The Tour of Britain: Pro-Noctis takes to the multi-stage...

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The Tour of Britain: Pro-Noctis takes to the multi-stage…

Posted by: Phil Kelly
Category: Articles
Photo: Adam Winfield / Through the Lens Media

If you are a cycling fan, then you undoubtedly have this weekend marked in your diary. From June 6 – 9, the UK’s biggest stage race for the women’s peloton returns.

The Tour of Britain Women will feature the finest of women’s cycling, racing an epic, four-day-long route around Wales and northern England.

The event marks a welcomed return to form for British road racing, particularly within the women’s scene. For the spectator, it’s a chance to see some of the best riders in the world up close and in top form, including some of the Olympic hopefuls ahead of this Summer’s Paris games. For the athletes, it’s a high-profile, high-stakes, challenging competition that will test them and their teams.

Pro-Noctis – 200° Coffee – Hargreaves Contracting, our sponsored team, are among the UCI elites competing. Ahead of the start-line, we caught up with Team Captain Amy Gornall and Phil Kelly, Pro-Noctis MD, to find out what it takes to face a stage race…

Hi Amy and Phil. So, what does The Pro-Noctis team taking part in the 2024 Tour of Britain mean to you?

Amy: It’s a great opportunity for us as a team – as a new British UCI team – to showcase what we can do. It’s a big-scale, widespread race which offers us both the chance to test our riders and develop their racing in a way that is quite hard to do these days.

The British racing scene, in particular, has reduced a lot in terms of this kind of event. So, this is a great opportunity for us to test ourselves, to see where we are at and to get some visibility. That exposure is important for riders and our sponsors.

What has your training regimen looked like leading up to this event?

Amy: Once the event and our participation were announced, we quickly got a training structure in place for the team and the riders. We recently did the Tour de Bretagne – a French, multi-stage race – as a means of preparation. We used that race as a chance to get people dialled in, to look closely at things like our nutrition and fuelling, and to focus on the teamwork dynamics for a larger race. It was a chance to iron out our ‘niggles’ so we feel really ready for this weekend, mentally and physically.

Everyone has a different approach – for me, I try to focus on what I can control.

How exactly do you prepare mentally for a major race like the Tour of Britain?

Amy: Well, Phil is a huge help here; he is a performance expert and his knowledge of sports, of athletes, and of what it takes to produce an elite performance is key. It’s especially helpful within a team setting, where you have lots of different personalities coming together.

Everyone has a different approach – for me, I try to focus on what I can control. It’s a big race but I have to zone out the crowds and television cameras. Take away the mass of it, the scale of it.

Phil: On a practical level, we try to reduce the mental load of the athletes as much as we can – we know our structure, we have a timeline of each day. We sort and delegate a lot of the logistical and practical bits to the support staff so that the riders just have to think about waking up and getting on their bike. It takes a lot of behind-the-scenes work to do that, like multiple calls and conversations, but it’s worth it for the race to go as smoothly as possible.

What challenges have you faced in preparation for the race?

Phil: A lot of the challenges stem from just understanding the demands of a race like this and what we must do to best compete. In the case of Tour of Britain, we had to make last-minute travel changes for our preparation race – we decided to race in France as opposed to the Czech Republic – so we had to deal with a lot of logistics and race planning.

It was worth it in the long run because the Tour de Bretagne suited our bigger, longer-term goal much better.

Team selection and working out which riders are suited to which event can also be a challenge. It’s a competitive group with a lot of talent and skill, and those decisions can be difficult to make and deliver. Ultimately, you just have to focus on what’s the right thing to do for the majority of the team.

Off the bike, teamwork is important… [it] brings a sense of togetherness and mutual support that translates into success on the bike.

Speaking of the team, how important is teamwork in an event like this? How does the team support each other?

Amy: Teamwork is crucial. It’s the difference maker. Strategically, everyone must have awareness of where their other riders are. They must also have the confidence to help each other when and where they can. As a rider, even if you are suffering or struggling, it is important to focus on the team goal. You have to give everything you can to help your teammates get into an advanced position that can further the team result.

Phil: Off the bike, teamwork is important as well. For this race, we have a lot of support staff looking after the team and ensuring the athletes can focus on the bike riding. That brings a sense of togetherness and mutual support that translates into success on the bike.

We also have riders who haven’t been selected to race supporting as well. Lucy Ellmore, for example, is stepping into a role as a mechanic and a soigneur. That show of support for her team goes far in terms of building camaraderie.

Finally, can you share a bit about your strategy for the different stages of the race? What can we expect to see on show from Pro-Noctis?

Phil: Our overall strategy is to just take it day by day- to see how we are, see how the riders’ legs are and go from there. We have some options and contingency plans in place for certain scenarios. But, ultimately we are going out there to see what we’ve got and to produce a good performance.

Amy: I’ll very much be focusing on the race and being in the moment, remembering my processes and putting that into practice.

Phil: It’s cliché but if you trust your process and trust the preparation then you are as ready as you can be. Trust that you have done what you can to do your best on the day.


Tune into The Tour of Britain Women live on Discovery+. Race highlights will be broadcast on free-to-air ITV4. These will be shown at 8pm each day of the race, from 6th June to 9th June.

As performance experts, Pro-Noctis works with individuals and teams to support their development, nurture their talent, and ultimately, get positive results. Read more about our sponsored athletes and teams here. 

If you would like to speak to us about how we can support you or your team to perform, just get in touch – we offer FREE consultations so you can find out just how we can help. 

Author: Phil Kelly
An award-winning business owner and TED presenter, Phil lives and breaths performance. Having designed and delivered successful training packages across various industries worldwide, he now spends most of his time within business development and consulting. Phil Kelly