My 2017 Season


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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

With the 2017 season over and winter upon us I thought this would be a good opportunity to have a look back at the highs and lows of the 2017 season.

 

Throughout 2017 I rode for Pedalsport CC which is a club based in Halifax with Pedalsport being a cycle shop there. However, Pedalsport has recently changed its name to Giant Halifax which is who I will be racing for next year. For this season I was also a Great Britain cycling team apprentice which was brilliant and I learnt a lot through it thanks to my coach Ben Greenwood to whom I owe a lot to for all my results this year.

 

Anyways on to the season. The season started quite quickly this year with the first round of the national youth circuit series being in late March in London. I had a good ride here and placed 2nd which I was extremely happy with. The race split up massively thanks to the fairly short but steep hill that we tackled every lap which resulted in a solo victory for the winner and then me winning the sprint from the chasing 4 man break behind. I attacked as soon as the victor went to try and bridge but it wasn’t enough so had to settle for 2nd through winning the sprint from the break that formed trying to chase down the leader. This was a hard race being off the front of the bunch for over an hour.


After this came the Easter holidays where the Pedalsport team had a training camp/holiday in Calpe, Spain. This was a great week away with mates and we all got some solid miles in as well. The people that went were me, Josh Greenwood, Max Rushby, Fin Cooper and James Bunting all of who have had great seasons also. The next big race to come was the Isle of Man youth tour which unfortunately wasn’t the best of races for me after a bad opening prologue and not quite having the climbing legs that I had at Hog hill. However, I still managed to get 5th on one stage and 8th overall.

Throughout May were the regional omnium qualifiers. These were held over 3 weekends where the top 4 placed overall riders after the 4 rounds qualify to go through to the national final/championships in July. Unfortunately, I was ill for a couple of these omniums and wasn’t in a qualifying position going in to the final round. However, I really manged to pull it out of the bag in the final omnium at Manchester velodrome where I placed 3rd overall and brought myself in to joint 4th overall with Josh meaning that we both qualified to our relief.                                                                                                                                                   May finished with the second stage race of the year and third round of the national series the North-West Youth Tour. I managed to get my second national podium of the year here placing 3rd overall after getting 3rd on the hilly stage and 5th in the flat stage that came down to a bunch sprint. I was happy with this as I podiumed overall and placed highly in a bunch sprint which I had not yet done this year, but was also a little disappointed as my prologue again wasn’t good and I felt like my climbing legs weren’t quite at their best after 3 weeks of track focus in the omniums leading up to this big event.  

 

June came next and with it came my first win of the season! I had been getting good results all year but never quite got the victory either nationally or in the few local races I had done so I was very happy to get the win in the under 16s Doncaster town centre crit in the first weekend of June. The crit season in Yorkshire is always hotly contested with the standard of riders in Yorkshire being so high in my age category as there is 5 riders usually in the top 10 in nationals all from Yorkshire and all of which do the crits. At Doncaster I managed to counter attack with 12 laps of a 1km circuit remaining and solo away to the victory. I am very thankful to Max and Josh for this victory also who slowed the bunch down to allow me to stay away and take the victory. Max also took the bunch sprint for 2nd as well to get us a 1-2 for Pedalsport. I then also raced the 3/4 cat men’s race afterwards and managed to win the bunch sprint in that to take 2nd behind Max who won solo this time. This was a pretty great day for us as it got Pedalsport the second 1-2 of the day just with the positions of the riders swapped.

More crits at Ilkley, Otley and Skipton followed which unfortunately I didn’t do as well in as I got 4th in all 3 which was quite frustrating. I did however manage to get 2nd in the 3/4 cat mens race at Ilkley which was quite pleasing.

 During June there was also another round of the National series which was a crit in Stirling, Scotland where I unfortunately didn’t have great legs but managed to pick up 10th. This was however a very special day as I saw my great friend and team mate Max take a very worthy win in a national race.

