Former Stags player gets on his bike for a new sporting career
In this era of big-money contracts and flash cars, not many footballers at professional clubs get to and from training on a pushbike.
But that’s exactly what 21-year-old Ross Lamb did when he spent a couple of years on the books of his home town club, Mansfield Town. And now it’s standing him in good stead as he continues his career in a new sport, cycling.
For Lamb, who is from Mansfield, enjoyed a superb debut season as the road captain of a new racing team hoping to find the next Mark Cavendish or Bradley Wiggins.
He was among the hottest young road-racing prospects to be selected as the first recruits to join the Bryan Steel Academy, a team dedicated to guiding the best up-and-coming riders to the top. And he reached elite level, achieving a ranking of 128 in the country. What’s more, he was talent-spotted by a Belgium team, for whom he is now riding.
Based in the East Midlands, the academy is named after one of the sport’s legends, Bryan Steel, who competed at four Olympic Games, winning a silver medal at Athens in 2004 and a bronze at Sydney in 2000. Steel, who coaches at Derby Arena, also landed five medals at World Championships.
Lamb was a talented footballer who also had a spell with Notts County. But after an injury, he had to give up the game on the advice of doctors and was released by Stags at the age of 18.
Switching to competitive cycling, he joined Mansfield Road Club and has not looked back since winning his first race. The link-up with Steel was anoither massive boost, and the academy team won prestigious sponsorship from Vision Express and cycling apparel manufacturer, Godfrey Bikewear.
Racing alongside Lamb was Nottingham rider Corey Ashley, who is 20, and Beeston Cycling Club duo David Ogg, 22, from Leicester, and Pierre Vernie, 20, from Loughborough. They faced a gruelling summer schedule of about 85 road events, including the Milk Race, National Championships and National Series before the quartet went to Belgium to tackle international competition. They ended up with a UK ranking of 78th.
THE ultimate aim of ambitious Mansfield cyclist Ross Lamb is to follow in the tyre prints of superstars such as Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins.
And after top-level coaching from Bryan Steel and academy team director Mick Padley, it’s no forlorn hope, especially as their main aim is nurture world champions of the future. “Bryan used to room with Wiggins, so you’re reminded that you’re working with someone very special,” Lamb said.