American world record holder, Ashton Lambie, has joined the HUUB Wattbike test team in their quest for Track World Cup success.
Lambie, 27, has made the move from the rolling plains of Kansas to the East Midlands. And, as you’d expect from a member of the HUUB Wattbike test team (formerly known as Team KGF), his path to stardom has been less than conventional. In just two years, he went from gravel rider to 4km individual pursuit world record holder.
I caught up with team members Dan Bigham and Harry Tanfield, who are driving back from a mega three-hour training session at the Boardman Performance Centre. Hands-free, of course.
With a world record under his belt and a legendary moustache atop his lip, what brings him across the pond to join the HUUB Wattbike test team?
Team Principal Dan Bigham explains: “We’re losing Harry to Katusha-Alpecin on the World Tour after Berlin. We were keen to strengthen the team, particularly ahead of London. It’s such a key race for us, in our home nation, and we knew we needed to add an edge.
“When you’re faced with the opportunity to bring in a world-class rider, you can’t turn it down.”
IN AT THE DEEP END
After touching down in the UK less than 48 hours ago - and with under two weeks until the Berlin World Cup - how are they going to bring the Nebraskan-born rider up to speed?
“We’ve thrown him right into the deep end!” laughs Bigham. “His first session was a team pursuit.”
“He’s world class so doesn’t need a huge time to adapt. He had 10 minutes on the track - new kit, new bike - and jumped straight on. His personality and performance have slotted into the team really quickly.”
“He was meant to be riding at the back and ended up in the line,” adds Tanfield.
So besides his jetlag-dodging abilities, what can Lambie bring to HUUB Wattbike? “He can give us versatility for sure, especially important in the gruelling rounds of Berlin. Ashton is a strong rider and very switched on. He’s inquisitive and wants to get behind the numbers.”
Speaking of numbers…the question I’m sure we’re all thinking: the moustache. Bigham, the aerodynamic ace behind the team, admits it was the first question he asked when bringing Lambie aboard. “I said he’d need to shave it. But it’s an absolute no-go area.”
What could be more important than those marginal gains I ask? “His wife loves it." Ah. "The best we can do is tape over the thing!”
Taped up ‘tache or not, best of luck to Ashton Lambie and the HUUB Wattbike test team.
The team race in Berlin from Friday 30th November, returning for a week in Derby and then taking on London World Cup at the Lee Valley Olympic Velodrome on Friday 14th December.