CHARLIE QUARTER MAN
TREK-S EGA FRED O
If any of you know how social media works as well as magazines, you may have seen something from me published before Binche-Chimay-Binche giving away some information that some may have guessed from my previous columns. I will repeat it for you anyway. That race was my last one with my Trek-Segafredo team-mates.
At the time of writing, I’m in the days before the national championships and that will be my last outing in the race kit (unless I take it on a café ride to treat myself because I prefer the white jersey). I’m not retiring so I do care about the image I portray in this entry, and so I will not reveal all the details involved in this story, but I’m feeling generous so I’ll give you a taster.
This all started in June. I had just finished the final race in a month of stage racing, which was my return after all the concussion stuff. My legs had finally got back to pretty much what I was hoping for and the racing was going well but with two months without racing just after, I took time off the bike as instructed and I started to stress about the radio silence on the contract front. The silence continued through the Tour de France despite all the meetings my agent had.
The break was feeling more tiring than the stage races
I was doing before it. It was a mix of confusion, disbelief, frustration, and worry that was coming in and out from day to day. Here I describe a few weeks in the summer but this has basically continued until now. I now know why I’m not being renewed; it’s something about my development not coming fast enough, but there’s more at play than that. It’s disappointing given the sacrifices and hours I’ve done in service of the team leaders without a consideration for myself. I suppose pro cycling is cut-throat like that and young riders don’t automatically have time to adapt.
This is a story that is not covered in the world of cycling because the news is full of the long-term contract of Tadej Pogacar and his pals up there at the top of the top, but the feeling of being without a job for the next year for us is really horrible.
I’m pleased to have an agent who is doing everything possible for a solution so I can count on him but there are risks. Cycling is not a sport you can take a little year out of and come back later. The pressure placed on young riders makes it worse and actually the stress of the situation makes it even harder to get out of it. This is because the stress and pressure we put on ourselves to perform in this moment is so big as we know it can make so much difference.
At the same time we know we can make ourselves even more fatigued and overloaded in the races, and so attacking or sprinting becomes out of reach. It can feel like a vicious circle and everyone is watching you spin around helplessly. I hope to have more positive news next month.
The stress and pressure we put on ourselves to perform in this moment is so big as we know it can make so much difference