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September Blog – Racing, resting and the Worlds!

Hi All,
First up thanks for all the positive messages on my re – signing with Team Sky, the new contract has helped augment my current feeling of positivity!

I’m feeling good and It’s been great to get a full year of racing under my belt, by the time this season closes out I will have raced nearly 13,000KM.

These miles will give me a really solid base for my winter training as I have felt on occasions this season that I am missing that little bit of depth that a full winters training gives you, though on the upside I’m feeling more mentally fresh in the latter part of the season, so I am  happy to be doing the later races and looking forward to a full winter program…No rest for the wicked!

My race program and schedule have been carefully planned so as to get me in good form for this part of the year as I have had my eye on doing a good ride at the Worlds.

I took a complete break in July after a heavy spring and early summer and that mid-season break has enabled me to come back in pretty good shape and since then I have been building up form by doing the right type of races and training that will allow my body to be as fresh as possible for the Worlds.

Taking a break is actually the hard part as it’s far too easy to keep pushing and pushing, so I have had to listen to my body and make sure not to push too hard, we will soon see if the strategy has worked, unfortunately its never an exact science!

Seb and I warming up at the TOB

Seb and I warming up at the TOB

The Tour of Britain was a good form builder and a tough test one main reason is because the roads are so heavy!

Lots of rain means heavier, grippy tarmac and the roads just make you feel really bad though it was encouraging that when the hammer went down, I came around and could race most of the finishes

The TOB is a special race for any British rider that races mainly in Europe, its an awesome feeling to be able to come home and race in front of a home crowd and now that TOB is getting a higher profile with bigger billing this only adds to the event.

Although hard, I really enjoyed it and the TOB is turning into a great race to prep for the worlds, its 8 days of solid racing with some testing long stages. I think every body that raced it this year was ready for a few easy days after the race!

Taking on a recovery drink at the TOB

Taking on a recovery drink at the TOB

So my next race is the Worlds, it goes without saying that I am very happy to be a part of the team and its always a special moment when you pull on that national jersey. The course is very interesting and one that I liked the look of when I went to reccy it in the summer.

It could make for a strange race and it’s definitely not straight forward, the profile and the circuit allows a variety of options for race strategy and with 14 laps to complete it’s also very hard.

There are teams there that will not want to bring it to any sort of sprint, which means it will be hard for a long time and for me it’s going to be about trying to survive the climbs as best I can, but we have a great team with a lot of cards to play and I am very much looking forward to it.

I am heading out really early to spend a bit of time there and get into the environment in order to give myself the best possible chance.

Hope to see you out there! As always thanks for your continued support

Ben

Tour of Britain - Stage 2

New Contract with Team Sky

Hi All, I’m really happy to announce my new  2 year contract with Team Sky…

I’ve been with Team Sky since the start and five years on it really does feel like home. To keep that
relationship going was really important so I’m delighted to be staying for another two years.
I already have one eye on next season and with this team I know I can deliver some good results.

I really do feel part of the foundations of this team, having grown up with so many of the riders
and staff.

I’ve known many of them since the start of my career and have been guided by the likes of Sir Dave Brailsford and Rod Ellingworth for years, which has made me the rider I am today.

With the team’s support I’ve been able to grow and develop as a rider and by staying here I know that will continue.

London-Surrey Classic

RideLondon

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!

Leading the group up Box Hill

Leading the group up Box Hill

 

 

Tour of Switzerland - Stage One

July Blog – looking back and looking forward!

Hi All
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!

Tour de Suisse - Stage 9After 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

Take care

Ben

Basque Country Tour - Stage 5

Latest Blog live from Belfast !

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 :)

Legend!

Legend!

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!

Cheers Ben

Good Times ! photo: Graham Watson

Victory !

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!

Ben