It was a last minute decision to race in Hadleigh on the 2012 Olympic Games course but it turned out to be a good one. After some great results in the USA I travelled to my European base in Germany to get settled in. After battling jetlag and the elements for a week I was starting to feel confident that I could piece together another good performance against world class competition in Hadleigh.
Travelling in on Friday was an all day affair with flights, rental car pick ups and traffic jams on the way but eventually Sergio and I made it to our accommodation. We were based nice and close to the track so after a good sleep in we headed out for a few practice laps on Saturday afternoon. The track was really enjoyable to ride with lots of fun sections to look forward to, multi choice line options and enough demanding climbs to punish the legs and lungs.
Race day rolled around and with a later 3.00 pm start I went for an easy 30 minute spin in the morning to make sure my legs didn’t turn off before the big show. I had a really good start to the race and took the lead into the first single-track section. I felt I didn’t have a great prerace warm-up so I tried to keep things tempo on the first lap and not hit the redline too early. After lap 1 of 7 the pace was being pushed by the Cannondale boys, Manual Fumic and World Number 3 Maxime Marotte. The lead group formed of 6 riders before becoming 5 and then 4 with just 3 laps remaining. It was left to Daniel McConnell, Maxime, Manual and myself to duke it out for the win. Splits formed between us four but closed again over the last lap making for a very tactical and messy run into the finish. I pushed to the front just before the last climb but Maxime was able to come under me into a tight left hand uphill hairpin and I was too late to close the door on him. From then it was follow the leader to the finish line with no chance to pass or contest the sprint from behind. Slightly disappointing to have come so close again against such a big name but I’m also very happy to get the much needed points for my start position in Nove Mesto. Not to mention prove myself against the top riders once again.
I’m really looking forward to what lies ahead and the direction this season is starting to take.