LONDON-PARIS Stories – How the race was won: G!RO Cycles
G!RO Cycles: Team Competition Winners 2015
Jordan Addison talks about his experience on the HotChillee LONDON-PARIS 2015, how his team won the Team GC and describes an unexpected detour into a cornfield.
Can you introduce yourself, tell us what you do and why you decided to enter the HotChillee LONDON-PARIS ride?
I’m Jordan Addison, the owner of Giro Cycles in Esher. We’ve been open for seven years now and, along with serving great coffee and food, we’re a hub for cyclists in the Surrey Hills. We’ve been good friends with HotChillee for a while and, after my business partner Neil rode LONDON-PARIS and loved it, we decided to put a team in. I’d also ridden Stage One in 2013 and 2014 so knew what an amazing event it was.
How did you pick your team?
I took great pride in giving myself the role of Directeur Sportif and then I just selected three of the strongest riders I knew and planned to let them do all the work.
Josh – the manager at the café and I started talking about it in the January. At the time we were working with a US bike brand Argonaut which bought onboard another strong rider – Ben. We’d then originally intended for my business partner Neil to ride but, with just four weeks to go, he had to pull out. Fortunately though we were able to draft in a guy called Niall who had a couple of London to Paris rides under his belt.
Did you do any specific training?
We were all experienced cyclists so the daily distances weren’t too much of a concern but we wanted to make sure our legs were fresh for the race segments so we all put some decent miles in – actually, my teammates wanted to make sure their legs were fresh, I just wanted to get to the end!
The race sections felt longer than the 5-10km they were and, in hindsight, doing some intervals of this sort of length probably would have been useful. However we didn’t sign up for the event to win it, the racing was secondary to the overall amazing experience and we had a blast.
How do you know where the race sections are?
You’re given a road-book so you know exactly where the race sections are, how long they are and the terrain. However you just get a sense of when they’re coming up because the group goes quiet, the laughing stops, people start trying to position themselves and it gets a bit more serious.
Was the racing tactical?
Some race tactics definitely come into play. We’d done really well on the first day and so felt like marked men after that. A typical LONDON-PARIS stage is knocking on for 200km and the race section is only a tiny proportion of it but that’s what makes it exciting and fun. Every kilometre of racing really counts and the time gaps tend to be really tight between the teams.
Did your tactics always go to plan?
Not entirely! The was a section through some cornfields. Both Ben and Niall were feeling strong and so decided to hit out early and see if they could get away. Niall was burying himself leading Ben out – in the red, chewing his stem and not really looking where he was going. The road went round to the right but Niall went straight on and into the field. When we came along a few minutes later he was extracting himself from the crop – he was fine and had a massive smile on his face!
It sounds like the racing is fun rather than deadly serious
Definitely. The racing is a small part of the event and, although some teams take it fairly seriously and you get to give your legs a good thrashing, the main thing with the HotChillee LONDON-PARIS ride is the sense of camaraderie in your team, your group and the event as a whole. The HotChillee Ride Captains do a brilliant job of keep the group together, making sure everyone is enjoying themselves and really encourage you to get to know the others riders in your group.
What was rolling into Paris like knowing you’d won?
The Team GC win, the trophy and the champagne were just the cherry on the top of an amazing sense of achievement cake! About 30km outside of Paris, the whole ride came together and we rolled into Paris as one big HotChillee peloton. The atmosphere was incredible and, with motorcycle outriders, closed roads, going past the Eiffel Tower, a truly memorable experience – the party that evening was pretty great too!
Any tips for riders and racers planning to take part in 2021?
The priority should be putting in the miles and being confident about the daily distances you’ll need to cover. Put in some back to back days nearer to the event to get your legs ready for this.
Mostly though, enjoy it and, even if you’re racing, soak up the event atmosphere and make friends. Even if we hadn’t won it wouldn’t have taken anything away from the overall experience.