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Brother UK Cycling Podcast – Episode 9

Episode description

In episode nine of the Brother UK Cycling Podcast, co-hosts Timothy John and Phil Jones MBE, the Managing Director of Brother UK, are joined by members of a Brother UK-sponsored cycling team in a hurry. The elite Crimson Performance-Orientation Marketing squad are planning to make 2021 a season to remember.

Guests Matt Hallam, the team’s founder and owner, manager and rider, marquee signing Joey Walker, the reigning British Circuit Race Champion, and Melissa Greaves, rider and assistant manager of the Crimson Performance-Orientation Marketing team’s women’s squad, join Tim and Phil to discuss management, sponsorship, content, racing, Cumbria, Manchester and more.

Matt describes how his vision for the team has expanded since its foundation in 2018, his embrace of content and identity, attracting blue chip backers like Brother UK, Porsche and Rapha, and identifying and acquiring talented riders. Additionally, he shares the story behind the team’s “Dare To Dream” launch video.

Joey offers insights into his life as a professional cyclist, including support from accomplished father Chris, the disappointment of riding for teams that later folded, including Madison and Vitus, the attraction of a berth with Crimson Performance-Orientation Marketing, and his ambitions to enjoy success and longevity on the domestic scene.

Melissa describes how her role in the Crimson Performance-Orientation Marketing team’s women’s squad has expanded from rider to assistant manager, and explains how the skills behind the diverse job roles enjoyed by its team members – everything from medical doctor to sheep farmer – pays dividends in the heat of a race.

Listen now to enjoy a detailed but light-hearted conversation with the people at the heart of one of British cycle sport’s fastest-growing teams, and learn how leadership, dedication and a sense of “positive friction” are as essential to success in the elite domestic peloton as in a major business.

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Episode 9: “Crimson Rising”

Episode contents

  • 00.03 – Introduction
  • 00.36 – Coming up
  • 02.36 – Hello and welcome
  • 03.48 – Matt Hallam: the secret of running a successful cycling team
  • 10.15 – Melissa Greaves: building a successful women’s cycling team
  • 12.15 – Joey Walker: joining Crimson Performance-Orientation Marketing team
  • 14.16 – The ‘Dare To Dream’, the Lake District, and the value of content marketing
  • 19.41 – Landing the Rapha sponsorship and attracting new riders
  • 23.21 – Team building, management styles and “positive friction”
  • 26.05 – Signing a British champion: responsibilities for the team and for the rider
  • 30.39 – Equipment and sponsorship
  • 33.38 – Social shoutout

Transcript

Timothy John – 0.03

“If your passion lies in elite British road racing and you want an inside line on the teams, riders, organisers and sponsors that make this sport such a compelling spectacle, you’re in the right place.

“I’m Timothy John and joining me for every episode is my co-host, the Managing Director of Brother UK, Phil Jones.”

Phil Jones - 0.23

“Thanks, Tim. It’s great to be here. We’re going to use this platform to talk about all the key issues surrounding the sport. With special guests, deep dives into hot topics and plenty of chat, we’ll keep you informed about all things UK racing. Stay tuned!”

Timothy John - 0.36

“Coming up in this special edition to celebrate the launch of the Brother UK-sponsored Crimson Performance-Orientation Marketing team’s 2021 squad.

“We learn the full story behind the team’s epic launch video, ‘Dare To Dream’.”

Matt Hallam – 0.52

“I always had this idea about a rider dreaming of something epic: riding on local roads, in incredible scenery and rugged landscapes, and that was what we rolled with.”

Timothy John – 1.03

“We discover that the responsibilities of signing a British champion are shared by team and rider, and that early-season success builds a foundation of confidence.” 

Joey Walker – 1.14

“That comes with a responsibility from me to dig that big deeper. If someone’s putting their race on the line for you, yeah, it makes you go that bit deeper towards the end of the race for the result. The earlier the better we can pick up a result, I think you can build on that. It gives the team a big confidence boost.”

Timothy John – 1.30

“We hear how a women’s team comprised of medical doctors, fire fighters, sheep farmers and more has a broad range of skills to call upon in the heat of a race.”

