US professional Daniel Holloway returned to his home country for the first time this season in a whirlwind trip to upstate New York for the UCI 1.2-rated Tour of the Battenkill this past weekend. After spending the previous two seasons on US-based UCI Continental teams Holloway, 24, signed with UCI Continental Team Raleigh-GAC for 2012 and moved in January to Great Britain, where the team is based.
It's been several months of busy travel thus far this season for Holloway, during which he's earned his first victory of the year in stage six of the Vuelta Mexico on March 23.
"So far, so good - I've been travelling like crazy," Holloway told Cyclingnews. "We did Singapore, I've raced in Holland and Belgium. Then we flew to Mexico and flew home. This is my first time in American since the end of January.
"I definitely had a slow winter for me. The win in Mexico was kind of unexpected. It was the fruition of the team's work and I was the guy who was the benefactor of that. It feels good to have a win under the belt early - it boosts the confidence and makes things a little easier. It gives me confidence that it's kind of where I need to be for longer days. That was a really hard Tour."
Holloway's slow winter was the culmination of health issues which plagued him throughout the 2011 season, ultimately keeping him off the European Six Day circuit of which he's been a noted showman. Holloway, however, intends to return to the boards in the Six Day season next winter.
"The goal is to get back on the track," said Holloway. "It really helps with fitness and mixes up the winter instead of bland road miles. Last year I had a big bout with staph and I was on antibiotics all year, which just got stronger and stronger. By the end of the year I was in such a big hole that I was sleeping 12-14 hours a day and I wasn't doing anything. It took me about eight weeks to kind of get normal on the bike again during the winter, so it's been slow [regaining fitness].
"I didn't feel comfortable signing up for the Sixes with poor form and show up looking like a jackass. Hopefully I'll have a good year, injury-free, and I can go to the Six Days with better fitness and confidence to put on a good show and make it worth everybody's while."
Upon returning to Great Britain following the Tour of Battenkill, Holloway, the 2010 US professional criterium champion, transitions back to a more speed-oriented focus in advance of Great Britain's Tour Series.
"After we get home I begin my preparation for the Tour Series, which is a really big deal over in Britain. It's 10 rounds of criteriums on Tuesdays and Thursdays that's fully televised. My focus switches to speedwork and sprinting to get ready for the crits over there. It's one of our big, big goals as a team this year and then we have Tour of Britain, which is later in the year. In between are the local Premier Calendars which is like their NRC road series."
All-in-all it's been a good season thus far for Holloway, who's settled into his home away from home in Great Britain.
"The team's been amazing. I'm in Derby where the team management is and I'm really close to a city center, which makes things a lot easier. My girlfriend moved over which is nice to have familiarity and comfort when I come back from races. It's going really well and I couldn't really be any more happy with my current situation."