Blog with Pics and video:
Sunday was the East Yorkshire Classic Premier Calendar in Beverley.
I was feeling really fit and strong as I had just come back from some brilliant racing during my trip to the Basque Country. Iíll write about that in another blog.
Julyís been a great month, form and fitness wise, so much better than I was in the spring. This race was full of power climbs, a bit different from the long climbs I rode in the Basque Country.
The first 20 miles of the race was on big wide, fairly flat roads, so it suited the big guys of the bunch more. My plan was just to keep myself out of trouble until a crucial turn off at the 23 mile mark, where I had to be at least in the top 15 as it goes into single track, undulating, country roads, which is a magnet for bunch splits. I have to thank the guys in my team for their help in doing that.
Further on, the race went into the 3 hilly laps, the highlight of the race with some sticky climbs and fast, technical descents to contend with. I did my best to be in as many moves as I could. It was only a matter time before the bunch whittled down to around 30 riders with the attacking pace being set. I was in there making sure I didnít use too much strength and energy.
During lap 2, I made it into the winning break of the day. It contained most of the strongest riders in the race. More importantly, all the top teams were represented so there was little chance of us been chased down by the bunch. There were 14 other riders with me and 3 each from the Endura, Rapha and Motorpoint teams.
Guys like Tiernan-Locke and Bibby stepped up the pace on each of the last two major hills. Everyone was suffering and on their limit. Cramp was starting to set in my legs and I was forced to pace myself on the climbs, I was dropped with a few others but we were able to chase back to the group on the descent.
The 2nd hill, the 16% Nunburnholme climb at 70 miles, was the most severe of the whole race. As soon as we hit the climb, I knew my legs wouldnít keep up with the top guys. 4 or 5 of us got distanced from the leading group. I did the best to limit my losses and I pressed on as hard as I could after the summit.
I grouped up with Andy Tennant of Rapha, Gallagher of Cycle Premier and Yanto Barker of Pendragon. We held the group ahead at 30 secs for 5 or so miles but after that, the leaders went well out of sight.
We had over 4 mins over the bunch behind, but we had 30 miles of racing still to go so we had to keep ploughing on as fast as we could.
After reaching the finishing circuit, two and a half laps to go, we were starting to toil. The laps donít look much but when youíve been flat out for 20miles, they were a killer. The finish couldnít come any quicker.
During the last lap, a motorbike guy came up and warned us the bunch was chasing hard about 45 secs behind us. After so much effort I had put in, no way was I letting myself be caught. I gave it everything.
By the finish, I crossed the line 3 secs ahead of the pack. Close one!
Jeremy Hunt of Team Sky comfortably won the sprint for first place and I finished 15th, 2nd U23. Completely gubbed but happy with my performance.