The cycling season is long. With this sport being so hard in both the training and racing, it’s not a surprise that as we approach the end of the season our bodies start to feel the fatigue in a more serious way, but the effect that it has on racing is interestin­g. Add in different contract situations, the timing of different goals, and the world championsh­ips for some, and it can feel like quite a strange peloton. For me I’ve had a couple of hard stage races that have had a big effect. The Tour de Pologne and Benelux Tour, both very hard seven-day stage races, have put me in some good form, especially for longer efforts, but they have both pushed down the heart rate I can manage on the bike and made it important for me to get more of a warm-up before I can really feel the legs in the way I want to. I feel I can manage a pretty high power for less effort once I’m going well now but I can also spend the first two hours of a training ride worrying a lot about whether or not I’ll be able to get even halfway through the intervals I have set.

I do, but the feeling of notcomplet­ely-recovered legs from the start of every ride is difficult to deal with sometimes. I think the majority of people are in the same situation and that changes the racing. I’ve only done one race since the Benelux Tour but from previous experience, there’s often a bit more dead wood in the peloton. I mean that people who are too tired or lacking in motivation because they’re set for next year and just looking forward to the off-season.

Accelerati­ons from corners are sometimes very slightly less violent. There are more conversati­ons in the peloton going on throughout the race. I think there can also be more DNFs without reason, especially when the race finishes with a few laps of a circuit. Again, this is probably due to the contracts situation and maybe fatigue management. But don’t be fooled. The races are still incredibly hard. A lot of people see the end of the season as a big opportunit­y to take a result, and there is even more desperatio­n among those without a contract. There are also enough people on form to make some moments full gas.

Maybe this year is special as well because the World Championsh­ips are in Belgium and there are a lot of people in my races that are interested. But races like the Benelux Tour have been completely full gas with some top riders who have a big point to prove. That suits me well for now. I am a bit tired but without a fixed situation and of course with the British national championsh­ips in mid-October, I’m pleased to have the races pushing my limits. In the build-up to a big opportunit­y, I’m trying to take any chances that come in these other great opportunit­ies.

 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia