Members of JLT Condor – the UK’s longest standing UCI (International Cycling Union) – are fighting fit for the new season thanks to their pre-season medical screenings at HMT St Hugh’s Hospital.
The medicals were carried out as part of HMT’s commitment to nurturing professional cycling talent.
Dr Mark Ridgewell, Sports Medicine Consultant for our sister hospital Sancta Maria and team JLT Condor, visited St Hugh’s in Grimsby on 25th and 26th November to deliver and oversee various tests designed to put the nine athletes through their paces.
What did the medicals involve?
They each had to complete a vascular test, cycling continuously on a Wattbike for eight minutes at maximum effort.
An ABPI Dopplers test was also carried out by a vascular physiologist, which uses high-frequency sound waves to measure the amount of blood flow to the arteries and veins, so that any abnormalities can be detected and treated accordingly.
The cyclists were also given blood tests and ECGs, had their height, weight and blood pressure measured, and received a physiotherapy consultation.
What do the athletes think about St Hugh’s?
Rising cycling star Tom Stewart (28) was among those who visited St Hugh’s over the weekend. He said: “This is the first time I’d been back to St Hugh’s since I was part of the first HMT Academy (known then as Sportscover), but there is still a much more relaxing feel to this hospital compared with others.
“You are given a warm welcome when you arrive, and staff are very attentive; there are always people around who are happy to help. If I were someone who was feeling anxious about coming here for the first time and having my treatment, I know my worries would be eased as soon as I set foot through the doors.”
Tom signed to JLT Condor for 2018 after being part of the ONE Pro Cycling team throughout 2017.
Graham Briggs (34) also visited St Hugh’s for his pre-season medical but unlike Tom, he’s been to the hospital on numerous occasions for medicals as well as treatment during the racing season.
Speaking about his experience with St Hugh’s, he said: “When it was decided that I might need some treatment, I got an appointment on the same day and was given some great advice for a speedy recovery which is paramount during the racing season.”
Graham agrees that the staff at St Hugh’s are helpful and attentive, and make you feel at ease in the medical environment:
“It hardly feels like a hospital,” he said. “I am the type of person who can’t even watch Casualty, but when I am here I feel very calm!”
The relationship between HMT Hospitals and JLT Condor
When asked about why the relationship JLT Condor has with the hospitals is so unique, Tom said: “There’s a lot to be said for having access to such comprehensive health checks and fitness tests as they can highlight any issues that may hinder our progress – which is what we’d obviously like to avoid wherever possible.
“And of course, it’s reassuring to know that if we do suffer a serious injury then we’ve got access to specialist advice and treatments. This is crucial when it comes to sports-based injuries as you need to take action quickly and get access to the best medical professionals straight away, so it’s great to know that level of service is there if we ever need it.
“Since being a part of the original HMT Academy, I haven’t come across any other teams that have this kind of specialist help. It gives you confidence as a rider, knowing that you’re working with the right people.”
Graham added: “The partnership between St Hugh’s and JLT Condor is invaluable in my opinion and one of the main advantages of being part of the team.
“Being able to receive professional treatment so promptly allows us to get back on our bikes – performing at the level expected of us by our team and sponsors – in the shortest time possible, which is priceless.”
Also undergoing medicals were Alistair Slater, Ian Bibby, Edmund Bradbury, Edward Laverack, Tom Moses, Germain Burton and Matthew Gibson.
Inspiring the next generation of professional cyclists
Meanwhile, budding young cyclists hoping to one day be just like the JLT Condor team members enjoyed an NEL Lindsey Go-Ride session at St Hugh’s.
The hospital has been sponsoring the local cycling club, which encourages those aged four to 15 to get on their bikes and take part in some fun, non-competitive racing, for the last four years.
It has inspired many budding cyclists from Lincolnshire to pursue their dreams of making it big in the sport. Most recently, former NEL Lindsey Go-Ride club member Joe Laverick (17) signed to Belgian-based team Soenens Boom and is set to travel to the continent at weekends to train.
As a result, Joe was also invited to St Hugh’s for a medical to help prepare him for the season. His results were analysed and a plan has been put in place to help him to improve his performance in different ways.
Find out more about NEL Lindsey Go-Ride here: hmthospitals.org/super-success-nel-lindsey-go-ride
Find out more Joe’s record breaking U16’s Time Trial ride here: https://hmthospitals.org/scartho-schoolboy-cycles-history-books/