Interview and rider profile of Adrian Timmis - Road Cycling UK

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Interview and rider profile of Adrian Timmis

The Pinarello RT (L to R) Julian Winn, Mike Jones, Adrian Timmis and Malcolm Elliott

Adrian Timmis is one of only 23 British riders to finish the Tour de France. He has competed for Great Britain at four different disciplines; Road, Track, MTB and Cyclo Cross in World Championships and World Cups and has gained National Championship Medals at Road, Track, MTB and Cyclo Cross.

These days Adrian is a British Cycling coach, a World Class Performance and Talent Team coach and also a qualified sports masseur, cycle mechanic and wheel builder. He has also worked as a team Manager for the GB Team at the 1996-1997 World MTB Championships and for the GB Team 1998 Tour de l’Avenir. So when it comes to cycling, he knows his onions…

It’s also fair to say that he has been one of the UK’s biggest and brightest ‘unfulfilled’ talents. If he had been given the opportunity with a bigger team, he could have achieved a lot more than this, already impressive, list of palmarès:

• Tour de France finisher 1987
• 1984 LA Olympic Games Team Pursuit
• Midi Libre Stage Winner 1987
• Milk Race Stage Winner 1985
• Tour of Lancashire Winner 1985
• National Junior Pursuit Champion 1981
• National Junior Points 2nd 1981
• National Team Pursuit 3rd 1981, 1985
• National Amateur Pursuit 2nd 1985
• National Pro Road Race 2nd 1986
• National Pro Pursuit 3rd 1987
• National Points Series MTB Overall 3rd 1992, 1995
• National MTB Hill Climb 3rd 1994
• National Point Series MTB, Winner 2 rounds 1995
• National Trophy Elite Cyclo Cross Series 2004-5, 4th
• National Veteran Cyclo Cross Champion 2004-5

As a pro rider he also competed in some of the Worlds biggest Classics and Stage Races, namely:
Amstel Gold, Het Volk, Gent Wevelgem, Fleche Wallone, Leige-Bastonge-Leige, Paris-Nice, Criterium International and the Tour de Romandie

As a team masseur he’s attended the following races:
Linda McCartney Pro Team, 1999-2000, including Giro d’Italia
GB MTB Team, 2001-02, at World Championships and World Cups
Team England 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games
GB Cyclo Cross Team 2005 World Championships

RCUK caught up with Adrian as he prepares for a very busy 2005 season

they’ll be taking the racing a little more seriously…

RCUK: Hi Adrian, you’re now the National Veteran Cross champion, congratulations! So is ‘cross your favoured discipline?
Thanks, I’ve always liked ‘cross, but come September/October I was usually ready for a holiday – not to prepare for a ‘cross season. I’d planned to race road last year, but after breaking my arm in my first race, I was unable to race again due some problems. So come July I decided to give ‘cross a go and trained specifically for it.

RCUK: And you’re also a bit of a ‘trackie’ too, fancy a crack at the Revolution?
AT: Most people don’t realise I used to ride the track, yet it was where I first made a name for myself as junior pursuit champ in 1981, then going on to the LA 1984 Olympics as a team pursuiter. I’d not been to the Revolution till the last one and yes it made me want to get a track iron and have a go, so we’ll see what happens next winter!

RCUK: So you’re back racing with Pinarello RT, how did that come about?

AT: The Pinarello RT ride came around after I decided I wanted to buy a nice bike for my 40th birthday and contacted my old ANC team manager Phil Griffiths at Yellow Ltd, but, instead of buying one, Phil offered me a place on the team and gave me a bike!

RCUK: Are you going to be riding Premier calendar road races with Malcolm Elliott and the team then?

AT: Yes, I’ll be riding the Premier calendar. My first race of the season will be the Archer GP. I’ve taken a break after the ‘cross season, so won’t be expecting a lot, I just hope to give the boys a hand early on.