Melissa Greaves - 1.41

“Even though we’ve all got very different jobs, all of our jobs require team-work and problem solving and good communication. If you’ve got that from a lot of different perspectives and you bring it together, that’s ideal in a race situation. If you are someone who easily communicates with people across every spectrum, then you’re going to do well as a team.”

Timothy John - 2.01

“And we learn why assembling a high-performance team, whether in the peloton or in the workplace, can be a complex and challenging task.”

Phil Jones - 2.10

“It’s a really tricky job to do. Getting team chemistry right is a big, big part of any business or cycling team’s output that they want. What you don’t want is one person who considers themselves bigger than the team, because ego gets in the way, it creates disharmony, people don’t want to ride for each other in the same way that in a business people won’t work for each other, or give each other their discretionary effort.”

Timothy John - 2.36

“Hello and welcome to this ninth edition of the Brother UK Cycling Podcast. Today, Phil and I are joined by a Brother UK-sponsored team in a hurry.

“This week, the Crimson Performance-Orientation Marketing team makes the long-awaited unveiling of its 2021 squad, its new kit, new sponsors and an exhilarating launch video.

“With four new sponsors, including Rapha, arguably the most desirable brand in the sport, four new signings for the men’s team, including the reigning British circuit race champion, and four new signings for the women’s team, the Manchester-based squad with a hotline to the Lake District, has expanded and strengthened, even under lockdown.

“Today, our guests are team owner, manager, rider and founder Matt Hallam; Joey Walker, the British circuit race champion, and Melissa Greaves, rider and assistant manager of the Crimson Performance women’s team.

“Matt, Joey, Melissa…thank-you very much indeed for joining us.”

Matt Hallam - 3.48

“Good intro, Tim, as ever!” [laughter]

Timothy John - 3.50

“Thanks very much indeed, Matt. You’re an obvious guy to start with. Crimson Performance-Orientation Marketing team is very much your baby. You launched the team back in 2018 as a vehicle to promote your bike fitting and power data analysis company, and to provide racing opportunities to riders in the North West.

“But since then, I think it’s fair to say that the team has expanded its ambitions. You’ve placed content and identity at the front and centre of your proposition to sponsors, and you’ve quietly assembled an impressive roster, both in the men’s and the women’s teams.

“We’re sat here now in, what, April 2021, four years after you and I first met at the Chorley Grand Prix. Does this year’s high-profile launch feel like a justification for all the hard graft or has it arrived more quickly than you might have imagined?”

Matt Hallam - 4.46

“Yeah, I think it’s a culmination of all the work we’ve put in over the past four years, and it’s just been such a success story for the team to go from a small regional team, and now we’re heading into a full-on assault on the National Circuit Series and National Road Series with an intent to win races.

“It’s evolved into something. I never thought it would grow into this. I never thought it would grow into this. It was always a pipe dream, I guess. Sometimes you succeed, sometimes you fail. We’ve really created a formula now that works so well for us, and year-on-year growth shows that we’re certainly going places. I’m excited about the future for the team.”

Timothy John – 5.25

“Phil, it’s a formula that you identified right at the outset. What first attracted you to Crimson Performance-Orientation Marketing as a proposition for Brother UK?”

Phil Jones - 5.35

“Well Matt and I already had a working relationship through a venture up in the North West that Matt was involved with and that I had some interest in, too. So I already knew Matt, and he’d always come across as a very detailed person: a great planner and a great communicator.

“So when he talked about his vision for where he wanted to take what was the team back then, I just knew that Matt had the general mindset, the capability, the competencies to go away and do the things that he said he was going to do. Really, it was a bit of a no-brainer for me: Matt was a fairly easy person to back in that process.

“I just wanted to ask you, Matt: we’re four years in, and I want to ask you what you’ve learned from three years of running the team now?”

Matt Hallam - 6.24

“Where do you start? The list is big! You make many mistakes along the way, and you always learn from those mistakes. What I’ve learned fundamentally is to always have the sponsors in mind with running the team. They are the financial backers allowing you to pursue this dream of where you want to take things, and without their support, it really is a non-starter.

“Fundamentally, return-on-investment is always our priority. Now, heading into the fourth year, we’ve got some incredible stuff lined up for sponsorship activation. That’s really one of the biggest things I’ve learned: to leverage our image and create content that really blows people away and still provides that outreach for sponsors in the process.

