Malta Team Managers Report

It was an honour to manage this Tour ta Malta team on so many levels. It was the first outing for the David McCall Cycling Foundation and I believe we delivered a performance with the commitment, attitude and self belief Davy would have been proud of. The emphasis was always on development for both squads of riders and I believe this experience has been massively beneficial in taking them all to the next level. Everyone was very proud to wear the Foundation shirts - and they were on show everyday. I honestly think David would have been very proud of us!! I also think this trip defined what the Foundation is all about.

The riders were second to none in their approach and preparation for the event and in the professionalism which they displayed both on and off the bike. I think this showed with the results the junior men in particular were achieving since the start of the season and was proven here. The team spirit and self belief in the camp was electric from the start, absolutely unshakable.


 



The attacking style, commitment and tactical approach really rocked the talented sponsored Italian and Sicilian teams, who thought they were going to dominate the event if they marked Ryan Connor out of the race. Of course, he was there as a coach and was very happy to draw their fire while our young guns caused mayhem and brought the race to life. We had agreed a very specific game plan, everyone played their part supremely well and delivered to the best of their considerable ability.

I would like to thank Ryan for his coaching work, both off the bike and during the race. This really settled the nerves and gave the riders the confidence and self belief to go on the attack at every good opportunity. The fact that the majority of these attacks either yielded results or set up the next Ulster attack was marvellous to watch and be a part of. The teamwork and tactics displayed were absolutely first class. Now I am really looking forward to seeing what Stuart Henry, Jonny Cole, Marcus Christie and Philip Bremner can do in the Irish Team in the Tour of the North. If they ride this well together again Brian Taffe will be a very proud Irish Team Manager at the finish.

Our women benefited from having the knowledge and experience of Mary Boyd as a Manager and tactician. Apparently she shouts encouragement, instructions and gave time checks louder than anyone else during a race. They also benefited from having the experience of both Kay Hack and Anne McFarland in the team leading relative new comers Hannah Francis, Louise Fullerton and Elle Forrest. Again, they all delivered in commitment and personal achievement. Kay found the kind of form which earned her 18th in her age group in the Half Ironman World Championships in late 2008 and Anne climbing as we all know she can. The Dutch Team, District Noord, were the strongest team there and took the first two places overall, but our 4th and 5th put us in with the best of the rest. Now the Women's Commission know what they have to do to compete abroad. A challenge for them, but a very achievable one. We are ready for the next generation to make an impact! Heather Wilson is a terrific talent but even she can't do it all by herself.

The Tour organiser Mr John Zammit, president of the Maltese Cycling Federation, made a point of personally coming to say goodbye to us before we left for the airport on Tuesday. He wanted to make sure we knew they wanted us to come again and inject the same life into the race as this year. He said our young team lit the race up from start to finish making it one of the most exciting in years. I guess this is the ultimate compliment.

I would like to thank Cycling Ulster, the David McCall Cycling Foundation and Sport NI for providing us with the resources which allowed us to deliver the first class support and backup to the team, which our athletes so richly deserved and appreciated. I hope and trust that this will be repeated many times in the future and that athlete development will continue to benefit as it has on this occasion.


 

 

On behalf of Mary and myself we would like to wish the riders every success through the rest of this season and beyond.

George Boyd