RCUK: So what races are you looking forward to next year?
AT: If I get my self into shape I’m looking forward to the Lincoln GP, Melton-Rutland and the 5 Valleys [he must be mad…]

RCUK: Seeing as you’ve ridden much of this year’s Etape route in anger (in the 1987 Tour) what are your memories of the hills?
AT: This years Etape brings back some not so good memories. It was my first ever day in real mountains, racing or training, Bayonne to Pau (219km) over the Col de Burdincurutcheta (1st Cat) , Col de Soudet (Hors Cat) and the Col de Marie Blanque (1st Cat and in the Etape this year). On  the first mountain I crashed on the decent after my front tyre blew out, the tub doubling in size after I’d used the front brake too much, expanding the air inside. Then, to rub it in, I burnt my fingers on the rim trying to get the wheel out ready for a change! I had to change my rear wheel (like about half the peloton) at the bottom, because the glue had melted and the valve had crept round, By the finish I was in bits, finishing 52nd, 14-min 40-sec down on Erik Breukink who finished in 6hr 19m 56s.
Just to make sure we got to know the Col de Marie Blanque we had to go over it again the next day just after the start, followed by the Col de Aubisque finishing after 166km at the top of Luz Ardiden in 88th, 15min 15sec behind Dag Otto-Lauritzen 5hr 14m 28s

RCUK: And what do you rate as your best rides as a pro-cyclist?
AT: Winning a stage of the 1987 Midi Libre was my best result as a pro, I was never the same again after the Tour. I was only just turned 23 and was not physically mature enough for it, today I would have been told to do 10 days and climb off, people have said I wasn’t ready for it (including Sean Yates, Martin Earley and Graham Jones). I didn’t really recover for years. Big things were expected of me, but it never happened.

RCUK: And if it wasn’t for cramp (Adrian was often halted by cramp attacks when in promising breaks and positions in major races) and your young age you may well have won a couple of big races then?
AT: Cramp has always been a problem for me, I’ve an imbalance of some sort, which I’ve had tests for, but never been able to pin point the problem, It’s not a fitness thing as I get it all over my body, not just in my legs. Many a time it has ruined a race for me, when in contention at the finish.

RCUK: Why do you think riders like team-mate Malcolm [Elliott] and yourself can still mix it with the top UK riders, has the standard dropped?
AT: For me, the fact that I can still mix it with best UK riders is down to the fact I know my body a lot better these day, I only train between 7 and 12 hours a week, mainly commuting miles to work and back, but I train on my own with a heart rate monitor, so there is no wasted miles. Or it could just be that I’m like a fine wine, maturing with age! Or is it that I’m drinking too much of it?!

RCUK: So if more sophisticated training is the main difference, how has this changed?
AT: A heart rate monitor has helped me a lot, I think for anyone who works, with a limited time to train, they are must, if you only have an hour you don’t want to waste it.

RCUK: And so now you are coaching ‘full-time’, why do you think a coach is so important?
AT: I never really had a long term coach, something I regret. I was a bit old school, you got on your bike 1st of jan and got fit when you got fit and tried to hold on to it. I think with a bit of help I could have planned things out a lot better, to help me focus on my goals. It would have been good just to have someone to talk to. During my 30 years in cycling I’ve had the luxury of being a full time athlete with all day to train and, just as importantly, more time to rest. But I’ve also raced at a high level with a full time job juggling training and resting around what most people experience, busy lifestyles with work and family commitments. So it’s with this experience I hope to help balance the training around their lifestyles.

RCUK: And presumably testing is essential information, but how do you use it to structure a training programme?
AT: People pay anything up to nearly £300 on heart rate monitors, but never get a test to find out how to actually make proper use of it. For me the data from a test is of more benefit to slow people down, because most people’s perception of recovery and base riding levels is way off, tell someone to do an interval and you know how it feels, it’s going to hurt, but recovery and base rides seem to be ridden at too high a level.

You can contact Adrian through RCUK. His details will follow soon…

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