CYCLING: Cadence and cake - sports editor joins racing team for one night only

The Andy Moore Autocentres Racing Team with sports editor Graham Smyth
The Andy Moore Autocentres Racing Team with sports editor Graham Smyth

Blink and you miss them, despite their bright yellow and blue jerseys.

The Andy Moore Autocentres Racing Team are a bunch of local cyclists who have made a dent on the regional racing circuit since the team’s 2014 formation.

Andy Moore is the man with the plan.

A racing cyclist himself, albeit now at the more senior end of the spectrum, Moore had some success in rally and fancied the idea of gathering talented local riders to wear the same blue and yellow that adorned his cars.

Based out of his Staveley premises, Moore set about signing up riders and backers for the fledgling outfit.

Perhaps his biggest coup was attracting the cycle retailer JE James, who have supplied top of the range bikes, when no one thought it possible to garner that level of investment at this level ofsport.

Now at the tail end of their second season, his team are reeling in impressive points hauls.

One of the not-so-well-kept secrets to their success is their Thursday night training session, on what are almost purpose built roads in Staveley.

The team, and a number of local club riders, amass at Moore’s garage, prepare their top of the range Giant TCR bikes and then head out onto the bypass.

Last Thursday I hopped on a Giant TCR that was ready and waiting for me, my name emblazoned on a frame sticker in the kind of little detail that perhaps separates this team from others.

Moore is meticulous, and wants the riders to focus on nothing but racing.

Drinks bottles are filled, bikes taken away and steam cleaned after races, riders are taken to circuits - they’re amateurs but the outlook is professional.

That said, the atmosphere in the garage before the ride was relaxed and casual.

Once on the road, a mile stretch between two roundabouts, the group eases into a series of warm-up laps.

Barely a car ventures onto this locally named ‘road to nowhere’ but the riders take safety seriously, lights beaming front, back and on helmets.

It really is an ideal training track, on a smooth surface with only a couple of gentle rises.

But it’s the pace that burns, not the incline, as team riders Andy Bishop, Xavier Scott, Adam Turner and Joel Candy happily chat while maintaining what is for them a comfortable cadence.

We practise a bit of ‘through and off’ in my first experience of group riding, and I don’t relish the extra effort needed to get from the back of the group to the front.

And then, all of a sudden, they’re gone.

The team riders speed off to do their thing, leaving the others to zip along at their own leisure.

They’re impressive athletes, at the top level of amateur sport, and the bikes they ride are incredible machines, light and responsive.

With a big race 48 hours away, and Turner eyeing a promotion to category one status, it’s not a big training night and cadence is swapped for cakes and coffee in the garage.

Moore is proud of what he’s built and all they’ve achieved so far, lining up against pros and the likes of Team Wiggins at major races.

But it’s unlikely he’ll rest on his laurels, and will want his blue and yellow jerseys on podiums alongside the very best in the not so distant future.