“Of course, I’ve learned so many other things doing this, now we’re heading into the fourth year. There’s been so many things I’ve had to learn and adapt to along the way. No one gives you the rule book for how to run a race team when you start. It really is a case of finding your feet in the process.

“Fortunately, I’ve had a really great group of riders. We’ve still got a core group of riders who’ve been in the team since the first year, and we’ve only ever lost one founding sponsors, and that’s incredible as well.

“So I think it’s a culmination of all these years now of grafting away, working our socks off. Like I said, we’ve found that formula and learned from those mistakes that were made initially. Hopefully, we’re a bit more competent at running things.”

Phil Jones - 7.56

“Matt, I think one thing that I want to feedback to you: obviously, I spend all my life running a business rather than running a cycling team, which is slightly different. But what I have observed in you, and I’m always slightly fascinated by what I call the winning pattern - what is it that allows people to be successful in certain environments? - and what I recognised in you is that you are becoming a model of what a team manager needs to be for the future of the sport.

“You’re understanding the role of content and that value is not simply about what happened on bikes and on the road anymore; it’s the value beyond that.

“The second thing that I’ve identified is that you’re always looking for new sponsors. You’re always on the lookout. You’re creating time to look, so rather than waiting until the end of the season and saying, ‘Oh dear, we ought to do something about sponsorship,’ you’re always working on it, which is really, really good. Plus, you’re running the cycling team and thinking about its branding and motivating the riders and the race programme and all of those practical things.

“So those three pillars, in my experience and in my view, are now very important attributes and part of the skillset and competencies of someone who wants to run a successful cycling team in 2021 and beyond needs to have.”

PAUSE

Phil Jones - 9.16

“You’re not going to disagree with that, I’m sure!” [laughs]

Matt Hallam - 9.17

“What else can I say there? Ultimately, you have to throw yourself into the process of managing a team and everything that goes with it. It is a hard graft. It’s been a lot of work to get to where we are.

“And it’s not just me: it’s everyone else. We’ve got Melissa on the call as well, who looks after the women’s side of things so well. I’ve got Adam MacRae, who helps me so much with the creative side, and a plethora of other people behind me who prop me up, doing this. It’s just that I’m the face of the team, in that regard, being the manager. I guess I can’t take all the credit for that, because I am propped up by so many amazing people behind me.

“It is a case of throwing yourself into it, immersing yourself in it and realising that it is a significant job, growing a race team. You’re doing it on goodwill for most of the time, which is a tricky one to absorb as well.”

Timothy John - 10.15

“Well, let’s bring Melissa into the conversation. Melissa, as Matt says, you are one of the people who helps him to run this team. Specifically, you help him to run the women’s team, and that’s an expanded squad for 2021. Tell us about how you became involved with Crimson Performance and how your role has developed from rider to rider and assistant manager.

Melissa Greaves - 10.37

“It was quite a natural thing, really. I’d been on a team that was based in London, and I was struggling with feeling a bit isolated from the rest of the team. Crimson was like ‘the northern team’.

“I think it was at the end of 2019, they wanted to step up a level from a development team to more of a team that was going to race the National Series and events like that.

“I got involved through my friend Sophie, who’s still on the team. We decided, ‘We’re friends with Laura. Let’s make this more of a friendly thing.’ I think women’s cycling can be a bit…It’s not the friendliest place. I think we wanted to set-up something that is really approachable and not intimidating to newer riders.

“How I got involved with being the helper or manager of the women’s team: I was doing the RAS event in Ireland. On the second stage, I got a concussion. I was sat around for weeks, and Jess, who was the manager before me, she asked to come along and interview some potential new riders, just to get me out of the house.

“And then a few weeks later, I think it was, Jess decided that it wasn’t for her anymore. I think she’d seen that I was happy to take on that role. I met up with Matt, and you could really see his passion for the team: how he wanted to build it up. I just thought, as someone who had been on other teams and had seen how things could be improved, given that opportunity to make it my own a little bit and do the things I would have wanted to do in other teams, that was quite a good thing. So, yeah, it’s been quite a good opportunity.

