Journals Riders

Adam Lewis journal: a winning start

Rider journals: Adam Lewis #3

Adam Lewis and three other riders are keeping rider journals for The British Continental this season. Adam, 23, rides for the Dutch UCI Continental team BEAT Cycling Club this season, an innovative team that markets itself as a professional cycling team based on a club. This is Adam’s third journal entry…

Photo: Adam Lewis

So the racing has finally begun. After what felt like an eternal winter, my road season began in Greece this month. A full day of travel was required to reach the island of Rhodes. Fortunately, we had a few days to recover and get a feel for the island before our first race which, was the one day International Rhodes Grand Prix (UCI 1.2). I was super keen to get the season underway: new team, new kit, new bike and morale was sky high heading into this one. It finally felt like race mode was switched back on the night before, waiting in my hotel room for the next day, getting the numbers pinned, team meeting, it all got the ‘pre-race’ nerves flowing.

I was asked along with two team-mates to help bring them back. What you do not realise when watching on TV is how hard a job this is

International Rhodes Grand Prix

Onto the race then, 185km in length circling the outskirts of the island, cutting inland to take in a 9km climb after 40km. With the rest of the route predominately flat, it was up in the air as to what was going to happen. My role for the day was to keep my powder dry in the opening phases and wait to see if there were any groups going on the main climb. With everybody in the peloton so keen for the first race of the year, no moves were sticking. The bunch did reduce to around 50 riders atop of the climb but as we approached the feed zone at 100km there was a big re-groupment. It was also at this point that the day’s only break formed of 4 riders. We had noone represented but with still over 80km to go, it seemed a pretty long shot to get in the move. After some dubious time gaps being relayed back to us, however, we finally had one with 40km to go that the group had 4 minutes. All of a sudden panic set in and the pace really increased. With 25km to go they still held over 2 minutes of an advantage so I was asked along with two team-mates to help bring them back. What you do not realise when watching on TV is how hard a job this is. Fortunately, I felt strong enough to do this and my role was done when I caught the remnants of the break at 4km to go. It was all set for an 80 man bunch gallop, and BEAT Cycling came away with a 3rd and a 7thplace.

Tour of Rhodes

Next up was the Tour of Rhodes (UCI 2.2), a three-day race with a little bit of everything thrown into the mix, from flat coastline, mountainous inland and hair-raising descents. We had a few days to kill in between the two races; these mainly consisted of doing course recons and chilling in the hotel. Quite a monotonous routine set in of waking, breakfast, training, lunch, massage, relaxing, dinner, and bed. It really was a bit of a countdown to the next meal during these few days. Fortunately we did manage to get out, taking in the sounds and sights of Rhodes’ ancient old town during an easier day.

Photo: Adam Lewis

I’ll try to keep my overview of the stages short as not to bore you, so here goes…

Stage 1 

With everybody so fresh it meant the race stayed mainly altogether as we hit the grippy finishing circuits. As a team, we tried to animate and make the race hard but it was not quite hilly enough to do so. The stage resulted in a reduced bunch sprint where Yves [Coolen] took 3rd for the team. We also placed three further guys in the top fifteen, taking the team win on the day. I came in at the same time as the winner, so it was all to play for on GC.

Stage 2

The hardest stage on paper and so it proved to be. The race split into pieces on the main climb of the day. I made it over in the front group of 25 along with two other team-mates. From then on the gap only grew to the bunch behind and by the time we reached the line it was upwards of 15 minutes. A crazy finale saw everyone on the limit with constant attacks being thrown down. The elastic of the group finally snapped with 10km to go, with me and team-mate Martijn [Budding] making the front split of thirteen. From then on I did all I could to help him win the stage which he went on to do, taking the yellow jersey in the process. A great day for BEAT Cycling!

Stage 3

We set out with one goal for the day: to bring home the yellow jersey. Simply put, after a solid team performance all day long we achieved the feat. It put the icing on the cake after some great days in Greece. Everyone returned back to Belgium super motivated to continue the success! Me personally, I ended the race in 12th place on GC, satisfied with my performance. Setting some new power PB’s along the way certainly helped the morale.

Photo: Tour of Rhodes

Motivation is still high; I’ve set myself some pretty hefty targets in April to work towards

Back to Belgium, back to reality

I’ve now been back in Belgium for a couple of weeks and it’s fair to say I’m straight back to reality. Being welcomed home by the infamous Belgium spring weather was a shock to the system, to say the least. I have raced twice here but, unfortunately, due to bad luck, I haven’t been able to turn my good legs into a good result. I came away relatively unscathed after being caught up in a huge 30-man pile-up on Saturday but it did put an end to my chances in the race. Nonetheless the motivation is still high; I’ve set myself some pretty hefty targets in April to work towards with Neo Pro Coaching.

I shall leave you with that for now, all I will say is myself and BEAT Cycling Club will be heading to the UK in April, we are privileged enough to be racing the Rutland Melton Cicle Classic (UCI 1.2), so if you are roadside be sure to give us a shout!

Till next month!

Read more

Rider journals: Adam Lewis #2

Rider journals: Adam Lewis #1

Rider journals: introducing Adam Lewis

Follow Adam on Twitter here.

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