This year Joe made big leaps forward. It showed at the Giro; he was in most of the mountain stage breaks and came close to winning one of them.
He's been a complex project. The challenge has been to get him to ride well at pro level. While he won the Baby Giro, the thing about U23 racing is that on the lat parts you don’t have the sustained speeds of 55kph-plus that you get in the WorldTour. Making Joe able to handle WorldTour races has been the task. He’s incredibly gifted aerobically (if there was a World Uphill 100km TT Championship, he’d win) but he also has huge weak spots. Muscularly he just isn’t very strong, and his aerodynamics are bad. That’s not poor position, or Joe’s fault, it’s just the way he’s built. He’s tall and has wide hips and shoulders, so he’s like a giant radiator in the wind.
Last October we said let’s forget about being a climber and focus on surviving in the peloton. Joe hadn’t been in any breaks and that’s because the breaks go in the irst hour. You have to be fast to make the break and he wasn't. Until the end of January, he was training like Chris Hoy, doing sprints and weights, rarely riding over two hours. From February we did more traditional training – long rides, some altitude and restrictive diet. He hit the Giro just right but it was a complex recipe.
For next year, the top goal is to win a Giro stage. We’re not sure about GC – time trialling is hard for him, unless it’s an uphill test. I think his aptitude is for 200km mountain stages with ive passes.