Timothy John - 12.15

“And Joey, what attracted you to Crimson Performance? You are their first British champion. It’s a big signing for Crimson. It must be a big move for you too?”

Joey Walker - 12.21

“Yeah, definitely. The past two teams I’ve had now, I think, they’ve both unfortunately folded. It was late last year, coming from Vitus Pro Cycling, I was obviously open to see what teams were about.

“The main thing with Crimson and with Matt was that they really made me feel wanted. Other teams, who I was in discussions with or stuff like that, they were making it difficult, whereas Matt was doing everything he could to get me on board and join the team. That was probably the big incentive to join. And he’s got vision for the future. By [me] joining, it might help to develop the team to the next level, you never know.”

Timothy John - 13.10

“We were talking earlier Joey, off-air, weren’t we, just before we were recording, about your history in the sport and your family’s history in the sport. Your father, Chris Walker, was a tremendous professional of the 1980s and 1990s. Your sister Jessie represented Great Britain at a world championships, riding in support of Lizzie Deignan. Cycling is very much in your blood.

Joey Walker - 13.31

“Yeah, definitely. I mean, it was probably inevitable that I was going to start cycling, but there was never any pressure when I was a youngster. It was more, just enjoy the bike ride and what will be will be.

“It was actually when I went to watch the Lincoln GP with my dad. We’re really good friends with Russ Downing. Everyone stood on Michalegate was shouting: ‘Go on, Russ! Go on, Russ!’ My dad just turned to me and said: ‘That could be you one day.’ That really stuck with me. Funnily enough, I’ve been in the break at Lincoln and it was me, so it was kind of full-circle.

“That moment with my dad really made me want to start cycling and racing, so it was nice.”

Timothy John - 14.16

“Matt, you teased us at the beginning of the call, almost unintentionally, I think, by saying: ‘We’ve always focussed on content, and we’ve got some incredible content lined up for 2021.’

“Forgive me, I’m going to jump to this topic already, because it’s such a brilliant film: the ‘Dare To Dream’ edit that you’ve put together with film-maker Joe Cotterill and with Adam McRae, which people will see today, I think, on April 26, when it goes live.

“Tell us all about that: it’s set in the Lake District and ‘inspirational’ really isn’t the word.”

Matt Hallam - 14.53

“We went to the drawing board when we thought about the potential of doing a Rapha launch film. We needed to make something incredible. We spent weeks deciding the direction in which we wanted to take the film. I always had this idea about a rider dreaming of something epic, where they were riding on local roads, in incredible scenery and rugged landscapes, and that was what we rolled with.

“I’m no creative genius. It was just an idea, but we created this epic storyboard and Joe did an absolutely incredible job in pulling it all together, because it was bit of a scramble on the day to do it. Bear in mind that there were three of us - just three people on the day who actually made this happen - and I think we captured things perfectly.

“We got up at 5.30am for the sunrise on the top of Newlands Pass: an incredible sunrise and minus 10-degrees with the windchill. Poor Adam was in his cycling kit, riding up and down. People must have thought we were crazy.

“We actually got access inside Honister Slate Mine, as well. We were filming inside a mountain: inside a working mine, so thank-you to Honnister Slate Mine for allowing us access to that. So all of these things just clicked on the day, and we knew we were going to get something special because it was an incredible day that really showcased the Lake District in all its glory, and I really hope that the film inspires people to pick up their bikes and get out and go and explore and head up to the Lake District and check out the riding that we have. It’s only an hour away from Manchester, which obviously is Brother UK’s home base.

“I’m really pleased. The feedback has been so positive, so far.”

Timothy John - 16.40

“It kind of unites the two thread of this conversation, doesn’t it? The content side speaks for itself. You say that three people were involved in filming. If you told me 300, I’d believe you. It’s an epic, epic film.

“But equally, on the commercial side, on the sponsorship side, the Lake District is important to Crimson Performance, isn’t it? It’s a relationship that you’ve cultivated.

“Tell us about how you’ve brought all of that together.”

