Tom Yiangou’s 2016 Season Wrap

What a year it has been. It’s been tough going from the get go, whether it’s been locally, nationally or internationally almost every race has been full gas. However, as physically challenging as it has been, it has also been a blessing. The crazy jump from the top level of junior racing to the top level of senior racing competing against the best professional riders in the UK and the world was, admittedly, far bigger than I expected. After having a knee injury at the beginning of the year the premier calendar filled first half of the season set off with a slow and frustrating road to form. After having to take so much time off at a key moment between the first race of the year and the Manx International GP my form became compromised for a considerable amount of time, failing to come home with any decent races until the mid-season. After slowly building back up, I made a trip over to one of my favourite parts of Europe – Luxembourg and the Ardennes. I had previously made a two-week long trip to the Ardennes earlier in the year and had a top 10 in the EZC Wallonia Provincial Championship, so I was excited to make a return to what I consider my favourite part of the world to race.

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It began with a prestigious race through the Lac De Cherapont in Gouvy, taking in 6 laps of a 20km loop, with a 4km climb of the Cote de Cetturu each lap. I was in some good shape after taking an easier week and I was ready for the grippy day to come. After the field let an early break literally ride off from the gun, the first ascent split the field to pieces. I was at a back foot after being so far back but I made up places bit by bit through the windy climb and over the top. A break of 6 had been established after the amateur Belgian national champion has set a ripping pace up the climb and I as sat in the second group on the road as we began the main descent – a group of 12, with the rest of the field completely of site. It became a race of attrition, constantly pulling turns to get closer to the 6 in front but never getting closer than 30 seconds away. The small French climbers began piling the pressure on with 3 climbs to go and the race suddenly became tougher and tougher, with the legs feeling especially sore and soon everything became irrelevant and the only thing to focus on was pain. With the final climb approaching I realised it was no longer about chasing the front men, but staying with the second group on the road. During the first half of the final Cetturu ascent I entered a place on the bike that I don’t think I had ever been before. The aerobic, cardiovascular and muscular stress was combined to create a blank and empty mind focused on holding the Mavic wheel in front of me and nothing else. Sweat covered my Oakley sunglasses to the point of no visibility, and I somehow managed to place them at the back of my helmet through the pain. Then suddenly the pace dropped, massively. The French rider who was previously going full had sat up for his team mate who then attacked – but to my surprise nobody followed. With no logic, I thought to myself “I’m already in the red, I’ll just carry on”. So I did, and to my surprise I suddenly only had half of the riders of the group on my wheel, and as the gradient reduced I began to have some better sensations, found a nice rhythm and before I knew it – rather eagerly and stupidly, I had brought back and went over the top of the attacking rider. My attempts of riding solo into the top 10 were futile however, as I was eventually caught in the run in to the line with a slight cross-head wind drag proving too much for my 10 second gap. I continued to go full gas as they caught and surpassed me and finished at the back of the second group of 6 to 13th, a result that I was very pleased with. I consumed an extremely tasty waffle at the finish and the addictive post-race exhaustion felt extra good that day.

