Well, that’s another season chalked off. It’s been a bit of a mixed bag of highs and lows for me. The biggest high was finishing third in Il Lombardia. Right at the start of the season, I set myself the goal of making the podium in one of the Classics. I thought it would come in the Ardennes, at Flèche or Liège-Bastogne-Liège maybe, but instead it came in my last race of the season.
Another highlight for me was Paris-Nice. I was at a high level all week, almost won a stage and finished sixth overall. I was really pleased with that one.
I was obviously disappointed that I could not hit the same highs in the hilly Classics, which are in my backyard and which suit me the best. Especially after going so well at Paris-Nice and my third place in Flèche last year, it was a blow. Also, I was not happy with the period around the Critérium du Dauphiné because that led to me not making the selection for the Tour de France. It means I still have to go another year at least to make my debut there.
But some good things came out of hard moments. I was really pleased to be working with my coach, David Bailey, because after the Tour disappointment, we worked really hard together to get the end of my season back on track. He helped build up my morale and we fought back hard. I had a good run at the Tour of Poland, the Vuelta a España and the Italian Classics. That was a long stretch of racing and I was in really good shape.
I missed a win of course, but that was more a matter of circumstance than form. I was second and third enough times to know that if the race had played out differently I could have won.
In fact, I think I learned more from this year of ups and downs than I did last year when I had long runs of success. Maybe the biggest lesson was that I can cope with the lows and the expectation. There were also times this year when I pushed my training too hard. Next year, I will have the confidence to back off a little bit earlier and keep my freshness.
And so now my thoughts are turning towards next season when I’ll join Bahrain-Merida. There are a few ambitions on my list. I would like to ride more of the cobbled Classics, for instance. I used to thrive in those races in the U23 ranks and I want to see what
I can do as a professional. But that also has to be balanced with racing where I know I’m good, and that means the hilly Classics. For now though, all these thoughts remain just that – thoughts – until the plans start getting made in December. Now is the time to recharge the batteries before the next season begins.
Maybe the biggest lesson was that I can cope with the lows and expectation. There were also times this year when I pushed training too hard
Dylan's 2018 ended well, and at the Vuelta he inished with ive stage top- ives