Matt Hallam - 17.08

“We are a team that was founded in Manchester, and we have a lot of sponsors who are based over here. Brother UK’s base is over in Ashton-Under-Lyme. We also have quite a few sponsors based in Cumbria as well, in the Lake District: Porsche Centre, Kendal and Hazelbank Country House, for example.

“So we’ve always had a connection with the Lake District. I work from Push Cartel, which is based in Ambleside. They’re a technical sponsor to the team, as well. Adam, the assistant manager on the men’s team, is an incredible asset to me because he knows those roads like the back of his hand. That’s his backyard.

“So we have a very strong connection with the Lake District, and, on a personal level, I just love going there. There’s a sense of freedom; a sense of adventure. I just hope that people can access it a bit more on a bike because the amount of clients I speak to who come to see me for bike fits in Manchester, who have never ridden their bikes in the Lake District, and I want to change that. Maybe they’ll have their best ever ride there, and will never forget it. I want to inspire people to check out those roads.

Phil Jones - 18.19

“Matt, can I just quickly tell you my last memory of riding in the Lake District? I’d only been riding for 12 months and somebody offered me a free ticket into a sportive called, ‘The Fred Whitton’.

“I was a new cyclist, and I thought: ‘Oh, that sounds really nice. What is it? A 100-mile sportive. Oh, I’ll have a go at that.’ And I turned up to do the Fred Whitton sportive with about 48-hours’ notice.

“I’m still bearing the scars from that day, Matt!”

Matt Hallam - 18.48

“The mental scars?” [laughs]

Phil Jones - 18.50

“That particular day, I think I had every weather system in the known universe come to the Lake District. I had an electrical storm, snow, sleet, freezing cold rain. I think to finish that day was quite something, but I did remember, my goodness, when the sun was shining, it really was God’s own country. It was epic.

“I’d really like to go back there, Matt, obviously when I’ve lost a few kilograms, Matt. I might have the power, but I certainly need to improve my power-to-weight ratio. But I’d love to go back, and I think maybe your film could be the catalyst for that.”

Matt Hallam - 19.23

“That would be awesome, and that’s an achievement for us. I’m speaking for Joey here: we had all those weather systems on the day we did our photoshoot with Joey on Honnister Pass, as well. At one point, Joey, we had snow up there, didn’t we? It was crazy.”

Joey Walker - 19.39

“And then the next minute, the sun was out!”

Timothy John - 19.41

“It sounds like you owe Joey and Adam more than one beer, Matt, for creating all of this content for you! But there’s another, more serious side here, isn’t there? By making a film for one of your sponsors, you landed this new and next, big sponsor. Tell us about that.”

Matt Hallam - 20.00

“We had an opportunity to work with Porsche Centre, Kendal on the Porsche Taycan launch; the Taycan e-car launch. We again went across to Joe and produced a storyboard around what we could do for them and put together a really nice, cinematic film that showcased the car and brought the element of cycling into it.

“It just happened to be that the creative team at Rapha clocked onto the film. They liked it so much that it created a conversation around a potential partnership into this year, which obviously we explored. The next thing we knew is that we’d signed a deal with Rapha for 2021.”

Timothy John - 20.40

“Wow, so actually by making that film, it helped you to land Rapha as a sponsor. 

“Melissa, from the women’s side of the sport, for the women’s team, how valuable is Crimson Performance’s identity, its perception. How valuable is that to you in the recruitment process, bringing on-board new riders and inspiring women into the sport?”

Melissa Greaves - 21.03

“| think it was massive. Even though Crimson didn’t have the strongest riders in the women’s side of things, they always had the nicest kit. They always looked the most professional. I think, as a rider, looking for a team, that’s something you do look for, because you want to feel confident in the kit that you’re wearing. You want to be representing a brand and stuff like that, so that was really important to us, and that enabled us to get Mary Wilkinson on-board.

“She was friends with a few of us, and she really liked the branding and thought it looked really pro, so that’s what got us quite a big-named rider onto the women’s team.”

Timothy John - 21.39

“Well, you’ve ticked a box for me there, Melissa, because, having read your email, I was thinking, ‘Well, who is the sheep farmer on Crimson Performance?’”

Melissa Greaves - 21.49

“Yeah, that’s Mary.”

Timothy John - 21.51

“You might have solved that mystery for me!

