Very happy to announce I’ve partnered with leading insurance brokers Stackhouse Poland for the year ahead. looking forward to it!
It’s a shame i could not take the win, but thanks for all the messages of support ! And well done to Adam and all who participated in the Sportive in shocking conditions. I’m now currently on my way back from Hamburg and the Vattenfall classics readying myself for a new block of training and end of season racing!
Its been a while since I have posted an update though I’m sure you can understand we are slap bang in the middle of the season now and the races and training are coming thick and fast!
First up I have to mention Froomey and how much I felt for him after he had to leave the Tour. Chris and the team had worked so hard to make sure that they were in the best shape to win again, but as a professional you have to be philosophical sometimes and this is bike racing! I’ve spoken about it a few times injuries, and crashes are just a part of the job and you get on with it. But there is no doubt not having Froomey and Cav at the Tour is disappointing for everyone and what with AC out now it should make for a very interesting race. So I wish Richie and the guys the best of luck and currently it looks like its shaping up very well for the team.
My last race was the British Nationals, which I really enjoyed as it was a great event and it’s rare that we get to race our teammates. I have known Pete for a long time now I know how he rides and his strengths and I knew for the last 30km’s he would be trying to get rid of me! But a sprint after a race like that is not a normal sprint. It’s more about who has position and who is that little bit fresher and stronger and Pete on the day had all 3.
Looking back I was happy with how the race went and it was good to get on the podium but its never nice to lose when I came so close to winning especially in such a significant race.
Before the Nationals I was in Italy for the Giro which of course was an amazing experience, we had a great “racing” type team and I felt that we really tried to win stages.
We didn’t have a clear GC leader, but we still always had a race plan to try and achieve our target for the day, that set up is pretty rare in a grand Tour especially for Team Sky and it was refreshing be able to race in this way. The Belfast start was incredible, everybody really got behind the race and I hope that the Giro visit has a lasting effect in the city.
One problem for me though was that it was also tinged with big disappointment, to come so close to winning a stage was frustrating though I soon got over my frustrations as we moved back to Italy and started riding the iconic climbs that filled the latter stages.
On the Stelvio and Zoncolan there is so much history so as a bike racing fan as well as a rider you can’t help but be excited to ride them even though they hurt and if you were watching the race on TV you will know the weather could have been better! But again it’s just another factor that you need to manage physically and mentally, in the end we used it as a positive and it gave the team a sense of cohesiveness and achievement racing in those conditions. I’m used to riding in bad weather but I can’t say it’s ever easy or enjoyable!
After the Giro there was little time to rest and it was straight into the Tour De Suisse, which was always a big target for me this year. I was adamant I wanted to do it even when I got the call to do the Giro but there is no doubt coming straight from Italy I felt some underlying fatigue. I have done a lot of training and racing this year already and that caught up with me a little in Switzerland, I felt strong and was climbing well but lacked that little bit of zip in my legs.
It was understandable but annoying at the same time! We also had some pretty rotten luck with injuries and I hope Sergio makes a speedy recovery.
So after a little break and a recon of the world’s circuit in Ponferadda, Northern Spain, I’m off to Nice for a team training camp and to ramp up my training for The Tour of Poland and the final part of the season!
Thanks for your continued support on the road and on line it really means a lot
Hello from Belfast everyone,
Sorry it’s been a while! I hope you are all enjoying the racing season so far… for me personally after last seasons injury, I am very happy with how the start to the season has gone.
My one main aim in the off-season was to be able to come out strong and start getting results straight away that way it would give me confidence from the off, so I put everything into starting well and I hope you have seen that I have had a good start and it has been getting better as the season has gone on! So my confidence is high at the moment and that helps me perform better as a bike racer.
I obviously put a lot into my rehab, to make sure that I came back stronger but of course the shoulder has always been in the back of my mind and occasionally I do get reminders of the pain, but this is natural and I know I still have a way to go before the pain will 100% subside and the healing process is over. It would be the same for anybody really, I’m not a robot and sometimes there are moments when you think… is it ever going to get better? But I’m happy with the progression of the injury and I know it will take time. I’m remaining focused on my rehab and all the support I get from the medical staff helps mentally so I am able to just get on with it be patient and not worry about it.
Fundamentally the operation was a success so you always refer back to that and I have a very calm and caring family who have supported me throughout and just keep reminding me to “do the work” and it will get better and so far so good!
