Worlds was a great experience right off the start, signed a bunch of autographs, had a crowd of people just to watch the sign in and insane fans shouting for their country's best 17/18 year old riders. Our race had 75,000 spectators which made for the greatest atmosphere I have ever experienced. I started the race in a good position, but being one of the less influential nations we were told to sit tight in the pack and wait for at least 50km of the race to pass. We were also given roles prior to the race: Alex Cataford was our road captain and would try to go in alternating late moves with me, Adam De Vos would just hang in for the sprint and Emile Jean would be his leadout man and Yohan's job would be to follow breaks and help the rest of us with any problems. I was feeling great but maintaining position was a problem, people already were having complaints that the roads were too thin for a worlds and if you were on the wrong side of the road furniture you could lose 100 places in 10 seconds. This is what happened to Alex and I. We took the route everyone took normally but a large group of riders went on the other side of the furniture and sprinted to the front of the pack, I wondered why this would be happening now and not on the previous laps but then I realised it was because this was the lap the feed zone opened. The feed zones at worlds are renowned for their gnarlyness, soigneurs spread right across the road making a tiny lane full of dropped bottles for the riders to pass through. So that lap I got through unscathed. The following lap I got through the road furniture in good position but we came to a round about where one way around was far shorter than the other. I was in a position to go straight through but then the guy to my right decided he wanted to go left, damn. I was pushed left and went a much longer route and found myself and the back, I wasn't too worried however, I never crash. Sadly however once we entered the feed zone I was positioned in the last 50 of 150 and a rider directly in front of me hit a water bottle closely followed by the deck. I followed suit being propelled over the bars, uninjured with nothing but a bloody knee and cut hand. I got up right away, put my chain on, got on my bike and sprinted as fast as I could to get back to the pack that had already travelled a few 100m ahead of me. Yohan had come back to help me up to the back and we chased with little hope for a whole lap before we realised it was over for us. I did long fast pulls because my group only consisted of dropped riders along with Yohan and I so we needed a little help moving. I was very happy we finished the race, not being pulled. The season was long and I am now glad it is over and I can focus on cross racing.
Here are links to and interview with me and a photo gallery from the race:
A huge thanks to the CCA staff for making my 3 weeks enjoyable and not stressful and to Rene Dupont and his family for letting me stay with him to watch the elite men's race! Awesome people who want to do nothing more then help with cyclist development!