This week’s issue should have been the Tour preview, in it’s absence we’re instead celebrating all things French cycling. Among our features doing just that is one about young Brits heading abroad to race. A rite of passage for a young, ambitious cyclist. I did it myself in 2000, albeit to Ghent, Belgium, racing for a few months in an international team in races big and small.
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While for the likes of Dan Martin and Robert Millar, these transformational seasons were a stepping stone to a pro career, for the likes of me, it was more akin to a gap year. Although I dreamt big, my ability was not able to match it.
I lived, raced and trained with other Brits, Kiwis, Australians, Slovenians and Canadians. All came and went with just one person turning pro. I took an absolute kicking that year and for a while I was pretty crushed by that, but looking back it was some of the best times of my life.
Like many riders I started with John Barclay trips to races in Flanders. I remember a Belgian Kermesse with a steep one kilometre climb in it each lap. Not your usual fast, flat kermesse. It was won by Charly Wegelius while I was 11th, I recall. He went on to sign for Mapei while I came home from my year abroad and worked at Ann Summers.
Funny how things work out.
Cycling Weekly magazine editor
Inside the magazine this week
– Espoir riders given a year’s grace
– Quiz – how well do you remember the 1990s?
– Jeannie Longo’s 30 year career
– Vive la France! – 23 page special feature
– Could you beat a pro on Zwift?
– Trek’s new Emonda
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