is a strange sport. One rider crosses the line, taking the plaudits and the
glory, and yet it is a ‘team sport’. For it is near impossible to win without
support in the professional peloton. And so, despite the singular perceived
success of road racing, we celebrate as a whole, sharing the pickings and
amazing feeling of winning throughout our teams.
have been racing for just under a month now, on both sides of the Atlantic.
2014 is my first year as an under23 and senior bike racer and below is a summary
of the events thus far. I hope it provides some small insight that may otherwise be
lost to those lucky and stupid enough to be inside the peloton…
Apologies for the lack of creativity, my brain is scrambled from training - as it is most days.
In every race there is one
moment that defines your day above all else.
frog and I (Roastbif) raced without the team in this ‘local’ Californian stage
race. The field was made up of numerous American teams, including 4 UCI
Continental squads. James spanked the opening uphill TT. I was fifth and Frenchie 8th. Clement then infiltrated the break
on the second day, duly taking the malliot jaune from the kiwi. Oram and I then rode the front in the
Crit a little and we won the overall. Nice.
– taking the win and putting all three of us in the top15 on GC, against squads
of eight riders.
first round of the ‘NRC’, or National Racing Calendar, the Redlands Classic. My
legs were coming but not quite present at full race strength yet. I played a
team role, leading out and fulfilling other duties. I ducked and dived to fuck for 5th
in the bunch kick in the Crit. I suffered in the heat on the last day, my first
hot hot hot day since last season.
– James killing the last day to take 2nd on GC, Nicholia the fast
Dane taking the points jersey. The downtown crit, was good fun with a big crowd. Seeing Barnes at the race too.
Van Vlaanderen u23 – Great Britain
first Nations Cup of the year and my first u23 race. Doull and I made selection
after selection and avoided crash after crash to make the front group over the
top of the last cobbled berg. I attacked 3km to go after getting Owains
blessing. It lasted a short time, with a Belgian coming across for company, but most importantly
forced some of the other teams to chase, allowing my Welsh (on form…) leader to
sit in. I came back and then lead out Doull. He was inches from the podium
finishing fourth. A pretty sound result for us but not quite the win we fancied. I avoided the huge crash with
fifty meters to go, rolling across the line for 15th.
– My mom and brother watching. Racing around roads and climbs I once
trained on with the late and great Alan Rosner as a youth rider. Pulling on the
British jersey. Feeling bloody good. Racing with the lads again. Working with
Keith Lambert for the first time and hearing some of his stories.
De Picardie u23 – Great Britain
of very nervous almost-crosswind racing was followed by two laps around the
finish town, with two small climbs per lap. Doull gave me the opportunity to go
for myself, I declined and said we should all go for him and try to get a big
sprint on the cards. Sid Davies and I went into the first climb of the last lap
with Doull on our wheels, I ploughed up it and kept on
through the crosswind over the top. I looked back twice and felt amazing seeing
the bunch completely lined out behind with Doull sat pretty on my wheel. We
swung off in the headwind to let someone else take it up, then someone wiped Owain
out. The race winning move went moments later.
– Feeling strong in the last sprint, shame it was for 11th. I was 20th
after choosing the wrong wheel to follow. Our organisation before the
crash. Jon making the day long break. Good day but no result.
Bastogne Liege u23 – Bissell DT
first race in Europe with the team and first with Axel as DS. Special. It started off super
cold and we lost three guys to the illness by the feed. Tanner, Geoff and I
were wicked organised though. I attacked a few times on the climb after La Redoute to
try and help Tanner get away. We all entered the last steep climb together, putting Putt
in a real good place at the front. I followed the attacks over the top and got
away in a group of three. They messed about a little and we almost got caught in the dying
metres. Yet again I sprinted strong but had to go to early to avoid being caught,
tying up just before the line. Third. Gutted.
– success against adversity. Racing. Loving it. Tanner grabbing 9th
in the chaotic sprint behind. Standing on the podium. Being called ‘Hart Geoghegan’ on the podium by the commentator with no idea. My brilliant brother and Dad being there to cheer and hang out. Wicked.
My latest ProCycling article (click to enlarge). #outsideisfree