This is the first in a new series in which we highlight some of the lesser-celebrated-but-nonetheless-notable performances from British riders.
Toby Perry, 21 years old.
Rider type: In Toby’s words, “I am an all-rounder who can climb well and I can hold my own of on the flats. However, I’m currently working on my sprint”.
Background: In Toby’s words, “I am an all-rounder who can climb well and I can hold my own of on the flats. However, I’m currently working on my sprint”. Toby is a Rayner Foundation rider, now in his third year as a U23. He spent his U23 first season in Belgium with Goma Dakwerken-VDB Steenhouwerij CT in 2019 and has since been with the Spanish La Tova team.
Team: Equipo La Tova (Spain). A team with a predominantly U23 squad, based in the city of Huesca in the Aragon province of Spain. Toby describes it as “quite a small team in Spain but one with big ambitions to become one of the best teams in Spain in a few years.”
Name & date: Trofeo Joan Escola, 13 March 2021
Location: Catalonia, Spain
Distance: 103 km
Course: A rolling course with over 1400m of climbing.
Status: U23/Elite race
Further details: Toby tells us, “Normally, it wouldn’t be a very big race but due to there being very few races at the moment in France and Spain, the field was very strong, including Lizarte, DN1 French teams, and the Kometa development team.”
How did the race play out for Toby?
“The race started with constant attacks as the riders were trying to establish a breakaway, but the pace was kept too high for anyone to escape. The French DN1 team, AVC Aix-en-Provence [Ed: Oliver Knight’s team], repeatedly tried to break the race apart up the biggest climb of the day. With 30km to go, on the last ascent, I countered after an attack by Lizarte (one of the best amateur teams in Spain and the development team for Kern Pharma). I then bridged across to a group who were 30 seconds up the road. After sitting on them for a minute to recover, I attacked them. I got a decent gap on the peloton but I was brought back with about 20km to go.
There was one last kicker about 18km from the line, which I used to attack again. I managed to get a decent gap but had one guy on my wheel who refused to pull a turn. I kept pushing on but the lead-out trains brought me back again within the last kilometre. Somehow, I had the strength left to force my way onto the wheel of the Lizarte sprinter, Raul Rota. Their lead-out dropped him off perfectly 200m from the finish in a very fast downhill sprint. Everyone was sprinting sitting down, spinning like crazy. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to come around him, leaving me in second by half a wheel length.”
What did the result mean to Toby?
“This was a big result for me after an unfortunate season last year, which ended with a horrible crash. It resulted in me needing surgery on my hand and I wasn’t able to train properly for weeks. This is my first result after that crash and shows that I’m back to the front end of races again.“
“It’s hard to stay what the rest of the season will look like due to races being cancelled or changed every week. If things don’t change too much it should be a mixture of Copa España races (the national cup races in Spain), a few stage races in Spain and France and a few UCI races around Europe. I am looking to get on to the podium at some of these races and maybe I’ll sneak in a win or two.”