The 2019 Ovo Energy Tour of Britain kicks off tomorrow and we are lucky enough to have two riders keeping a race diary for us.
First up is Great Britain’s
I think it would be pretty special for us to win the last stage, which ends in Altrincham, only 15 minutes from where we live
On the road, Vernon has already proved his talent as both a time trialist and a sprinter this season. He finished 2nd in the prologue in the Course de la Paix Nations Cup race in early June. Later that month he picked up a very impressive bronze in the U23 time trial at the National Road Championships, behind super-talent Ethan Hayter and recent Trek-Segafredo signing Charlie Quarterman. And then last month he picked up no less than three wins, all from small group sprint finishes, in Belgium kermesses.
We asked him to explains his thoughts before he embarks on the biggest road race of his career so far…
How are you feeling ahead of your first Tour of Britain?
We’re really excited for the tour. It’s my first big stage race, so I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in store. It’s a pretty young squad. Our oldest rider is Connor Swift, who’s 23. And then we have two first-year under-23 riders [Ethan himself and Jim Brown], two second-years [Jake Stewart and Rhys Britton] and a third
What’s the preparation for the race been like?
I’ve had a 10 day block in Belgium of racing in August where I came away with 3 wins and a second place. It was 10 days which consisted of racing one day followed by an easy day. We rode to and from the races so we were getting big, 170 km+ days in every other day. I then joined the rest of the lads out in our apartment in Girona to finish off the month with some race simulation days and some leadout work.
I’m not at all apprehensive. I’m on good form as it showed a couple of weeks ago in Belgium. Personally, I think doing the Commonwealth Games, Junior Worlds, U23 Euros, etc., on the track helps me to control my nerves.
Do you have any personal objectives?
In terms of personal aims, a big one is probably the time trial for me. It’s a short, fast course, so it suits me well. I’m also looking at getting stuck into any sprint finishes, if any situation arises where our main sprinter, Matt Walls, isn’t present.
What about team goals?
For the team, the aim is a stage win with Matt. We’ve got a lot of fast finishers
Any thoughts on how the first stage will pan out?
We haven’t discussed tactics stage by stage yet. Looking at the profile, stage 1 looks a tough, long opening stage so I think we’ll have to play it by ear with which riders are feeling good at the end of the stage.
Ethan will be keeping a diary for us throughout the Tour of Britain.