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