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After a fantastic training week in Luxembourg producing new optimum power data and weight, it was race day at the GP Skoda around the surrounding towns of the Luxemburg City. A long, windy course with a number of short and sharp climbs on a 35 degree day was going to be hard, but epic. The nerves kicked in as team vans and busses arrived, with the countries best riders all there. Numerous UCI teams and some of the top U23’s in Europe lined up for the mixed competition of Espoir (U23) and Elite Seniors. The race turned out to be absolutely savage, with a new breakaway going each lap. But with so many organised teams, it was nearly impossible to reach a move that would last for more than 10km. However, with 30km to go I noticed a well-known Italian rider chip off the front so immediately followed 4 others who pressed on up the climb to join him. At first I thought it wouldn’t stick but the main teams of the day were in fact all present, bar the Leopard devo team. This nevertheless had no effect on its success in being the winning move. But today my luck wasn’t by my side. The pressure was heavily on, with all the riders in this lead move being extraordinarily strong I could only just about pull turns. However, I soon found out I wasn’t the only one – as I joined the back of the four after pulling off the front, the rider in front violently swung out to refuse to go through. Before I could look up to see the new direction my bike was heading, I had already made contact with a traffic island and my leg had a fine slice, courtesy of a road sign. Adrenaline set in and I was going all out to regain contact with the others before I’d even looked down at my now empty bottle cages. After a few minutes of chasing my previous companions at the head of the race I realised I was getting closer to the chasing group a few seconds behind than I was to them. Frustrated, I was caught by the following 10 man move headed by two Leopard riders, with around 1 minute on the peloton. With the final 10km in sight I gratefully picked up a bottle from a team car behind and prepared for the final. A podium in the U23 category was still up for grabs and I had the legs today. Over the top of the final climb before hitting the finishing berg, moves started to go. I sat on each rider who jumped, waiting for more riders to go and for their elastic to eventually break. I kept my powder as dry as possible before attacking with around 95% of my capacity, establishing a nice gap with just over a kilometre to go into a strong headwind. The head was down, and I began pushing my Giant TCR through all of its capacity. I rounded the final hairpin on the short and sharp finishing climb with riders reaching my back wheel. I gave it everything I possibly had to hold on but was passed in the final meters, just holding on to 6th place in the U23 Classement with a photo finish. At the finish, I came to realisation of the cut on my leg. The adrenaline, exercise induced stress and satisfaction of the race covered up its pain nicely. I had it seen to and bandaged, collected the generous prize money as it always is in Europe and began the journey back to the UK. It had been an amazing trip with vital learning and experience.

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Back home, the final races of the year were sweet and sour. My local race just 5km from my house was certainly a good one to begin ending the season on. Having stupidly missed the 15 man move that went in the first 20km, I had to bridge across the two-minute gap over to the head of the race, taking the road race lap record and some nice new record numbers along with the way. The chase was a very brutal 30-minute effort, and I was 90% empty by the time I had reached the breakaway. Thus, when 4 riders made a move with 4km remaining, I could not follow. I sat at the back of the breakaway for a breather and took the sprint for 5th, a nice result but it’s never nice when you know you have the legs for the win. The final two races of the year following that were less satisfying – 120km at 45kph (75 miles at 28mph) at the John Walker Cup, with good racing but no good result in the end there. The final of the year was another local classic road race, the Maldon CC RR round the windy open marsh lanes of Steeple, Southminster and Mayland. It started very well, with good sensations and the race was panning out perfectly. However, less than an hour in the wet and muddy corners through the fields got the better of me, and my front wheel slipped harshly causing a pretty raw crash. Luckily no broken bones or lasting injuries – just some heavy bruising on the upper leg and standard cases of road rash. Not the worst crash, but a tough way to end a tough year for sure.

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I’m now looking forward to a nice few weeks off the bike with circuit training, running and yoga before beginning a big winter of 2017 preparations on the roads of Norfolk, with the season re-starting in March with Neon Velo whilst also studying Environmental Geography and Climate Change at UEA in Norwich.

Thanks Neon-Velo and all of the sponsors for making 2016 such a positive and flowing year, I look forward to an even better 2017!

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Durrin grabs a podium spot in the UCI C2 Gloucester GP

On Saturday Jeremy raced the Gloucester Grand Prix UCI C2 in Massachusetts.

It was a fast, dry and dusty course which meant that much of the race was group racing. So it meant that Durrin needed to race smart and stay out of trouble.

With 2 laps to go Curtis White of Cannondale Cyclocross World attacked. The rest of the group were too busy looking at each other to counter the attack and so Curtis powered away to take a commanding win. Coming into the final few corners it was still a group of 5 together fighting for the remaining podium spots. Durrin lead onto the pavement and got pipped to the line by Danny Summerhill of Maxxis Shimano.

