Guide to Pursuit Cycling with Andy Tennant | Gillette World Sport

Guide to Pursuit Cycling with Andy Tennant | Gillette World Sport

We’re on a film set with cyclist Andy
Tennant to break down the art of Team Pursuit. Andy Tennant is a professional track and road
cyclist whose past success has cemented his name among the world’s elite. Specialising
in the tactical pursuit events, he has numerous World and European Championship medals in
both the individual and team events. Team pursuit – it’s all about pacing. A lot
of the other track events are bunch races where there’s a large group of riders or match
sprint where you’re competing against other people at the same time and they can be next
to you; whereas team pursuit is more like a Time Trial. You know, it’s the fastest to
the line. Action! If you go too hard too early then you’re only
going to end up going slower over all, so precision is what you look for in that and
doing everything as close to perfection as you possibly can. The event’s only 3 minutes
and fifty seconds – that’s what we’re aiming for. So one small mistake and you lose half
a second, you know. We’ve lost the Worlds by a thousandth twice now, so very small mistakes
can cost you dearly. Pacing. Pacing is the key element and that’s
what really affects – it can win or lose you that bike race. If you start too quick, then
you’ll only slow down at the end and what we aim to do is to get up to speed as quickly
as possible and hold the same speed throughout the ride, and we only know that through training.
Every lap we’re trying to be to the tenth of a lap, so whether that be a 14’00” exactly
lap, you know, we’re trying to be very specific on that. And those are key elements in creating
the fastest team possible. The world’s best riders are separated by margins
of milliseconds, every single factor during a race must be precise and accurate even if
it doesn’t always look like it. Perfect isn’t pretty on a few different scales
for me. I don’t think the perfect ride will look pretty, and the fastest ride won’t be
a pretty ride. We try and look elegant on the track, but if you look at the minute details
the scrappiest team will probably end up winning because when you’re full gas you end up being
scrappy. The biggest thing that we’re trying to defeat
is aerodynamic drag really so everything is made just like a Formula 1 car, and we try
and get the fastest most aerodynamic kit – whether that be the bike, the wheels, all down to
the skin suit, the helmets we wear, the lenses on our helmets… The minute details are looked
at just like Formula 1. We’re looking for marginal gains you know…small
percentage in every area adds up. And if you get one percent in ten different areas, you’ve
got a 10% gain which is what we’re looking for Cycling is sort of renowned for having a sort of romance behind it. And being, sort of,
you suave round in Italy, sun, espressos; and living the dream, cruising down to the
beach. My life’s far from that I can assure you. We’re out in snow in December; I’ve probably
in the next three months got around 7 days in my own house. It’s showing the sacrifices
that you make, what you give up, the hours spent on the saddle, the pain you endure,
the fact that you’re basically in a permanently bad mood. You’re not a very nice person to
be around most of the time. But then it is a great laugh at the same time,
and you know, as soon as you stop enjoying it you won’t continue so I’m painting a bleak
picture but also you could point out that we’re eight lads on a big lads’ holiday, all
aiming for that same dream.

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