“The women’s team is a group of women with some diverse and interesting job roles, outside of the sport. Tell us a bit about that.”

Melissa Greaves - 22.03

“We’ve got a doctor, which is Sophie. We’ve got a firefighter. We’ve got the Team GB Paralympic Head Ski Coach, in Jo. Then you’ve got me: I just work in an office, so I’m really boring compared to everyone else. And we’ve got a couple of students as well, and a sheep farmer. We’ve got people from different backgrounds, different ages, but when we come together it’s almost like a family already. It’s a really close-knit group. It’s nice.”

Timothy John - 22.32

“How does that mix of life experience benefit the team? I’ve spoken before about this, to people like Rebecca Durrell, for example: slightly more mature, more experienced riders, who’ve seen a bit of life outside of the endless slog from one training camp to the next. Their experience is really helpful in building camaraderie. How does that help your team?”

Melissa Greaves - 22.59

“Yeah, even though we’ve all got very different jobs, all of our jobs require team work and problem solving and good communication. If you’ve got that from a lot of different perspectives and bring it together, that’s ideal in a race situation. If you’re someone who easily communicates with people across every spectrum, then you’re going to do well as a team.”

Timothy John - 23.21

“Phil, you’ve spoken before about the necessity of ‘positive friction’, about getting the right mix of personalities in a working environment. Tell us a bit more about that”

Phil Jones - 23.31

“Yes, I guess like anything, in fact, I’d be interested in Joey’s view on this. I’d like to come to you in a moment, if that’s alright, Joey. You’ve obviously ridden in your career to date for Wiggins, you’ve ridden for Madison, you’ve ridden for Vitus, so you’ve been in very different environments, I guess; working with different people, different team set-ups, different management styles.

“Normally, when you’re running a business or any high-performance team, you do need that positive friction, in order to continue to improve and grow. If you work too much on harmony - too far to the left on just having harmony - then you may not always get the performance that you need.

“It’s actually about having the team working cohesively as one, taking into account all the various different contributions that every individual brings, providing that is always about the team, about the performance, about the output, and then each individual still needs to have their own characteristic or capability and identity in the team, in order for that to work together.

“It’s a really tricky job to do: getting team chemistry right is a big, big part of any business or cycling team’s output that they want. What you don’t want is one person who considers themselves bigger than the team, because then the ego gets in the way, it creates disharmony, people don’t want to ride for each other, in the same way that in a business people won’t work for each other, or give each other their discretionary effort.

“So I just wondered, Joey, thinking back to your career in the domestic cycling scene so far, what are the characteristics of some of the best teams you’ve ridden for, i.e. when it works and it gels and you get that flow of performance.”

Joey Walker - 25.09

“Yeah, I agree with everything you just said there, where, as a team as whole, you need to be bouncing off each other, and, as whole motivated.

“I mean, Team Wiggins, when I was on that, that was quite a young team, so we were all hungry for that win, but you wouldn’t mind who it was who took the win.

“But, for example, in Madison, obviously we were told half-way through the year, I think it was just before the Tour of the Reservoir, that the team was folding, and then a lot of the older riders knew that they were retiring at the end of the year. That really put a downer on the team, and towards the end of the year, it was only me and Joe Laverick, who’s another young lad, who really wanted to race hard.

“So, yeah, it’s definitely motivation to race in a team as a whole that I’d say is the best environment.”

Phil Jones - 26.05

“And obviously now that you’re coming over to Crimson, and obviously you’re coming over in the national circuit race champion’s jersey, which is absolutely fantastic. I’m looking forward to seeing that kit, Matt. When’s that getting delivered?

Matt Hallam - 26.18

“That one’s going to be arriving in May, and we’ll get some special content together with Joey for that as well.”

Phil Jones - 26.26

“So how has that changed the team dynamic, Matt, from your side? I know that you’ve ridden The Tour Series in the past, but suddenly the game has changed a little bit now that you’ve got Joey on the squad, because of course you’ve got the national circuit race champion in the squad. So how’s that meant that you’ve configured the squad differently to approach 2021 and 2022 to really support Joey in his ambitions to really get out there and win some of these important crits?”

