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Leaving Saxo Bank and looking for a new team for 2012
Posted on 10/2/2011 4:25:46 PM

Hi readers, here’s an update as to how things have been going. Unfortunately the past few days have been pretty frustrating ones for me. I’ve been training in Majorca and came down Friday morning to find that my bike was gone. It had been stolen from the hotel…it was as simple as that.

It is a bit sh*t but there is nothing I could do about it, other than contacting the police and letting them know. The chances of them getting it back are pretty slim, but I did it just in case. I’m not going back to Italy until Monday, so being without a bike means I won’t be riding for a few days.

The team is sending my race bike to Italy..hopefully I should get it early next week, and then be able to get back on it straight away.

Anyway, it was already a tough week before that. My plan was to get in some good training here and work on my form. I was down for Franco-Belge [now called the Tour de Wallonie Picarde - ed.] and a one day race after that. As I’ve been training in Italy all year, I thought I’d come to Majorca for a change and to train here instead. I did that, I got in some good training and felt that I was going well. That was important for me as I wanted to do good performances in my last few races of the year.

Unfortunately it didn’t work out that way. I was due to leave Majorca on Wednesday but then I got a call Monday to say I was not riding Franco-Belge, as another rider from Saxo Bank needed the preparation for Lombardy.

Essentially that’s my season over, as I don’t have any races left. To be frank, it is a bit of a kick in teeth after paying to come here, committing myself and doing some good training in a different area. I was really motivated for the race, and especially with not having a contract for next year, I wanted to try to prove I am worth something.

Obviously to get that call two days before I was about to leave was pretty sh*t. I just have to deal with it. That’s it for the season, not that there has been much of a season really for me. There’s nothing else I can do.

The team told me recently that I wouldn’t have a contract next year. I suppose not sending me to races is understandable in some ways if I am not going to be on the team next season, but I would have thought they might have given me at least a couple of races this month. I think I’ve done four or five races this year in a ten month season – it’s not a lot.

But there’s nothing I can do and can’t change anything, so I just have to deal with it, I guess.

I’ve a mixture of feelings. I am a bit frustrated, but I guess it is their decision. I am not slagging the team off, it has been great and their support has been very good. But in the last three or four months, it is like they are not interested in me any more, are not really bothered with me. Up to then it’s been good, the support’s been good, but once they decided they didn’t want to keep me any more, it’s been like that.

I don’t know how to describe it, but it is just frustrating and upsets me a little. People are telling me what to do, you do what they say, and then at the end they just go back on their words.

Looking ahead to next season:

I don’t have a contract for 2012 right now, and I don’t have a clue what I am doing. I definitely feel I would have ridden well in Franco Belge, I certainly feel it would have been the best I was going this year. My last race was Plouay, then before that was Austria...that was like five weeks. I did just under 200 kilometres of Plouay, then got dropped and pulled out.

I’ve worked hard since then and Franco Belge was a chance to show teams what I could do. Obviously my morale is pretty low, not knowing what I am doing next year, then getting that call two days before saying I am not on the race. It is just like ‘kick a man while he is down’ type of thing.

I don’t have any connection to British cycling any more because they "removed me from the program" so there’s nothing that can be done there. I do have an agent, Paul de Geyter, but I haven’t heard from him lately. We will see…I am sure he is doing his best, so we will see what happens.

I’ll wait and decide at the end of the month what I will do. I’ve come this far, working hard to improve. What I need now is to get back into the routine of some racing. This year I’ve done very little racing. You hear some of the top guys say that when they have two weeks away from racing it is a lot to them. For me, I don’t race for five or six weeks, then I’m up against those who are racing. It’s been tough.

Depending on what happens over the next few weeks, I guess I might have to look for a different type of team. It might be a Continental team – they can have some good races in their programme, and maybe it would be a good thing being somewhere like that rather than on Saxo Bank.

If I do go to another team, whether it be pro level or just a normal [Continental] team, I am just going to be treated like any other guy, a normal rider. Not some guy who has had this accident and basically has done nothing for two years.

I’ve had so little racing that I feel a good programme would bring me on a lot and help me get there. I am determined to do it…it’s just this final step I need to overcome. Once I’ve done it, I will be back to normal, as such, and not this guy who has had an accident and all the negative things. I’ve come this far and I’m going to keep going…

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