Tour Rookie – George Pym (Raleigh GAC)

One of the finishers on stage 8 of the Tour of Britain was rookie George Pym from Raleigh GAC. We speak to him

Tour Rookie – George Pym (Raleigh GAC)

One of the riders in his first Tour of Britain was Raleigh GAC’s George Pym and he finished the race in London and left the race wanting to do it again. Saying afterwards on twitter, “So pleased to have finished the Tour of Britain – Hardest thing I’ve ever done”.

Asked was he aware of what was in store for him, George replied, “not really. I had looked at all the stage profiles and none of them looked easy and even the flat stage looked hard because of the distance (230km). The longest race I’d done was RideLondon at 205km and in the Tour we had two back to back 220k days so it was baptism of fire”.

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George (left) with the tallest rider in the peloton, Conor Dunne, a former member of the Glendene CC

“Apart from the stage from Stoke to Nottingham (Stage 6) which are my local roads as I live in Derby in the team accommodation, I didn’t have a clue about any of the other roads so it was all new to me.”

“They were typical British roads with steep climbs and narrow lanes which were horrible and grippy and I’m on my knees! Today (final day)”

George did finish the race in 92nd place, well over an hour behind the winner Evald Boasson Hagen but not last as that honour went to double Olympic track champion Ed Clancy (JLT Condor) who is hugely talented as his medals show.

This race was so different to any other George had done except for RideLondon. Talking about what it was like to be in the peloton, George explained “in the UK, you give every rider respect but you don’t necessarily feel bad about taking a wheel in front of them. But when it you see it’s Greipel, Cav or Wiggins, you definitely think twice about nicking their wheel!”

“It is different racing at this level but nice as well as I only started being active in cycling six years ago so a lot of guys I am racing against are the same I was looking up to when I first started. Last year I was at the finish in Exeter, my home town, and watching them come in and thinking this is cool, really cool and I wish I could do this one day.”

“I never thought it would be the very next year so I want to thank Raleigh GAC for the opportunity to do this.”

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“They put me in this race so they could up my level for next year, give me some experience and the strength you get from the race. My own role was to be a bottle carrier for the Raleigh leaders which were Lamps (Steve Lampier) and Karol Domagalski and I had a few goes at getting in the break but my legs towards the end of the week were pretty tired.”

“So it’s been survival in this part of the race.”

Experiencing a Grupetto

On stage 6, after the race was blown apart by strong cross winds up Gun Hill and pressure from Team Sky and others, a grupetto formed which was a saviour for George. Talking about that stage, he explained “The first climb we went up, Gun Hill, was absolutely horrible”.

“I was soon in the cars and suffering and I got back into the peloton after half an hour of chasing and I could see a group up the road and then sensed that the guys had sat up and were talking to each other”.

“So I was really happy but it was a far from easy day. There was so much climbing and I could not imagine racing over that terrain as it was hard enough just riding over it.”

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George (right) with teammate Steve Lampier on stage 1

George may have suffered but he would still love to do it again. “I definitely want to come back and do it again. Hopefully competing and not just hanging on at the back. It has been great and I have really enjoyed it. The final stage had to be one of the most amazing routes in the world and is right up there”.

“My highlight was just getting through the Tour. A lot of good riders have pulled put which is testament to how hard the course has been this year.”