It's been a great couple of weeks racing and now, since that block, I'm back to training leading into the 2012 Road World Championships and the last couple of races of my season. Training for worlds began after Eneco I started concentrating on TTs and also changed up my routine a little, riding up in Andorra for a bit. I came out with good legs so I went into Tour du Poitou-Charentes pretty confident.
The team has been great to me for my first season; they've given me races that I can develop myself on - Circuit Cycliste Sarthe, De Panne and then doing Charentes. All these races I have been able to put myself into a good position with the TT then have the support of the team to ride a good GC.
This time at Charentes it was a little bit different to Sarthe where I came in as the underdog and no one really knew me, there was no pressure and I only had three teammates. This week, knowing I could possibly win the TT, there was a big possibility that I could win overall if I didn't lose any time. That meant I had seven guys in front of me all working in the wind to keep me out of it. I felt a bit more pressure than past races but I took that on board and managed to come out with a good TT. The day after, that was a bit harder than what we expected. The peloton split in half and I only had three teammates in the front group with me, so I was a bit nervous on the way to the line, but we managed to keep time and even end up 4th in the stage. It felt really good to be able to repay the faith you get from your teammates by being able to pull off the win - they'd worked hard all week.
One of the biggest changes I've experienced this season with Orica-GreenEdge from racing previously with Jayco-AIS is after the result, you savour it for what it is and then move straight on to the next objective. For me, that is the world championships in Limburg in September, so I'll just be staying in Girona until then and concentrating on my training.
I've been named in the long list for Australia for just the TT, so I'm hoping for one of the two spots. It will be my first year competing at the elite level but I think I've proven this year that I can be up there, that said, I won't count my chickens before they hatch. I'm going to the worlds to compete in the team time trial for GreenEdge anyway so I'm actually preparing for the team event with the individual in mind as well.
The course is rolling, and this year it's point-to-point rather than a circuit. Sometimes with a circuit, it's easier to gage your effort but on a point-to-point course, you need to know it well to get your pacing right. That means getting footage of the course over the next few weeks and studying hard!
After the worlds I'm racing Duo Normand, which is a two-up time trial with Svein Tuft and I'm really looking forward to that! I think racing a TT with Svein will be extremely painful, so not exactly fun in the true sense of the word, but fun seeing as I haven't done a pairs TT since U17 Road Nationals! We're hoping for a good result because we both have strength in that area and will have been training together for worlds so we'll know each other pretty well.
That TT will be my last race in Europe for the season and it'll be great to head back to Australia for a break after that. Tour of Hangzhou was scheduled to be my last race but we've just learnt it's been cancelled so I'll be staying in Australia resting the legs for a bit before I get back into it for the start of next year.
It's been a long season for me - I started racing in January and being my first time at this level, especially purely on the road, it's a lot different to past years - I've always had the track and a few breaks along the way to change it up. This year I did have a mid-year break and saw a bit more of Europe than what you get to see when you're racing, so that was great and I was refreshed for the second half of this year. And hey, it's gone well so far. Now I have three weeks left of hard training in the lead up to the worlds. Going to be my first as at elite level so looking forward to it.