Blog: Tour of Brittany

Tom Copeland is supported by the John Ibbotson fund and this year rides for Division 1 Espoir team BIC2000 in France. The youngster from Surrey tackles the biggest race of his career this week, the Tour of Brittany.

Day 6: Woke up this morning to heavy rain and grey clouds – just what you need to get pumped for 24kms of pain! The forecast was set to get better as the day went on and for once it lived up to its word with the sun coming out by the start of affairs.

My TT was pretty poor and doesn?t need much describing really as it all came down to me losing all motivation when I got passed after about 10kms. After that I couldn?t really dig too deep and ended up with a poor time and position. Out of the team our top finisher was 35th so nothing to shout about really.

However the talking point of the day was the winner, Timofey Kritskey, a Russian from Katyusha who put 47 seconds into second place and about 55 seconds into Engoulevent in third. Impressive. The legs are feeling much better this eve after a light and fairly easy day so hopefully I can do something tomorrow to finish off on a good note.

Day 7: Well I wanted to do something and I won?t be forgetting today?s stage for a while, that?s for sure. After a flat out start, everything came back together after about 30kms. Three riders had just clipped off the front and I was well placed in the bunch and managed to jump across, taking a few riders with and forming what turned out to be the break of the day.

However it wasn?t to last that long for me as inexperience in these sorts of races let me down about ten kilometres later. We were still hammering it as the bunch were chasing at about 20 seconds when we hit the second KOM on which my legs started to scream. I was in second to last wheel with Engoulevent behind when I started to lose the wheel in front. I tried to flick him though but he wasn?t moving from my wheel. I knew what was coming next as when we crested the climb he jumped me and bridged across leaving me chasing alone behind. They soon started to pull away and after a few kilometres chasing I got swallowed up by the chasing bunch. Nothing changed before the finish circuits where war broke out with an attempt to snatch the jersey off the leaders back but all came to nothing as most of the break was caught and what was left of the bunch came in about 10 seconds after the leading three.

On the last lap our team leader Clement punctured and I was next to him so I stopped to give him a wheel but he wanted to wait for the car instead, which wrote off both of our chances of any placing at the finish. Neither of us got back on and ended up finishing the last lap fairly steady to roll in about 60th a few minutes down.

All in all it?s been a good tour, the first week-long race I?ve done and the first 2.2 also. It?s been a steep learning curve with ups and downs and I have learnt a lot in a week and feel more confident in myself coming out of it. Now I?ll have a few days to recover then hopefully I can profit from a week of racing over 160km a day to give me some killer form to get my first win of the season and also my first win on French soil.

Thanks for following. Tom