This past weekend, the Olympic velodrome in London hosted the latest round of the UCI Track World Cup, as thousands of fans were treated to three full days of world class track cycling. The British national women’s team took gold in the team pursuit event, with the British men’s team managing a respectable bronze.
A bigger story unfolded, however, at the UCI Track World Cup in London, as British riders were in fact on the top step of the podium. In a release to help explain, the new Team HUUB Wattbike noted… ‘It just appears that the host broadcaster seems to be overlooking the fact that the best team in pursuit cycling aren’t necessarily wearing the country’s colours.’
Team HUUB Wattbike is made up of three Brits, riding alongside an American who has adopted Derby in the East Midlands of England as his new home. With no funding from national federation British Cycling, and operating on a ‘shoestring budget’, the team are seeking to challenge convention within the world of track racing.
The self-titled ‘boys from Derbados’ have adopted the fictional country of Derbados as home, and draped the ‘country’s flag’ during the event presentation ceremony in London last week. The Derbados flag was unveiled at Derby Cathedral earlier in the week. Here, the promotional stunt ended with a photoshoot of the team demonstrating their best aerodynamic positions in the church pews.
This flag was flying around the track after the race, with the team joining in with the fun and celebrating by wearing their now custom cowboy hats, which match with pro rider Ashton Lambie’s extravagant moustache. The flamboyant American is seen as a perfect addition to the team, ‘bringing in bags of character, alongside some seriously impressive raw speed.’ (It’s also worth noting that he’s the current individual pursuit world record holder.)
The team, led by Dan Bigham, an engineer and aerodynamicist, are ‘leaving no stone unturned in the pursuit of greatness, and are making a laughing stock out of the national teams, many with multi-million pound budgets.’
The HUUB Wattbike team all operate out of a modest house-share and barely have enough to enable them to fly to track world cup events around the world.
Using cutting edge aerodynamic gear, and working in close collaboration with apparel specialist HUUB, the team adds that it is ’employing tactics that have never been seen before in track racing; this past weekend the team showed all the national teams how it’s done, beating Belgium in the final in front of a packed velodrome full of raucous home fans.’
The crowd in London last Friday, many of them proudly sporting the cowboy hats that the team have adopted after donning them on the podium earlier this season, were treated to an enthralling final. The Huub Wattbike team ultimately fought back from an early deficit to take victory, eventually winning by a comfortable margin. As a release from HUUB added, ‘Everyone in the stadium on Friday night knew that a British team won gold, even if that information seems to be being withheld from the wider public.’
London was a triumph for the team, but not exactly a surprise. They’ve been moving up the ranks throughout the year, with a silver medal in Canada giving some ‘proof that they could fight it out with the big boys.’ With two rounds left to go, in New Zealand and Hong Kong, the team sit second in the world rankings, just a handful of points behind Denmark and ahead of the British national team.
The release from HUUB adds that The Huub Wattbike team certainly aren’t showing any signs of slowing down…
‘With the Olympic games less than two years away, how long will it be before British Cycling accept that the best British riders on the track aren’t necessarily in their stable. If the trend continues, could we see a situation where we’re going into an Olympic year with the national side being beaten by a domestic outfit on a regular basis?’