Bigham spent December at the team’s preseason camp in Mallorca, putting important work in with the riders, building relationships, and training with the squad, working under Head of Performance Support and Innovation, Paul Barratt.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the camp,” he continued. “It was a great chance to meet the team more informally after some intense performance meetings in Woking and Paris in November. Just to sit back and learn more about people, build a rapport, what they’ve done before, what they’re working on. Getting to know people was incredibly helpful.
“We did a significant amount of aero testing on the velodrome in Mallorca. I also did quite a bit out on the road as well. There was a lot of benchmarking, establishing systems and looking at what we can do moving forward. As Paul Barratt puts it, there is the flying of the plane - trying to do your job on the move - while also trying to fix and improve the plane as you go. At the same time I got out on the road with a lot of the guys. At one point I was riding up a climb with Ganna, Tao, Carapaz, Bernal and Yates, it was quite a surreal moment. It’s an epic team to be involved in.
“There will be lots of different areas that open up as we go. Time trialling will lead the way and that’s a bit of a no brainer as there’s always work to be done there, but hopefully we can bring that same mentality and approach across to road racing as well, and look at how we can optimise each of the riders and the roles that they do - so it’s not just ‘you’re riding these wheels, handlebars, helmets, skinsuits’ across the entire team but it can be unique and tailored for their role, course, and each day.”
Bigham has mixed his racing commitments with off-bike work over the past few years and is hugely appreciative of the team’s outlook on his riding ambitions.
“Historically I’ve had to juggle my cycling with my work. To consolidate everything into one role so I’m not doing my own testing and then having to do the same thing for everyone else is one big advantage of coming on board. Everything that I’m developing for riders and the team is the same for me, so there is a benefit in both directions.
“Whenever I’m on camps, I can train with the squad and everyone on the team wants that because it means I can also be the test rider and drive the development that helps the squad. It all works in harmony. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to be supported to ride my bike within the team because instead of having two separate streams, pulling and pushing against each other, it meant we were all aligned and going in the same direction.”