I’ll keep it as short as possible and give you guys a summary of the past month and a bit of my life and racing.
Early April – The 2nd and 3rd I raced a 2 day race, Elite national called the Boucle de L’Artois, The first day had two stages both primarily flat and I looked to get in some kind of move on both of these. Whilst moving up for the final lap on stage one I got taken down in a crash and ended up just flipping over, luckily only bruising, jumping straight back on I had buckled my front wheel badly but it was ok to finish the race and narrowly avoided yet another crash in the finish…it was a weird stage as I even saw guys crashing 50m after the finish line…it was a bit of a crash fest. It was a similar story on stage 2, we were all in the gutter on the right side of the road and next thing guys had gotten too close to the up to 30cm drop of the edge of the road…a few more went down, A crash fest summed up these first two stages, I finished on the same time on both stages and looked for the next day. Stage 3 I sat in until the finishing circuit with a 30 second cobbled berg and a 3 minute climb at 6%..short climbs which isn’t enough to make the race mega hard…but it was enough to make it interesting. On lap 2 of 6 on the 7.5 mile circuit I went solo for literally 2 or 3 minutes before being caught by some other splintered attacks, we hammered it over the climb and after..creating a group of 25 give or take 1 or 2 riders. The group all did through and off pretty well for the next lap creating a good gap, the eventual winner Ben Dyball went solo for the final 47 minutes of the race! The next lap a group of 5 got away. Anyhow we now had 15 left in our group and it stayed like that until the finish. I finished 15th on the stage after chasing for my team mate a bit too, so overall I was 15th…annoyingly on the same time on GC as 6th to 20th but decided on stage placings etc.
Circuit du Mene – a one day race with 2 stages. A 3.8 mile lumpy TT with a drag to the finish first of all. I paced it fairly well not starting too hard, I used a very old TT bike from the club and my DS Gregoire kindly lent me his disc wheel and Tri spoke wheel 🙂 I managed 8th in the ITT, only 4 seconds off Clement Davy, French Junior TT champion. To think if I’d have had the chance to ride a super fast TT bike maybe I could have podiumed…but who knows!
“Watts were decent” ^
The next stage and the final of course was 88.6 miles. A break went fairly early on and I waited for it to come back. With 30 miles to go It was all back together and I got into a move with 4 others, 5 riders and 3 Brits 😉 one guy had the leader in his team so he didn’t work, the other guy was pretty wrecked so only 3 of us really worked. Then it started to go pretty bad so I attacked after joining the finishing circuit with 4 laps to go..after 2 laps I was caught because the group behind had been caught then a new fresh group of 7 got away. I got caught in the hard windy little climbs, which was dreadful as then the winners (group of 4 or 5 had gotten away) attacking on one of the small climbs, of course I was the only one from the previous move in this first group, and being 2nd wheel of the group when the guys had attacked from the flat onto the climb it was impossible to react too…but for sure something to learn from. I finished in the 2nd group this day of around 25 and stayed in 8th overall on the GC. I also got best young rider on the GC just ahead of last year Junior Euros champ, so that’s good for morale I guess.
Next up I raced a one day Elite National race called the Circuit Boussaquin. It had an on and off 15 minute ish climb near the start of the race and near the finish, in the middle of this we of course rode the Circuit…in Boussaquin. The circuit was 2.9 miles long and we did 16 laps of this, making the overall race 78 miles of course adding in the hill loop before and after. I sat in for the whole race until one lap to go on the circuit, a larger group started to form, so I decided to ride across to it. There were some strong guys working including riders such as Bryan Alaphalippe and Clement Saint-Martin. On the climb I tried to break the group up a bit for the final, but knew the final run in would be hard as the bunch were super close to us on the climb therefore a chase for the sprint finish would be impossible if we didn’t have enough guys for the final 8.9 mile run in. At the bottom of the descent we had gained 10 seconds or so, looking around on the straight section we had maybe 25 seconds now, they weren’t far still. We worked together to get the gap out for the finish. With 2.5 miles to go on a small drag at about 4% someone attacked, it got tough so I went around him to see if I could gap them but it would go there. I sat on them then until 800 to go where the eventual winner somehow attacked on the descent onto the final 30 second kick at 6.5%, I gained speed to attack but then got boxed, nevertheless I attacked and got a small gap…but some guy ruined his own race and chased me down, then I tried to get a wheel for the sprint but the group was lined out and had to sprint in the wind, which was difficult after my efforts only a short time earlier. But hey I came 9th…which was ok considering Clement Saint-Martin was 8th..a super strong guy who was 2nd in the Criterium International stage 1, a UCI 1.HC in 2015. Most of all I learnt a lot in this race, which as first year senior is super important of course.
Paris – Mantes UCI 1.2. A 106.6 mile course with short and sharp climb with mostly flat/steady rolling roads in between…just over 230 starters. I expected the race to slowly split down to a small group, and attacking late would have been a possibility, with tough climbs I sat in until the final to see what happened. I knew being at the front would play a big role in sticking in the first group of the day for sure. The race did split at times but sadly came back to places in others…61 guys finished in the bunch and 3 guys up the road. In the sprint I made sure I was near the front of course, I was in about 15th with 200 to go hoping to make up some more places..but I got boxed in by two guys just ahead, somehow I jumped around them and held on for 22nd Overall.
So for sure a great April, the learning and the results.
Life in France is pretty good, the riding is super and there’s barely any cars on the roads even compared to the quiet roads in North Devon here. The house myself and my two team mates Jake and Siim is very interesting to say the least…! But overall With amazing training roads and the nice town we live in/local area treats us pretty well, especially 3 days of rain from April the 1st until may the 2nd, that’s something I’ve never experienced!
I have returned to England now as there aren’t many races in France, so I will do some local races whilst I prepare for the National championships. After that I cannot wait to start racing in the mountains, which I for sure know my strength lies..having such a high 5-45 minute power, also flying up local climbs to me, Strava says I have good times anyway 😉
Thanks as always to VC Toucy, Epic coaching, the Dave Rayner fund And to my parents of course – I cannot thank them all enough!
You can check my results here –