We meet Rick Lister, Team Directeur Sportif for Finish Line Racing.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been getting to know a little more about the 6 riders of Finish Line Racing. Today, we talk with “The Boss,” Rick Lister.
RB: How did you first get involved with cycling?
RL: I got into cycling as a kid when couple of mates (Dan & Richard Hobby) used to go to the local cycling club, their dad Roger Hobby would come and pick us up in his old Volvo on a Tuesday night and take us to the Yarborough Crit [criterium] Circuit. I saved up all summer and bought my first bike, a Bianchi from Halfords and was hooked straight away.
RB: You’ve pretty much covered every discipline there is in cycling. Which is your favourite and why?
RL: Cyclocross is my first love, its really popular over here in Lincolnshire as we had GB’s first world champ Stuart Marshall in my local club. I really enjoyed road, especially crits but cross takes some beating as it’s a hard sport to win at because you need to be a good all round bike rider but clever too.
RB: What made you decide to start a women’s cycle team?
RL: A few of the riders I had managed in the past kept telling me I needed to set my own team up but I suppose the main reason was because having been involved with other teams in the past I was sure I could do a better job.
RB: What has been the toughest aspect in setting up a new team from scratch?
RL: Getting the riders was easy enough but the hardest part is pulling in sponsors. I must have sent out over 200 emails to potential sponsors and I’m still sending them even now as we are working on designing the kit. I still hope to pull in a wheel provider which would be a huge help.
RB: What do you look for in a rider that gets to join Finish Line Racing?
RL: Above all I want riders who are team players. We are a small team so we need to have a team that is a tight unit. I’m really pleased with the team line-up and I really think we can achieve great things.
RB: You have a roster of 6 riders. Are you happy with this, or are you keeping the door open for more riders to join?
RL: I went with 6 initially because I knew the finances would be tight in year one as a new team. Year two will see us with eight riders hopefully though.
RB: As you know, we have had a Q&A session with each of the 6 riders. It’s been interesting as all riders focus on “the team” and “riding for the team”. This ethos is obviously great news for you, for the riders and the team as a whole. How does this early team spirit make you feel?
RL: It makes me really happy that the girls want to work well together. Once we get into the New Year and the Covid restrictions are relaxed a little, we should be able to get some training weekends planned which really helps with bonding.
RB: You have brought together a very strong squad of talented riders, giving you a great platform for your first competitive year in 2021, though of course, there are also some very strong, established teams. Realistically, how do you rate your chances of success during 2021 and what do you feel would make for a good first year?
RL: I think we have a really good chance of winning some races and of course I would love to see the girls on the podium at the National Series and Tour Series. Its not always about the size of the team, last year we had 3 riders at a lot of races and still gained good results so this proves it’s possible. It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog as Mark Twain famously said!
RB: Do you have a dedicated team leader in mind, or will this be based upon each riders’ ability in relation to which races the team are competing?
RL: We have a team captain, Amy Gornall who will be there guiding the girls in the bunch but not a team leader as such. Different races suit different riders so we have to adapt to things constantly.
RB: Can you reveal any motivational skills you use to encourage your riders?
RL: I used to tell them to “MOVE UP” quite a lot in crits, until the girls started moaning about it so that doesn’t happen so much now! I try to handle each rider differently, some are confident and others not so much, so you have to work out what works best for each individual. One thing I don’t do is put pressure on the girls, it simply doesn’t work.
RB: You’re a Lincoln based squad so no doubt the Lincoln Grand Prix will be a race you’ll want to shine in. Alongside this, do you have your eyes set on any particular races for 2021?
RL: The Lincoln GP is a huge target, I live in Lincoln so it’s massively important to me but I also know it’s not an easy one to win. The Tour Series is really important too, it’s a huge thing for the sponsors to see us on TV.
RB: Where would you like to see Finish Line Racing in 5 years’ time?
RL: The aim is to go to UCI status, it has to be a progressive transition though and not something to be attempted too early.
RB: You have worked with some of the top, women’s cycle teams over the past few years. How would you describe the atmosphere inside a team car on race day?
RL: It’s usually pretty relaxed initially but it only takes that call over race radio for things to change instantly. You learn how to read how the bunch moves so you often know if there is a crash before it’s called on the radio; this is the point where the mechanic is off and running, wheels in hand just in case we have a rider down.
RB: For any younger riders that may be inspired by Finish Line Racing (and women’s cycling in general), what advice would you give them to encourage them into the sport?
RL: Try all the different disciplines and enjoy it, don’t worry if you don’t win races as a kid, as quite often the best riders are those that improve with age.
RB: What is the funniest moment you have witnessed during a race?
RL: You see some strange things at events like the Tour de Yorkshire: Stormtroopers at the side of the road and all sorts of costumes but one that comes to mind is post race. We were at a Nat’ Series at Hillingdon a few years back and a DS from another team pulled up next to us as he was leaving and told us to be careful with the bikes on the roof as we leave, as they sometimes close the height barrier. He then set off and about 20 seconds later there was this huge bang. He hit the barrier with the bikes on his roof!
Redchilli Bikes would like to thank Rick for taking the time out to talk with us. You can also catch up with all 6 riders of Finish Line Racing via the links below:
Redchilli are delighted to be sponsoring Finish Line Racing for the 2021 season – and no doubt beyond. If you would like to follow Finish Line Racing during their preparations for the season ahead, then please follow both the team and Redchilli Bikes on social media.
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