Matt Hallam - 26.54

“Yeah, of course Joey comes with a palmares of winning races at this level, and having a team that can support Joey to achieve that end goal of being back on the podium is super-important for us.

“I can confidently say that the squad we’ve got for the Elite Circuit Series and The Tour Series, hopefully we’re going to take it to these Conti teams and mix it up, disrupt it this year. It would be great to see Joey on the podium, or hopefully get his hands in the air, winning bike races again after almost 16 months away from the scene.

“And, you know what? Maybe one or two of the other riders might get up there too.”

Timothy John - 27.27

“It’s almost a double-edged sword, isn’t it? It’s a tremendous honour to have the national champion in your squad, to have that jersey with your logos on it, but I guess a responsibility comes with that too: you’ve got to give Joey the support he needs to perform.”

Matt Hallam - 27.42

“Absolutely. We do have big squad this year. In the men’s team, we’ve got 15 riders. But it’s almost like a split squad in that sense, where quite a lot of that 15-man group is specifically tailoring their training for performance in crits. So it allows us then to target races with the pure intent of winning, rather than trying to do everything. Getting riders who can go and get a result in a National Road Series race and then turn up to Otley Grand Prix and win is a tricky one. Those rouleurs are hard to find.

“It’s really giving riders the goals to achieve. Certain riders on the team, all they’ll be doing is criteriums this year. That’s their training focus. They’re hungry for results in those races, so they can tailor their training perfectly for that, rather than having a group of 15 guys who are all training to do everything. It’s hard to deliver that performance when that’s the case. You need to be very specific when you’re turning up and racing against full-time riders.”

Timothy John - 28.48

“What reassurance does that give you, Joey, to know that you’ve got this dedicated squad of crit specialists training solely for the crits to support your efforts?”

Joey Walker - 28.58

“Yeah, it’s a big confidence boost. I think that comes with a responsibility from myself to dig that bit deeper. If someone’s putting their race on the line for you in a lead-out, for example, or covering moves early on, yeah, it makes you go that bit deeper towards the end of the race for the result.

“I think going back to our earlier conversation, as soon as…I think the earlier the better we can pick up result, I think you can build on from that and it gives the team a big confidence boost to say, we can do it, and I hope I can bring that to the team and to the other riders.”

Phil Jones - 29.35

“Joey, a quick question about why you haven’t gone abroad. A lot of riders, I think even Joe Laverick is abroad now, and many others are trying to pursue their careers not in the UK, and you’ve chosen to stay in the UK, so will you just tell us why?”

Joey Walker - 29.52

“Yeah, so, obviously when I was younger, you aspire to be in the Tour de France and stuff like that. Obviously, on Team Wiggins, that was the same. Then I had quite a bad crash in the Tour of Britain towards the back end of, it would have been 2018. My confidence did take a big hit. I’ve built that back over time, obviously with winning the crit champs and stuff like that.

“I’ve sort of realised over time that if I can make a career out of racing in the UK, I’d be happy with that. Riders in the past, like Kristian House, for example, he had a good ten years doing what he loved in the UK and was successful. At the end of the day, I just want to be happy racing bikes and that’ll do me.”

Phil Jones - 30.39

“Matt, talking of bikes, have you got a bike brand? Who’s your bike brand for 2021?”

Matt Hallam - 30.46

“We’re on Cipollini frames this year, and again, it’s all about trying to get the best kit that you possibly can for your riders. We’ve managed to source a deal with Paligap, who are the B2B dealers for Cipollini in the UK. We’ve got something pretty special on the way from Italy: custom paint, navy and gold.

“Again, that was a risk for us, because we had all our Cinelli team bikes ready to go again, but we’re constantly pushing things. I’m after any potential gain that I can leverage to grow this team; I’m after it, so I’m going to take it.

“I know it’s a risk to go and change all the team bikes without having raced on them once, but I’ve done that. It’s a stressful process, because we’re still waiting for them now.

“It’s the same with the kit as well, Phil, because we’ve changed from LeCol to Rapha. That was another risk that we took, but I say all these risks are worth pursuing in the end, because the image of the team is  elevated when you’re on something special like a custom Cipollini.”