Durrin had this to say:

”I am very happy to come away with a podium at Gloucester- a home race in front of my family and friends. I felt really good all race and felt in control. The one regret I have is not acting quick enough when Curtis attacked. We were all too busy looking at each other to see who would counter. But overall a solid ride for me. I needed to podium here because Gabby has pretty much always been on the podium in this race, so I needed to continue the tradition!!”


End of season de-brief with the ‘silent assasin’ Kieran Simcox

Kieran Simcox is one of the young talents of the UK. The 2016 season was his first time racing in the Elite Premier calendar races as a first year U23. He has shown that he is very determined and capable of riding with the best and has a lot of talent. We are excited to see how he progresses in the 2017 season and beyond.

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Tell us about your season so far:

This season has been pretty decent for me being a first year senior. Sadly no mega results but I’ve come close and finished every Premier calendar and UCI race I have started. It’s been extremely tough as the jump from the Junior ranks is so huge. Going from riding 60mile junior National series races to riding 100+mile UCI races against some of the best riders in Europe. I’ve now ended my season had a little break and am starting my preparations for 2017.

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What has it been like racing your first full Prem calendar season?

At first it was quite daunting as i’d not been riding a bike very long. I was the youngest in every race and it was going into the unknown for me having never raced these sort of distances against such high domestic talent. However I finished Chorley GP and quickly realised I could get to the finish and so decided to change my approach from just finishing to trying to make a name for myself by being more aggressive and tried to get myself some TV time to both promote me but also the team sponsors.

Tell us about the RAS experience…

The RAS was simply awesome- an 8 stage UCI stage race across Ireland. I started off with hope of trying to do something in the U23 category which would have been a huge task with the likes of Eddie Dunbar competing and also the U23 Australian national team. However sadly I went down extremely heavily on the first day and lost a huge chunk of time ruining my chances of doing anything on the overall. This also meant that for the majority of the week I struggled through it being extremely sore but I did everything I could to help out the other guys on the team. And it felt great to be part of a team all working well together.

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What have you learnt?

This year I have learnt most the importance of riding as a team and that with this comes results. With there only being 5 man teams in the RAS we needed to be an extremely tight knit group so that we would help each other. And with teamwork comes respect from the bigger teams in the race.

What are your strengths?

Teamwork is one strength of mine going back for bottles and so on. I also love getting myself into a breakaway and representing the teams sponsors. I am also quite light so I am quite handy on climbs!

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What has been your favourite race this season?

Easily the An Post RAS.

What are your goals and ambitions for next season?

My ambitions next season are to grow as a rider and hopefully get a few top 10’s in premier calendar races.

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Reynolds catches up with Durrin on his season so far

Reynolds sponsor Jeremy Durrin for the cyclocross season and they recently caught up with Jeremy for a chat about the season so far. He talks about #happinesswatts and how he met Jeremy Powers who became a mentor to him.

Durrin races on the Reynolds Assault carbon disc wheels with FMB Elite Prototype tubulars.

Click the link to find out more:

https://reynoldscycling.exposure.co/getting-stuck-in-with-professional-cyclocross-racer-jeremy-durrin

 

 


Charm City UCI Cyclocross Weekend Photo Diary

This past weekend was Charm City UCI Cyclocross races. Day 1- C2 with lots of mud and Day 2- C1- sunshine.

Jeremy finished 11th on day 1 after a mechanical issue and 6th on day 2. He is feeling stronger every race and will be vying for the podium spots next weekend.

The talented Meg Mcmahon was there to capture Jeremy Durrin in action.


Bergy’s End of Season Hurrah

We recently caught up with Will Bjergfelt- he ended his 2016 race season by competing in the World Masters Championships on the track.

Read about his experience below in his own words.