I would like to thank my family, friends and of course the fans for the over whelming amount of support and congratulations I have had from everybody since I have returned to form this season. I always read all the good luck and well done messages, it really means a lot and it gives me that edge to keep trying harder knowing that people are really happy for you and want you to do well.
So what’s next? Well there has been talk, mostly by the media of the Tour but right now as I’m sure most of you are aware I am about to start the Giro d’Italia which is huge for me and as you would expect I’m very proud and happy to be riding in such a famous race.
It’s a great opportunity for the team and me and we will have the freedom to really race hard and go for the results, it will make riding the Tour very hard but if I’m being honest I think the Giro is a much better option for me. Of course the Tour would be amazing to ride what with the opening stage being on roads I’ve trained on thousands of times but with this Giro I will get more chances to ride for myself and go for that first Grand Tour stage win which is getting me very excited.
My form is good and my confidence is high I’ve been training well recently with my mate Russ Downing in Tuscany and I’m ready! So bring it on Belfast!
Another reason why the Giro suits me is that it will lead straight into one of my favourite and previously most successful races the Tour of Suisse, which during the winter I highlighted as a race where I wanted to win stages.
So when I got the call for the Giro I still had the Tour de Suisse in mind and knew the two races could work well together.
I’ve got a lot of racing to go before Switzerland but you have got to have “Something to aim at” as someone once famously said
I hope you enjoy the Giro and the start in Belfast has already been a great event. Once again thanks for all the continued support and I’ll see you on the road!
I’m very excited to be racing one of the prestigious and beautiful stage races in existence! Belfast here we come..
It was great to win stage 5 of the Tour of the Basque country. I will have a full update on the site very soon, thanks for all the continued support guys!
It was a very long, very hard and very wet day in the saddle but placing on the podium at the historical Milan – San Remo race this weekend was no doubt my highlight of the season so far. Lasting the rain and hail and being able to keep my concentration and focus throughout the brutal but beautiful race has continued to boost my confidence. I’m really happy with the fact I was there in the mix at the end of the race for a rider type like myself that’s what its all about. Thanks to the team who rode superbly all day…!
All photos courtesy of Graham Watson
So I’m happy to report that all things are well and I am feeling very good after my return to racing in Mallorca. I think everyone knew how excited I was to get back to this level of racing.
Of course I was still aware that I needed to keep focused and not throw myself into anything reckless because any lapse in concentration can put you on the deck and that could almost immediately halt all my progress.
Last year in the same event I had a spill on a tricky bit of descent which knocked my knee, so this year I made sure when I was approaching that corner I was right at the front and on my team mates wheel. I definitely made sure I was safe.
Although I don’t dwell on things like this too much (if you did you would never get on your bike!) but I just wanted to be sure I made that corner and once I had then it was on with the race and totally forgotten.
Overall I was very happy with my performance at Mallorca, I felt like I was in a good place when I was climbing and I felt good when sprinting so mentally that’s really encouraging especially after my time out.
It was very pleasing to be able to slot straight back into racing after having so much time away as you never know how long it can take to find your feet again.
As I’m sure you can imagine sprinting is never simple and the incident on my second podium was frustrating at the time, but you quickly move on and there is always the next race coming up fast so you really can’t dwell on it for too long. The positive thing is being right there contesting the sprints in my first race back, it means I know I’m heading in the right direction in terms of form
Post Mallorca, I took time to asses my condition and see how my body recovered I was feeling good so again a real positive. As athletes we are constantly making sure we are where we need to be in terms of condition, theses assessments allow us to see where we can improve and the areas that need work on.
When the season has started you can never rest on your laurels, you may of thought I might take a couple of days recovery after Mallorca but as I was feeling good I have to keep pushing forward with my training to improve.
So next up is Oman, I’m here now along with some of the best sprinters in the world, in fact I can only think of a couple that are not here so it should make for some super exciting sprints. I am looking forward to getting stuck into the days that suit me and giving it my best shot and seeing how I compare with these guys.
I feel confident I can hold my own a lot better now positionally as I am physically a lot stronger, but with so many great sprinters and sprint trains here its also going to be a test of my tactical nous to be able to pick the right ones to use.
It’s my first stage race for a while so it will be good to catch up with a few riders I’ve not seen for a bit, not that’s it’s a social occasion! We have our eyes firmly on the prize, but in the odd moments of calm we get in a race no doubt I’ll have a chat with a few old friends.
There are a couple of really hard days in the race and honestly I am looking forward to testing my climbing legs and if I can take my opportunities and be there challenging in the sprints for the win then great, but I am also here to help our GC contenders.
Time to go to work!