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Adam Lewis journal: the season is still long

Rider journals: Adam Lewis #8

Adam Lewis and three other cyclists are keeping rider journals for The British Continental this season. Adam 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 8th journal entry…

I feel as though I’m in real good shape at the moment, still fresh both mentally and physically

With the Tour of Britain having concluded last weekend, the majority of top level domestic racing in the UK is all but over. Make the small journey across the ‘pond’ however and you’ll find plenty more high level racing still to be fought out. One more month of it to be exact for myself. My final race will be on the 15th October, with the traditional ‘Sluitingsprijs’ (closing race) of the road cycling calendar in Belgium, Putte-Kapellen. 

Between now and then, however, BEAT Cycling team have a solid race programme containing another eight top level UCI 1.1 races. If you include the infamous pro kermesse races which scatter the late season calendar too, you’re looking at well over days of racing yet to be done in 2019.

The pro kermesse races are a staple of many Continental, Pro Conti and World Tour riders’ racing diets this time of the year

Though not UCI status, the pro kermesse races are a staple of many Continental, Pro Conti and World Tour riders’ racing diets this time of the year. All around 160km in length, full gas from start to finish, and with a great prize pot, it means they can end up being the hardest races of the year power-wise. It’s a great day of training for the World Tour riders and a prestigious addition to the palmares for us Continental level riders if we were to bag one. Featuring high enough up the results sheet consistently enough can also attract a lot of interest from teams too, making them a fairly brutal hunting ground come the end of the year when riders are looking for contracts.

And though the Belgian autumn classics are not as well known by some, getting a result in one will still hold you in high esteem with many a Belgium local. Here is just a snippet of a couple we will be racing soon…

Grand Prix de Wallonie (UCI 1.1, 18 September)

Dating as far back as 1935, this one day classic in the heartland of the Walloon region is one of my personal favourites of the season. Starting close to Liege it meanders its way 207 km across the region’s open roads and sapping terrain. A tough final 40 km takes in four seven minute climbs. And its finish is one of the most iconic. In the final 3km we make our way up the Citadelle of Namur where we finish on top with views of the whole city below.

Won by Jasper Stuyven in 2018, it’s a race I always enjoyed watching growing up. Last year I made it to the line in 30th postion, so come Wednesday I’ll be trying to better that. If you fancy watching be sure to look out for the BEAT colours live on Eurosport. 

Binche – Chimay – Binche (UCI 1.1, 8 October)

Another race which I rode in last year and another one based in the Walloon region. As the name suggests it starts in Binche heads to Chimay – where there is a sprint in the town to win your weight in Chimay beer – and concludes with laps around Binche. First organised way back in 1911, in its most recent format it’s run to remember the great Frank Vandenbroucke, who won the race in 1996. It also has one British winner previously in Adam Blythe. It’s another late season race which I enjoyed last year. A classic Belgium race, I’ll be looking forward to racing it again come the 8th October.

It’s a long old season come to think of it, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I started at the very beginning of March and will be racing up until mid-October. For me it means the winter months are a lot shorter, as racing comes around quicker again the following year. It’s a long time to remain focused and disciplined, but generally most riders out here will split the season into two halves. The first half being up until the national championships at the end of June, followed by a short break off the bike before a training block and finally the second half of the season from the end of July to October.

I feel as though I’m in real good shape at the moment, still fresh both mentally and physically. As a team, BEAT Cycling Club, we’ve enjoyed a lot of success in big races this year and still have plenty of ambition left. My personal race targets will come in the GP de Wallonie and the Famenne Ardenne Classic (UCI 1.1, 6 October) as well as the pro kermesse races I’ll be doing also. 

Featured photo: James York

Read more

Rider journals: Adam Lewis #7 – the season, part 2

Rider journals: Adam Lewis #6 – success breeds success

Rider journals: Adam Lewis #5 – the behind the scenes work

Rider journals: Adam Lewis #4 – racing on home soil

Rider journals: Adam Lewis #3 – a winning start

Rider journals: Adam Lewis #2 – cycling to a new BEAT

Rider journals: Adam Lewis #1 – a postcard from Girona

Rider journals: introducing Adam Lewis

Follow Adam on Twitter here.