John Herety is best known these days as the manager of the ultra successful recycling.com team, who have dominated the UK scene for some time. But there’s a lot more to him than just managerial skills; not only has he been a successful national team manager and a trained chef, he was also a bit of a bike rider in his day.
We caught up with him as he prepared to launch his revamped and revitalised team into the 2007 season.
RCUK: Your team has dominated things in past seasons, winning just about everything going in the UK, and achieving good results in Europe. Are they set to continue in that vein this year?
JH: I think we’ll be struggling to achieve such results this year. There has been a huge shift of emphasis within the team. We have a whole bunch of new and young riders, not the established riders we’ve had in the past. All in all it will be totally different this year.
RCUK: What brought about the changes?
JH: Well, it was a combination of things. Partly it was budget, but we also wanted to develop new talent. It’s great winning every week – we all have an ego, but I don’t think it’s that good for the sport to have one team dominate things. Both the sponsors and myself are on the Road Steering Commission and agreed that it was not for the best. It’s been very satisfying seeing the riders winning all of the time, but I think it will be even more satisfying developing the youngsters and seeing them on the podium – I hope the sponsors will also see it that way.
RCUK: Tell us about the new line up?
JH: Firstly we’ve kept Chris Newton. Not only is he good for the younger riders, but we would also like to have a rider at the Olympics next year. We’ve also retained Shaun Snodden, who had health problems last year, but is recovering. Then we have Luke Rowe, his younger brother Matt (who is not old enough for the UCI team), Simon Holt, Adam and Ryan Bonser and Graham Brigs, a promising young rider who lost his way a bit in France. So we’ve got a lot of future potential, and a lot of work to do.
RCUK; In the early days of the team there were rumours about going big into Europe?
JH: maybe some people said things, but I don’t really think that has even been feasible. Mainly it comes down to cost, it’s expensive to go that way.
RCUK: Do you think we have the talent to make a successful Continental team?
JH: Definitely, just about all of our past riders were good enough. Had they been born in Belgium they would probably all be on pro teams now. But as they get older it becomes more difficult, they get jobs and often a comfortable lifestyle, which you can’t knock. But it would be good to start pushing the younger guys through while they are still hungry.
RCUK: Are British Cycling doing enough to help our young road riders?
JH: I think they are doing things right, and it’s working. It all takes time, like it did with the track. We will work in tandem with BC; that must be the main priority of our riders. We’re starting to get riders making it into Pro Tour teams, and that will continue to grow – and by the time the London Olympics come around I think we will have a good team. The same thing happened with the Australian Institute of Sport. With the track side of things leading the way, it is happening.
RCUK; Many of our readers will know very little about John Herety the bike rider – briefly tell us about him?
JH: As a junior I wasn’t particularly good, but started to improve rapidly as a senior. Then in 1980 I broke through with a stage win in the Peace Race and the Manx International. From there I went to the ACBB team in France, with Sean Yates. I won about 15 races that year, including 2 classics. That got me a contract with the Mercier pro team. I was national pro champion in 82, rode 3 years with Mercier and then another 4 years in the UK as a pro when things were at a high.