The young Brit talks about the ups and downs of his first year in the pro peloton and the expectations he has for his second season with the Wolfpack.
Looking back at the whole, 2018 was a really good season, especially considering the fact it was my first year in the World Tour and it was a big step up. For the majority of the first half I found the change in level noticeable. I did some really difficult races – Volta a Catalunya, Vuelta al Pais Vasco, Criterium du Dauphiné – but managed to get through them and help the team where I could.
For the second part of the year I built on some good form and felt like I developed a lot as a rider and even received a couple of opportunities to get some good results at the end of the season, so looking at it I am happy with how it went. The race that gave me a lot of confidence was the Tour of Wallonie. It came right after my mid-season break – which I spent in Livigno with the team, before traveling to Belgium. I was always on the attack in the hardest moments of the race – and I can tell you it was a tough race – and ended up not only helping the team, but also getting a good result for myself.
I felt that I’ve made an important step forward instead of just surviving, like it was the case in other races. There was a lot going on in Wallonie, you had to be always alert and really smart as well, not just strong. At the other end was Dauphiné, the hardest race of the season for me, where I encountered some low moments. On the other hand, doing a race like that in my first pro year was a learning curve and seeing what the level was helped a lot long-term.
Another highlight was being selected on Great Britain’s team for the World Championships in Innsbruck. It was so cool to represent my country at an elite level, something really special. Ok, the race itself was brutal, but riding there made for an amazing experience.
Now I’m in Australia and I must say that I am very excited to race the Tour Down Under, which I find to be a super nice event. It’s the first time that I’ve started the season so early, but I can’t complain, as we began our campaign with a great victory on the opening stage, which brought the leader’s jersey for a day. This only added to the excitement of kicking off the season somewhere different, on a new continent. From here I’ll go to Melbourne, for the Cadel Evans Race, and then return to Europe, before traveling to the Middle East at the end of February for the UAE Tour.
The season is in its infancy, but I hope it will turn out to be another great one together with the Wolfpack; I am keen on continuing my development, doing the job for the team, but also taking my chances where and when I can and get some nice results.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele/ Getty Images