Phil Jones - 31.43

“That’s absolutely fantastic Matt, and obviously I’ve been very lucky in that you’ve sent me a piece of this lovely Rapha kit, and I’m just wondering when my Cipollini bike might turn up. It’s a 56cm if you remember is what I’m after. I’m sure they’ll be a lovely presentation at some point in the future, which will be great!

“Joey, can I quickly ask you a question: I saw a picture on Instagram of you riding your dad’s old Falcon Banana that he used to race in the Milk Race, which you’ve just had resprayed and rebuilt. Is that right?”

Joey Walker - 32.16

“Yeah, It’s something that’s been sat in a shop for a while now, and it’s been looking pretty tired and run down. I’ve been meaning to do it for a while. This year was the perfect opportunity, with the extra time. I got it resprayed and built up, and I’ve got it in the garage now for when I need to head to the café looking cool!”

Phil Jones - 32.38

“That looks absolutely awesome. So Matt, you’re denying now the comeback for the Falcon Banana race frames for Crimson Performance for the 2022 season, are you?”

Matt Hallam - 32.45

“Well, maybe we can get Joey on that for one of the rounds of The Tour Series, and see how he goes!”

Phil Jones - 32.51

“That would be absolutely awesome.

“What’s the difference Joey between riding that bike and riding a modern bike. Tell us, for the aficionados, what’s the difference between the ride you had on that bike and your team bike?”

Joey Walker - 33.02

“Yeah, I mean, obviously the main difference is the gearing, I’d say. It’s gearing that would break your back on that bike. There’s no compact in sight. I was surprised how well it rode. It was a comfy ride, actually. I think it’s got one of those Brooks saddles on it, which are like an armchair!”

Phil Jones - 33.24

“Absolutely fantastic. Please give your dad my best. Obviously, he was a very accomplished road racer and winner of the Milk Race. I think it was five stages he took in the Milk Race back in the day. Really amazing.”

Timothy John - 33.38

“Well said, Phil. I mean certainly Joey is continuing a fine tradition of Walkers at the sharp end of British road racing.

“As usual, it seems, we’ve covered a lot of ground and barely scratched the surface. The 2021 incarnation of the Brother UK-sponsored Crimson Performance-Orientation Marketing team is clearly ready to roar back into action. The Otley Grand Prix, which is the opening race of this year’s National Circuit Series, to be held on June 30, is ringed in red on the team’s calendar, and on Joey’s especially. Along with the Sheffield Grand Prix, it’s almost a home event for the British circuit race champion.

“Let’s round up this episode in our usual fashion with our social shoutout, where we let you, the listener, know where you can find our guests on social media. Matt, let’s start with you.”

Matt Hallam - 34.31

“Yeah, so you can find us on Facebook @wearecrimsonperformance. On Instagram, it’s just @crimsonperformance, and on Twitter, you need to type in @crimsoncycling. The website’s crimsonperformance.com, if you want to check out our new, fancy race team page, which is really smart, so definitely worth checking that out. “

Timothy John - 34.52

“That’s great, thank-you. And how about you, Melissa: where can people find you on social media?”

Melissa Greaves - 34.57

“My Instagram is just @melissagreaves, and my Twitter is @melissaruth18mg.”

Timothy John - 35.04

“Thank-you. And Joey, where can people find you on social media?”

Joey Walker - 35.10

“Yeah, on Twitter and Instagram, it’s both @joeywack.”

Timothy John - 35.14

“W-A-C-K?”

Joey Walker - 35.15

“W-A-C-K, yeah.”

Timothy John - 35.16

“Brilliant, thank-you. And finally Phil, where can people find you on social media?”

Phil Jones - 35.20

“The best place to find me is probably on Twitter for cycling-related matters, @roadphil. If you do have a bit of business on your mind at any time, you can find me @philjones40.

Timothy John - 35.32

“That’s great, thank-you. And we do hope you’ll follow Brother Cycling, we’re @brothercycling on all three channels.

“Matt, Joey, Melissa, Phil, thank-you very much indeed for joining us today. It’s going to be a huge week for Crimson Performance, with the unveiling of the 2021 squad, their new sponsors, and their new kit. Make sure that you’re following all of these people on social media.

“Thank-you very much again for listening, and stay safe.”

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