Easy as ACBB
There isn’t much about the domestic racing scene that Herety doesn’t know. He has been there, seen it, and done it. As a young rider, he moved to France and joined the revered Athletic Club de Boulogne-Billancourt (ACBB) with Sean Yates, graduating to the professional ranks with COOP-Mercier. He does not, however, recommend the gamble of a solo expedition to continental Europe and has built the JLT-Condor team, in its various guises since Herety joined as manager in 2006, around an ethos of developing young talent in the UK.
“I still struggle with ones who want to go to France or Belgium, because I’ve seen so many over the years do that and disappear from the sport. It’s a sink or swim environment,” he says.
“It’s worked for some; it worked for me, so I’m not saying it’s completely the wrong thing to do, but given the numbers of those who’ve tried and failed [it’s hard to recommend].
“A team like ours gives [young riders] a pathway and allows them to move forward”
“It’s still steeped in myth. I don’t think it’s the best way. They’d get looked after a lot better by a team like ours, which gives them a pathway and allows them to move forward.”
Hugh Carthy represents an interesting middle ground. The 189cm, 63kg rider won the Tour de Korea as a 19-year-old with Herety’s squad, and gambled on a move to Spain and a berth with Pro Continental squad Caja-Rural. Things have gone swimmingly since for this “Alsatian”, with victory at the Vuelta Asturias and ninth place on the final GC at the Volta a Catalunya as recent examples.
“He was one kid who really wanted to go all the way,” says Herety. “Because of his build, he was never going to be looked at by the [track-focused British Cycling] Academy, so he took the gamble of going with us. We sought races to suit his talent like the Tour de Korea, the Tour of Japan, with a smattering of WorldTour teams, so if he showed, people would notice.”