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Important winter ahead on Isle of Man
Posted on 11/10/2012 2:15:52 PM

Change of team on the cards for 2013

Hi there folks, I’m writing this from the Isle of Man where I’ll be for the winter. I was based in Belgium this year but the plan is to probably stay here until the end of February; it works out pretty well, the roads are pretty hard. They are a bit more demanding than living in Belgium, which is pretty flat and not the best for training on. Here there is always a good group going around and I’ve also got access to the gym.

As you might know, the Isle of Man has a good cycling representation; the likes of Ben Swift and Peter Kennaugh live here, so there is a good rapport which makes it easier. I will be training with them… there is a bit of banter and you enjoy it a bit more.

So what’s been happening this season? Well, this year I have been in the Sean Kelly team but I haven’t really raced with them all year. I did one race with them all year, which was at the beginning of March…it was my first road race of the year.

As I was short of form then, myself and the general manager Kurt Bogaerts came to an agreement. He suggested I do my own thing this year. To go to the races myself, to build into them, then try to get better over the year and then next year hopefully ride some better races with the team.

So that is what I was doing. I moved from Italy to Belgium as you can race every day there if you want to. I was doing the open elite races there, and saw steady progression. At the beginning of the season I was struggling to finish races, then I was finishing in the main peloton. As time went on I could achieve some sort of results, like top 20, top 15. I got top 15 in one kermesse and while that was nothing major, it did a lot for my confidence. It made me feel like I was making progress after a couple of hard years.

I was keeping pretty quiet about things, not advertising it on social networking site or telling people what I have been doing. I didn’t want people to be constantly asking me what I was doing. I just wanted to do my own thing. I knew it was going to take time over the year….as the year went on, I got better and better. While the races were not massive, they were decent, hard events. The kermesse racing is pretty full on in Belgium.

I had been hoping to race with the An Post Sean Kelly team next year but things didn’t really work out. I did everything the team asked of me; I went off, did the open elite races and improved over the year. But I heard very little from the manager and things just fizzled out. I’m pretty disappointed, as I was under the impression that it was a two year arrangement and I’d be given time to improve.

Right now my management people are looking around and trying to sort something out for next season. There’s nothing really concrete at the minute but there’s a few teams on the radar. I’m just letting them do their thing and hopefully sooner rather than later something will come up. It would be great to have an idea what I am doing. At the minute I am just sitting in the unknown, which is not the best. To find out something would be pretty good to rest the mind and have a bit of focus on getting ready for next year.

Whatever team I race for, the plan is to still live in Belgium. It gives the opportunity to race a lot and more often, which is something I need at the minute. It suits me well being there.

At the end of the season I took what was my first holiday in a few years. I was due to go for a holiday at the end of the 2009 season but obviously I had my accident and that went out the window. I haven’t really had a chance to have one since then.

Anyway, the opportunity came up to go away with my girlfriend so we headed to Dubai for a week. I enjoyed it, it was a nice way to relax. One of the things we did was swam with dolphins...that’s always been something that I wanted to do, so that was really good.

We spent a lot of time looking around unusual places that you don’t see every day. It’s such a rich country. You could see the tallest building in the world there, all these glitzy shopping centres and that. It was just a chill out holiday, really…very good to unwind.

I came back after that break motivated to get into some decent training again. I’m knuckling down now and plan to work hard over the next few months. I’ll be out with the group on the Isle of Man, with the guys such as Ben Swift and Peter Kennaugh, and it should work out pretty well for getting into shape before next season.

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