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20 Questions - Roger Hammond

Continuing on from last weeks interview with Madison Saracen team manager, Will Longden, this week to talk to Roger Hammond, team manager of Madison Genesis. One of the most successful UK riders of his generation, Roger has been involved with Madison Genesis since its inception and in this interview, he touches on the sometimes tricky transition from rider to manager, the teams plans for 2015 and the healthy rivalry with sister team, Madison Saracen.

What’s your nickname?

I never knowingly had one ;-)

How long have you been riding for?

I grew up in a cycling family so cycling has been part of my entire life, I did my first cyclocross race when I was 8.

It’s been a great year for Madison Genesis - it feels like this season you’ve capitalised on a fantastic debut year in 2013 and have solidified yourselves as a a major player on the domestic circuit. Do you think you’ve surprised some of the older, more established teams over the last couple of years?

I don't think we surprised them as much as we surprised ourselves! It has been a great project to have been part of so far and the best part of the project is there is so much more to be done!

You’ve been with Madison Genesis since the team’s inception and were integral in getting the team established, has it been a steep learning curve moving from rider to manager?

It has been a huge learning curve for me and continues to be so. As a rider I would just wait for the email letting me know what flight I had to catch. So long as I made it to the airport on time that was the extent of my organisational input, the rest was done for me. There are so many details, both major and minor, that I took for granted as a rider that ensure a happy and successful team that I only started discovering once I started with Madison Genesis.

What would you say was your career highlight?

Winning a world title in the UK

What’s your favourite event?

Paris Roubaix

Do you think the popularity of cycling in recent years is reflected in the spectator turn out at domestic races?

Definitely, 10 years ago at even the biggest races in the country the spectators were sparse. We just have to look at the Tour de France this year to see that there is a massive appetite to get out and watch bike races.

How much riding of your own do you still do?

Not as much as I should be doing!

What’s your favourite bit of kit?

Shimano Di2

Unlike most domestic outfits, you and the team are directly involved in the development of both the team bike and team kit – is this something you think helps to solidify the close-knit nature of the squad?

I definitely think it helps a lot. We are in the unique position that the team is so close to the brands supporting the team, with riders and staff having direct contact with the developers themselves.  The dialogue between the riders, staff and developers does give the team another common goal other than purely race results but I also feel it integrates the team into Madison as a company too. I know the riders really appreciate seeing their suggestions being integrated into new product with a very quick turn-around.

What does the off-season hold for you and the team?

The riders are taking a break at the moment to recover from the long season before the build up begins again for next year. For the staff we are fully into preparation mode for next year, setting up the team, preparing the equipment, calendar etc.

Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

Adri Van Der Poel, excelled at both the classics and Cyclo-Cross

Biggest indulgence?

As a rider - Belgian pastries!

What's your favourite destination?

Boulmer, Northumberland.

What can you not live without?

Outdoor, fresh air

What music are you listening to at the moment?

I've just discovered XFM

It’s quite a unique situation with Madison Genesis having a sister team in the form of the Madison Saracen mountain bike team. As a team that is following in their footsteps in many ways, does their success and progression act as a source of inspiration?

It most certainly does! When your sister team is a dominant force on a world level it would be hard not be inspired. We have a long way to catch them though, Will has does an impressive job.

The video output of the team offers a very raw look at what happens behind the scenes on race day, do you think this helps people feel more of a connection to the team?

We really hope so. Part of the ethos of the team is to be as accessible as possible and part of that is letting people follow our journey through the season. We hope that through the videos people can live the ups and downs with the team and perhaps relate to the experiences themselves. We also hope they give the opportunity to get to know the riders characters which can be interesting at times!

You’ve created a youthful squad with lots of potential for future progression – is the opportunity for nurturing fresh talent something that attracted you to the role?

Most certainly. I find it very rewarding to work with the younger riders, they are full of enthusiasm and eager to learn, watching their progression has given me great pleasure. I'm really looking forward to the day when I see a Madison Genesis rider competing at the highest level on television

What should we expect from Madison Genesis in 2015?

A great mix of riders - some remaining and some new faces - that will be exciting to watch race. Please join us for the journey!