I want to talk about how the Ovo Energy Women’s Tour went last week and offer my views on how the road Nationals are going to go this week, but all I can think about is the pain the former has put me in and the dread that’s causing me for the latter.
Currently, my whole body is broken. I was promised amazing form off the back of a huge stage race, but it’s yet to kick in. Do I need to register online for the form? Was I meant to pull off a ticket at the startline so I’d know when my form was ready? Why isn’t it here? They all told me it would be here.
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It was worth it though, the annihilation of my legs. I raced in a Women’s WorldTour race and actually raced. I’ve ridden the Women’s Tour twice before (2014 and ’15) and both times I’ve been simply in attendance (with the exception of a flukey eighth place stage finish in 2015).
This year, though a late crash in stage four really pelted any general classification hopes I had, I was actually fighting for the sprints jersey and contending the finales (fifth, seventh and 12th being my best stage finishes).
A sense of jubilation at simply being at the head of a road race sits in fairly stark contrast to becoming world champion on the track just months previous, but that’s a huge part of the pleasure I’ve taken from this road season so far; the lack of expectation.
That’s something I hope to carry into the road Nationals next week on the Isle of Man. My WNT team-mate Hayley Simmonds carries all the pressure for the TT as current champion, and a recent bout of climbing triumphs while racing in Spain certainly marked her as ready for the lumpy course.
I’m also excited to see Elinor Barker (my Rio pursuiting team-mate) show herself in the TT: junior world champion in 2012, this might be the first road season she’s been able to refocus on the event — the outcome is potentially delightful.
Hopefully neither of them see this and suffer from the curse of being a favourite. Hayley and El, if you are reading, my apologies!