My last competition of the 2016 season and my first time racing indoors on the infamous Velodrome up in Manchester in the UCI Masters World Championships was a relative success. I have worked hard to come back from injury this year and wanted to broaden my cycling palmeres to include some track events the Individual pursuit is well suited to my strengths and with this mind it was my end of season target as a precursor to the British National Championships in January 2017. My coach (Courtney Rowe of Rowe&King Coaching) has a huge amount of experience in this field and has been driving me hard knowing the level at the Worlds would be high. I have been doing double day training sessions on the track and road for the past eight weeks with this in mind seeing weekly improvements. I felt ultra-relaxed and chilled out about his event as I had set my PB’s in training in the final week running into the event and going on previous year’s competition expected to be medal competitive.

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Upon arrival Friend and helper for the day Tristian Robbins and I unloaded the car and transferred all my equipment to track centre. It’s amazing how much you need to carry for a sub four minute effort, road bike, rollers, track bike, track pack, tool kit, and spare riding kit, chairs etc. Qualification would be the first objective of the day and being that my qualification time was later I was able to see many of my fellow competitors set their best efforts and times early on knowing what I would need to do in my effort. One of the early riders to set the standard was Secret Training’s Si Wilson who set a blistering time of 3.25.285 the next fastest time set was by a South African rider Gert Fouche a 3.24.670! Wow, I now had to ride ultra-fast if I wanted to ride for a medal in the evening and was up against the current British National Champion Scott Burns. I started a touch on the slow side being my first time jumping out of a real start gate and my first time riding with batons around the cote d azur (bottom of the track) these little things affected me more than id hoped they would, I rode consistently though and was quick enough to win my heat and post a time of 3.33.389 for the 3km TT effort. Last riders up in qualification were also expected to ride fast Nicholas English podium’d in the Masters Worlds last year in this event and Alistair Rutherford has a whole heap of track pedigree suggesting he would be quick. Ali won his heat in a time of 3.29.483 with Nic posting a 3.34.159 meaning I was into the finals and ride for a bronze medal later in the evening.

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We had a long wait as the finals wouldn’t start until late in the evening this gave me time to mull over how I could maybe find around 4 seconds in my next effort to run give Ali a run for his money. Tristian has a wealth of experience in track cycling so he took me through his thoughts and ideas on this as we had a late lunch pushing hard on the pedals whilst waiting for the gate to release me starting harder and then focusing more on Tristian pacing me would hopefully make the difference. The event arrived and having completed my second warm up of the day on my TCR Advanced SL on rollers I was ready to hit out and see if I could medal. I mounted the bike in the start gate and breathed in deeply as the timing clock counted down from 45 seconds to go as it hits 5 seconds the beeps start and its go time the extended final beep signals the gate release and a sprint from the gate for the first 175 meters to get myself up to pace before settling into my TT position I felt more at ease this time in the effort and despite still not starting as fast as I have in training I was running decent lap times of circa 16.7 seconds which if I could sustain would hit the goal 2 minutes into the effort and my body started to scream I had a poor lap of 17.8 not good a couple of quicker laps followed by another 17.8 led me into my final lap a 17.0 and as the gun fired to signify the end of the race I looked up at the big screen to see I had lost by about 1.7 seconds arghhh.  My time was a quicker 3.31.981 but Ali’s 3.30.203 had got the better of me so close.

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In retrospect I am happy with my result and know there is more to come from me in this type of competition.  But for now this signifies the end of my season and start of my winter beak before I start re-building my fitness for the 2017 season where I intend to be as good as I was in the 2015 season pre accident.

Massive thanks to everyone who has helped me out this year

Neon Velo Pro-Cycling

Rowe and King Coaching

No-Pinz

Reynolds

Rotor


Giant Bicycles Feature Jeremy Durrin’s ‘Bold & Bright’ TCX Advanced Pro bikes

Giant Bicycles recently did a little feature on Pro cyclocross racer Jeremy Durrin and his TCX Advanced Pro bikes.

We are lucky to have the support of Giant and Giant St Pauls Store in London along with H2.

Click the link below to read all about it.

https://www.giant-bicycles.com/global/news/bike-check-with-jeremy-durrin/20579