Procycling - - PROLOGUE -

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

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