MY BLOG - April 28, 2016
Hi to everyone kind enough - or maybe just bored enough! - to want to read this, the first in what I hope will be a regular weekly blog I'm going to put on my new website.
I'm writing on the eve of the Tour of Yorkshire, a three stage race that I'm riding with my professional team, Team WIGGINS, but obviously events in the cycling world the past few days have been all about my "other" job, as a track rider on the Great Britain Olympic programme.
Every cycling fan will know by now that Shane Sutton, our technical director, resigned this week in controversial circumstances. It is not an issue I can say too much about apart from to join everyone else who has quite rightly said that discrimination has no place in our sport - or any sport for that matter.
But what I can say, as a few riders have done so over the past few days, is that my own personal experiences with Shane have been positive. Yes, we had our disagreements - but everyone has disagreements with their "boss" at some point, it's part of normal life! But Shane was always more than fair with me. Before the recent World Championships I suffered a dip in form and my confidence wasn't great. I spoke with Shane and he helped me a great deal. A couple of weeks later I won two medals at the Worlds. That's all I can talk about, my own experience, not anybody else's.
Onto lighter matters and, before we start to face the driving rain/sleet/hale/hills of Yorkshire, I can tell you a little about our last race, the Tour of Croatia which was really enjoyable but a bit of a shock to the system.
All we had been doing since the Tour of Dubai in early February was track riding - and all that seemed to involve was lifting weights in the gym and flying laps. That's not great preparation for a couple of 250km stages and a race that covered over 1,000km in six days! It was the start of a big endurance block, that will also involve a training camp in California and the Tour of California and which, hopefully, won't end with us being carried home in a box!
Sadly, in Croatia, we lost Owain Doull to injury on the second day so that was our sprint threat gone but it was a great country - one I'd never been to before but would love to re-visit on holiday. The race was brilliantly organised, good food, great hotels and, while the transfers were long, we had our WIGGINS camper van so that was okay.
On the last day, I managed to get in a breakaway although sadly I didn't get on TV because two hours in, Dimension Data and Gazprom smashed it into cross-winds and swallowed us up. All in all, though, it was a good start to the training block and we managed to get Scott Davies into ninth on GC which was a good effort. Young Scott might have done even better but we had to ride a team time trial on the penultimate stage in rainy conditions which I can only describe as "ice skating on a bike” and we suffered a couple of crashes. Try and YouTube it, it's worth a look, I promise.
Onto Yorkshire, which I'm really looking forward to even if the weather forecast isn't great. It'll be a tough race, regardless, although the parcours looks a little more rider-friendly than last year when the first and third stages were ridiculous.
The third stage looks a tough one with a tricky finale, coming out of Robin Hood's Bay near Whitby, which will sort the race out. For me, hopefully, I can work for team mates on the first couple of days and maybe get into a move on stage three - and maybe this time I might even get on TV.