31 Jul
Valromey 2023

Valromey 2023 

On the 4th of July I started my journey to the Valromey Junior Tour, a 5 stage race in South East France sometimes called the Junior Tour de France.  I went via Belgium and I had to wait for a couple of hours in the square at Leuven,  a beautiful city outside Brussels Belgium to meet up with my Team.  I sat there reflecting on how much I love the opportunities cycling gives me to travel and see different places. I soon came down to earth when I got picked up and taken to my accommodation which was a caravan.  My first thoughts where a bit in disbelief as I knew I would have to stay in it for a week but I did definitely not think like this by the end of the week. I was staying with two others which would be in the team for the upcoming race. The three of us had a great week and trained really well together. On two evenings we did race training for the Team Time Trial on a motor racing circuit. This is where we learnt a lot about each other for the TTT which would help us massively on the first stage. We had a couple more days of training before we departed to Lyon where the race was being held. We got to the hotel on the Sunday evening and with the weather being so hot we jumped straight in the lake which was next to the hotel. The next day we did recces for the final day as this had the biggest climb in it which was Col du grand Columbier. This was being ridden by the pros the day before us in the Tour de France so we had a lot to live up to.  Before I knew it the race was on and it was the TTT first. It went well but on reflection we started too hard. This would come and bite us towards the end as there was a 4 km climb to the finish. We did well as we came third. But unfortunately, by the end of the TTT I was five mins down as I got an incredibly painful stitch, which meant I needed to stop at the side of the road for a while until it stopped. Day two was a sprinter day I came in the bunch losing no time. On day three I unfortunately crashed next to an organiser's motorcycle,  but I luckily managed to get back in and stay in the main peloton but still lost over 1minute to a leading group but from how I was feeling this was all I could have done. Day three was a very hilly day. I was feeling good but In the first half of the race I was too eager and paid for it later on. On the last day it was all about the Col du Grand Columbier but to my surprise the peloton split on the climb. I stupidly started the climb last and so had to ride my way through the group and then bridge to the front of the race. I felt really good and stated the climb in the front group. I started the climb and settled in with my own pace and was holding on with a good group of riders. But then I had to go help my teammate up the climb. This was tough for me but in the interests of the team. I crossed the line coming top 35 but knowing if I had free rein I could have been much higher up. So that is a positive. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed the race.  I felt strong in the tour overall but not everything went my way and there were loads of racing lessons learned. One thing that I also earned from this trip is that having people that you enjoy spending time with makes it so much more enjoyable and rewarding because there is always a joke and a laugh to be had.


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