The Tour de France was a great experience but the bigger picture is more important right now
English rider blogs from his last day at the world's premier cycle race
Last Updated: 21/07/14 12:04pm
I’m afraid to say I’m going to be leaving the Tour de France today, after my Orica-GreenEdge team decided to pull me out in order to avoid exhausting me.
It’s not generally the done thing for riders of my age (21) to complete the full three weeks of a Grand Tour, and the 15 stages I finished were already double the most amount of racing I had previously ever done at one time.
I’m disappointed I won’t be able to finish the race, but at the same time, I’m 100 per cent on board with the decision and fully understand that it’s the right course of action to take.
I never thought that I would be racing at the Tour de France so early in my career, nevermind being up there in the lead group.
Rather than take the glory of riding into Paris this year, it’s more important to look at the bigger picture and focus instead on continuing my development gradually, so that if – hopefully when – I come back to this race, I’m in the best position possible.
Once in a lifetime
I leave the Tour with some invaluable lessons and wonderful memories. It’s been a great experience, especially starting in Yorkshire. That was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I’ll never forget.
It was also really good to have managed to get into two breakaways and, for a fleeting moment in the first one, even think that I might be able to challenge for the win. Being out in front like that, in the biggest race in the world, was a dream come true. I never thought that I would be racing at the Tour de France so early in my career, nevermind being up there in the lead group.
One of the biggest lessons I will take from the Tour is the importance of recovery and conserving your energy as wisely as possible. In a three-week race, every morsel of energy has its value and you can’t just go throwing it away cheaply. I understood that before, obviously, but now appreciate that it’s more vital than ever when you’re riding a Grand Tour.
I’m actually writing this from the team hotel. I’ve just had breakfast and now I’m waiting to be picked up and driven back to my training base in Girona, which is conveniently only about an hour and a half away.
And then it’s back to being a fan and watching the Tour on TV, which will be strange. I’m quite looking forward to relaxing and enjoying it as a spectacle a bit more. Sofa, feet up – that’s much easier than grafting all day in the scorching heat or pouring rain.
The team are still hoping to get a win in the remaining days and there looks to be one or two opportunities, so I’ll be cheering them on and keeping my fingers crossed.
For me personally, I’ll rest up and recuperate a little bit, and then the next race I’m going to be doing looks like it will be the Clasica de San Sebastian in Spain on August 2, which is a couple of weeks away.
One thing for certain is that I’m a better bike rider now than I was just over two weeks ago.
That course should actually suit me quite well, but then again I don’t know who else is going to be there, or how I’m going to be feeling after the Tour, so I’m not making any bold predictions that I will win or anything.
Even though I’ve only just left the Tour, I’m already really excited about getting back racing and chasing down that illustrious victory. My twin brother and team-mate, Adam, got his first win months ago, so I’m really keen to break my duck and get back level with him.
But in general, I would really like to have a strong end to the season. Whether that will include taking part in the world championships in Spain in September, I don’t yet know.
I would obviously love to be there and play a part for whoever the British team’s leader might be, but with British cycling being in such a strong place at the moment, it will be extremely hard to get in the team. But if I was given that opportunity, I would be really up for it.
One thing for certain is that I’m a better bike rider now than I was just over two weeks ago and I’ve got a better chance of being selected thanks to the Tour.