PezCycling News - What's Cool In Road Cycling : Alex Braybrooke Gets PEZ’d

Alex Braybrooke Gets PEZ’d
Rider Interview: Ed Hood has been catching up with some of the 'Young Guns' of British cycling, all helped to live their dreams by the Dave Rayner Fund. Next up is Alex Braybrooke who will be returning to Aix-en-Provence in France to build on his successes of 2017.


Jos Ryan at the David Rayner Fund recently released the list of young riders who will receive support for season 2018 from the fund. Here’s what the Fund say about their organization:

  1. "Dave Rayner began his career as a cyclist in the same way as many of today’s aspiring juniors, racing in the UK and demonstrating his talent on the domestic racing scene, taking the 1984 National Junior Road Race championship. Dave faced a stark choice at that point in his career, to stay at home and pursue a career in the UK, or to eschew home comforts (remember, these are the days before the internet, mobile phones and widely spoken English) and pursue a career by winning his way to a pro contract against the best European amateurs on their own turf. Dave took the latter choice and signed up to ride for the G.S.Porcari-Fanini-Berti Team where his alumni included Mario Cipollini and from there his career flew, reaching its peak with a stint in the leading Buckler Team, who today would be part of the World Tour.

    After his tragic death, the cycling community wanted to support his memory by giving other young riders the chance to follow in Dave’s footsteps and since then over £600,000 in grants have been given to riders to enable them to race abroad. Among the riders supported have been Dave Millar (one of the very first recipients of a grant), through to more recent champions like Adam Yates."

We thought it would be good to sample a few of their stories and ambitions. We previously spoke to George Jary, Adam Lewis, Stevie Williams and now Alex Braybrooke.

Aix-en-Provence will be home for another year to 20 year-old Alex Braybrooke from Wilmslow.

PEZ: Alex, you're a Rayner man, how influential has the fund been on your career thus far?
Alex Braybrooke:
The fund has allowed me to follow the path I have chosen to follow, simply without them I wouldn’t have the opportunity to race my bike abroad for what will be the third year in 2018.


PEZ: The HMT Academy team in 2015, tell us about that experience.
Yes, as a junior I rode for HMT, it was the junior off shoot from the JLT Condor professional team.
I am forever grateful to Mark and Tony at HMT, the support they gave me as a junior was unbelievable.
The team gave me an insight into racing abroad and I have many great memories from my time there!

PEZ: The team has folded - that must be a little saddening for you?
Yes, it’s sad to see because the guys at the team had so much passion for developing young riders.


PEZ: You had some strong results there - 2nd in the Junior Tour of the Basque Country and 1e in Signal d’Ecouves.
Yes, I was able to get up there and in the mix; as well as finishing second overall I held the yellow jersey for a spell in the Basque Country Tour.


PEZ: Lotto 2016 - that must have been quite an experience, how did the ride come about - but no renewal for 2017?
I enjoyed my time there and learnt a lot as a 1st year U23 at Lotto. I did a lot of different styles of racing, and developed a lot on and off the bike. The year didn’t end too well, with breaking my arm in a crash at the start of September and then not being kept on by the team. That was a difficult time as didn’t have much to show for my season, so was back in the UK trying to find a team through phone calls and emails.

PEZ: How did you find the step up from junior to U23?
Yes, for sure the step up is difficult, especially if you get put in at the deep end riding UCI class .2 races.


PEZ: AVC Aix-en-Provence was your team, last year, how did that ride come about?
I had some contact with the team back when I was a junior, so gave them a ring at the end of 2016 when I was looking for a new team. Fortunately they were still keen, and everything worked out.

PEZ: Was there a culture shock, Belgium to France?
Both yes and no. Yes, because in France you have to be more independent than In Belgium, for example I’m the only Rayner ride for miles, whereas in Belgium there is a bit of a cycling bubble. Also here cycling is only really loved in July... by the vast majority. But then no, because at the end of the day you’re a bike rider surrounded by bike riders.


PEZ: How did season 2017 go for you?
I was happy with my progress in 2017. I was a lot stronger than the year before and had many situations that I look back on and think if I had done this or done that maybe I can win. This gives me confidence going forward into 2018.

PEZ: And back to AVC for 2018?
Yep, back in France. The team has a really great mix of races from some pretty savage amateur racing to more well-known stuff like Tours de Savoie and Alsace. The team has a pretty ‘laissez faire’ approach to racing, meaning there are plenty of opportunities to get my name up there.


PEZ: Where's 'home' en France?
Aix-en-Provence, which I must say now genuinely feels like home. I live about two kilometers from the Service Course, so I have got to get everyone at the club/team really well.

PEZ: How's the language coming along?
Yeah great. It was difficult to start, I had no previous of French so trying to communicate to a directeur or mechanic who’s English is non-existent proved challenging. However I picked some bits up pretty quickly and by the end of the year was confident voicing my opinion in team meeting , etc.


PEZ: It must have been a wee bit of a come down from your Lotto Ridley with Campag electronic to a Canyon on Chorus - or are you not a big 'equipment man?’
For me, you can’t be picky with what you ride when you’re an amateur.

PEZ: How have you spent the winter - when do you head back to France?
I didn’t have a great start to the winter, cracking my pelvis in two places a MTB cash at the start of October. But all is good now and I am already out in France preparing for the fast approaching season.


PEZ: Are you still with TrainSharp; if not what's the situation re. coaching?
I was coached by the guys at Trainsharp for two years, however felt I needed to freshen things up bit so changed and turned to good friend Chris Pyatt half way through last year.

PEZ: 2018 is about. . .
Trying to win bike races.


# PEZ wishes the man well with his objective and you can find out more about the Dave Rayner Fund HERE. #

Thanks to all the photographers.

Alex Braybrooke Rider Video - HMT Academy in 2015:

It was November 2005 when Ed Hood first penned a piece for PEZ, on US legend Mike Neel. Since then he's covered all of the Grand Tours and Monuments for PEZ and has an article count in excess of 1,600 in the archive. He was a Scottish champion cyclist himself - many years and kilograms ago - and still owns a Klein Attitude, Dura Ace carbon Giant and a Fixie. He and fellow Scot and PEZ contributor Martin Williamson run the Scottish site where more of his musings on our sport can be found.


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