Utah

It’s been a while since I covered Scotland’s pro team, Endura Racing, and there has been lots of action in recent months with the team continuing to step up the level of performance.

A team time trial win in the Czech Cycling Tour, Scott Thwaites’ win in the U23 category in the British Championship road race, or the same riders’ win at the Lincoln GP are a few of the stand-outs.

Jack Bauer’s win in the Tour of Utah’s second stage in Provo on Thursday came as he jumped clear to surprise the sprinters with 500m to go, powering all the way to the line. The former New Zealand road race champion’s impressive attack opened up a clear gap in just a few pedal strokes and Elia Viviani (Liquigas Cannondale) and Jake Keough (UnitedHealthcare) were unable able to catch the charging Kiwi at the end of the 160km stage.

image © Endura Racing / Jonathan Devich
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Endura help Mandri shine at Bretagne

Rene Mandri is one of Endura Racing’s new recruits for 2011 and I have been keeping an eye out to see what type of rider he is. After the Tour of Bretagne, I’m still not quite sure, but it’s clear he is stong enough to get in a break and stay away, as well as to win a sprint from a small group. Below is a press report from Cyclevox about his recent 2nd place in the Breton stage race.

After a string of high-profile performances in Europe over the last few weeks, Endura Racing are beginning to find their footing as a team that can deliver results and mix it with the best pro cycling teams in the world. Estonian Rene Mandri capitalised on this rich vein of confidence running through the squad to take a stage win and second on GC at last week’s Tour de Bretagne – Trophée des Granitiers in France.

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Racing: Tour Doon Hame

The Tour Doon Hame emerged from the ashes of The Girvan, which was a 3-day stage race raced from 1968-2009. The race history is still online for anyone not familiar. The Girvan stopped in 2009 due to logistical problems, but the Doon Hame’s first edition in 2010 was a big success.

It’s a big race: the highest-profile event in the UK outside of the Tour of Britain. Cav won a stage in 2004 and ahost of big names have competed: Boardman, Kelly, Robert Millar, Brian Smith. I won’t preview the route in detail but suffice to say it is a very tough, hilly 270 miles around Ayrshire, with big climbs like the Mennock Pass.

Last year’s weather was rotten, and New Zealand Champ Jack Bauer, new boy for Scottish outfit Endura Racing launched a solo breakaway with 15 miles of stage 3 to go but couldn’t quite get enough time out of Rapha’s Chris Newton to take the win. I’m far from a pundit, but Bauer doesn’t seem to have shown much so far this year- either he has been hiding it in the build-up for this race or doesn’t have the same form. Zak Dempster of Rapha has been winning but I don’t know if he’d be suited to a hilly stage race. Ian Bibby maybe? Who to pick…

Jack Bauer, Tour of Britain through Edenfield Continue reading

Endura Racing in Finistère

Scottish-based UCI Pro Continental Team Endura Racing are off to Finistère for a tough weekend of racing.

THIBAUT PINOTAlexandre Blain digging in hard in Tour de Finistère 2010

Tour de Finistère, a 186km race, is on Saturday and on Sunday there is the Tro-Bro-Leon at 206km. It’s going to be a hard weekend for the likes of Maarten de Jonge, Alex Wetterhall and Jack Bauer. Full teams for each race on the Endura Racing website.
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