I´m sitting here in the apartment in Skara and looking back on the 2010 season. I’ve already written about my time with the Cervélo Test Team, so I’ll look a little further back to when I started in Continental Team Sprocket Pro Cycling.
After a rough and a very cold winter, with almost only training at the ergo meter indoors, I packed my belongings together and moved to Wales in mid-January. Wales was where the team had its base and it was where I and three of my teammates shared a house together.
I did my first sessions outdoor and even if it was cold and wet, at least we could do it on the road bike. After the ergo, that was a step forward! I had a few bad days to start with at the bike when I just felt clumsy. I did have a good push because of my high intensity indoor training, but I lasted just for two and a half hours.
I came better and better with a lot of help from our coach Steve Benton. He was putting up sessions every day and, thanks to good feedback, I grew stronger every week.
The first race was 1.2 GP Lillers in France and I had a very hard day. Not just because it was the first race of the season, but also because I had been sick for a week before and lost five kilos. I was down to 64 kilos, a pretty weak weight for me as I´m 184cm, but I climbed well.
The coming 1.1 and 1.2 races the following weeks were a build-up to get back in shape again. I felt better and better, even if the results didn’t show it yet. We then did 1.1 Route de Adelie Vitre (FRA) in April where I finished 13th after a strong performance at the last 20km ,and a fourth place in Lincoln GP in the UK. It was good for the head to get something in return for all the effort in getting going again.
In May I took my greatest win thus far in my career. We had a couple of great weeks before we headed to Ireland, both in terms of racing and Steve´s training. I had been home for a week and a half to spend time with my fiancée and I was very motivated to do something good.
The first stage of the FBD Insurance Rás was very hard and after twelve kilometres I was in the break of the day. We were in a big group at first but after the halfway point of the stage, there were more or less eight riders left. These stayed together to the finish and we put one minute and 38 seconds into the peloton.
The day after I was in a new break and took enough points to get the KOM jersey, but the stage was neutralized because of a terrible crash.
Stage three was very controlled by Dan Craven in the yellow jersey and the Rapha Condor Sharp Team. It was stage four when it happened: me and teammate Jack Anderson had a very good day and managed to get in the break of the day. I was the only GC contender and had a good chance to take the overall lead.
We were pulling huge turns at the front and crossed the finish line two and a half minutes ahead of the bunch. I took the overall lead with Jack in fourth. It was an amazing feeling to wear the yellow jersey and it was my first time ever to wear it in an UCI race.
The team was doing their best to keep me in yellow and, with a bit of luck and strong performances, we did do it even if it was very hard sometimes because of the maximum of five riders on a team. On the 8th and final stage Tobyn Horton, Jack Anderson, Niklas Gustavsson and Freddy Johansson gave me a great ride all the way to the finish. I crossed the line as the winner of 2010 FBD Insurance Rás…it was an incredible feeling to put the hands in the air that afternoon!
Back to life again and, when I´m looking out the window now, the first snow is hitting the ground. They say it will last for just a few days. I say: It´s too early! This is the last week of my off-season. I will start up easy after the upcoming weekend, more motivated than ever to do a great season. I’ve got a team sorted out for 2011 – more on that soon!
Thanks for reading!