IT’S been an enjoyable summer for all of us at Canyon Eisberg and one which ended on a great note in the Tour of Britain.
I’ve ridden our home tour a few times and this struck me as the best I’ve ever done - not least because an estimated one million spectators were on the roads of Britain over the duration of the Tour which is an incredible figure.
From our team point of view, it was a nice chance to rub shoulders with some of the biggest teams in the world and, of course, two former Great Britain team mates of mine Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas were racing. It’s not every day you have two Tour de France winners in the Tour of Britain, let alone two British Tour de France winners!
But we acquitted ourselves really well. Max Stedman got in the top 10 in the “Queen” mountain stage and finished in the top 20 overall; best of all, Alex Paton won the red jersey for the sprints competition and I also managed to get a couple of top 10 finishes.
It was great for our team management and sponsors, and a reward for all the hard work they put in, and the only downside for me was failing to finish the Tour. I had to pull out on the last stage in London when a stomach bug that I’d been fighting off for a couple of days finally took hold and made me ill.
By then, at least, I’d done my part and I was glad to have played a role in our success. The team spirit on this team, especially when we’re playing the “underdog” role as we were here, has been as good as any team I’ve ever been on in my career.
You could see that earlier in the summer when we managed to win the domestic Tour Series, one of the things that helped book our place on the Tour of Britain in the first place.
I managed to win one of the stages, which was one of the main reasons I was brought in, really, although my favourite part of the whole summer was probably the Tour of Yorkshire when my team mate Harry Tanfield won the opening stage which was a major upset and one of the best results in our team’s history.
Apart from my illness, the other negative on the Tour of Britain were a couple of crashes that I managed to get involved in, one of which left me looking like I’d gone 15 rounds with Tyson Fury.
It looked worse than it was but it was a bit ironic because, just before the Tour, I had done a video blog with Wiggle and LAB SERIES in which I had talked about the Tour, training and the grooming and skin care products that I use.
I probably wasn’t the best male model for those few days when my face was covered in cuts and bruises but it’s still something that I normally pay attention to.
When I was talking to the guys at Wiggle, they asked me for the five vital things I always take with me when I’m away racing or training and I quickly rattled off: coffee, my phone, power cranks/Wahoo, my helmet (!) and food (by which I meant snacks).
To that list I should have added some of the LAB SERIES products that I have because, since I’ve been using them, I have noticed a big improvement in how my skin looks and feels.
I don’t go over the top. To me, it’s a bit like keeping to a healthy, balanced diet - just take care of the basics and everything else looks after itself.
So I use an SPF Moisturiser- The Day Rescue Defense Lotion SPF 35, which is important after a day like the ones we had in France earlier this year when we had sun, wind, rain, hail and sleet all in the space of a few hours. I also use their Multi-Action Face Wash and, because I don’t like shaving and usually have a beard, I use their beard oil and soothing Solid Water Essence.
Unfortunately, none of that gives me better legs once the racing starts but at least I don’t look quite as weather-beaten as I usually do at this stage of the summer.
Next for me is a couple of weeks holiday before concentrating on the other side of my cycling life - Track Racing - where I’ll be riding in the Six Day Series over the winter.
But, after the way our summer ended with Canyon Eisberg, I think that me and the rest of the team can’t wait until next season comes around and we get the chance to see if we can do even better than we did this year.
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