 

July was a very successful month for me and the Pedalsport riders and the first big race of it was the national omnium championships. I somehow managed to get a surprise 4th overall at this event which I was happy with as it was very unexpected. The events were the kilo TT, devil, scratch, keirin and points all of which went well for me. I improved my kilo by a lot which I was happy with as it had been something I had struggled with and managed to place 11th in it. I then placed 4th in the devil, 8th in the scratch and very surprisingly 2nd in the keirin which left me laying 5th going in to the final race the points. I raced well again managing to win the final sprint and moved up to 4th which was something I would’ve never expected going in to today. However, I was also a little disappointed as I ended up being only 4 points off a medal in the end, but the day was a great success never the less as James Bunting won the national title which was great to see.

The national road champs came the weekend after in Milton Keynes where unfortunately it wasn’t my day and I finished 10th. I tried to get away but both a mixture of the course and my legs meant I couldn’t, so I had to contest the bunch sprint where I did ok.

Next however was a weekend filled with success in the Txuma international stage race in the Basque country in Spain. There were 3 stages which were all hilly and completely different to racing in Britain. On the first stage I attacked after the first intermediate sprint along with Jenson from Pedalsport and we stayed away for 15km. We were however caught and it came down to a bunch sprint. Me and Max tried to lead out Josh but it didn’t quite work unfortunately but we still managed to get Max 4th on the stage, me 6th and Josh 8th. This got us in to the lead in the team classification after stage 1. On the 2nd stage there was a very hard hill where Jenson and Max worked for me and I was able to take the maximum KOM points at the top to put me in contention for the jersey. The group was quite small going in to the finish but Billy, another one of the Pedalsport riders, attacked and took the bonus seconds at the intermediate sprint. Unfortunately, a solo leader got away which meant the win was out of sight but I managed to get 3rd in the bunch sprint to take 4th on the stage. On the final stage we as a team decided to work for Billy early on and then for me and Max to attack later to try and get away. This worked well and I was able to lead out Max and Billy to get a 1-2 on the first intermediate sprint but after this I didn’t have the legs to get away when I attacked so was brought back quite easily. A 2 man break got away on the last time up the draggy hill and they stayed away to the finish as no one had the legs to bring them back. I was still able to take 10th on the stage which was good. This left me with 3 top 10s on the stages, 4th in the mountains classification, 4th in the points classification and 3rd in the team classification. It was a great weekend with great people and has given me confidence for the upcoming races as my legs felt very good and has also made me excited for the Spanish races next year which I will hopefully be back for.

  

August was the last full month of racing for me and of my youth career with only one race coming in September. First up were the National track championships in Newport. First came the individual pursuit where I got 16th. This may not seem too good but I was very happy as I improved on my PB by 5 seconds to get a decent time of 2:23 which was a big deal to me as I had really struggled with TTing all year. I then managed to get 8th in the points, 7th in the scratch, 14th in the 500 TT and a controversial 4th (3rd) in the Madison. Track nationals overall as a week were decent.

A little over a week later came the final ever under 16s national series race I would do at Scarborough. I was so happy to win and finally get a national series win to my name! There was a really hard hill every lap that reached ramps of 25%. Max attacked after the first time up the hill and I followed him and in that moment we got a huge gap. We slowly reeled back the 3 riders up the road and after the final time up the hill Max lead me out for me to take the sprint from the small group of 5 to take the victory. It really meant a lot to win this race and I owe a huge amount to Max for it.

     

After a small holiday in Whitby in Josh’s caravan it was on to the School games in Loughborough next. Here I represented my home county of Yorkshire along with 7 others from my region. Unfortunately, I didn’t have great legs this weekend so could only place 9th in the road race but it was a great weekend with great people and the Yorkshire boys did really well overall which was good.

The season finished at the inter-regional track championships which were run in the same way as the school games but with just cycling taking place. I again represented Yorkshire where we finished 3rd overall as a team and got lots of great results along the way. For me personally I managed to place 3rd in the points race, win the Madison with my partner and team mate Sam Watson, win the team sprint with Max and James and also win the team pursuit with all 3 of them and managing to break the national record in the process. It was a fantastic way to end the season!

 

I would like to thank everyone at Pedalsport/Giant Halifax who has helped throughout the year both in the shop and for the team and at British cycling who helped loads putting on all the events and training sessions for me and everyone else all year. I would also like to thank all the parents who have helped and supported all year also and a very big thank you to my parents as nothing would have been possible without them! I would finally like to thank all my teammates and friends that I’ve made and been with all year who made the year what it was. Hopefully another good season will come next year with Giant Halifax.