So with 1 week to go to the start of the Tour of Britain, I cant help but reflect on the season so far. If I'm honest, 2013 has had its ups and downs. Early season Time Trials gave way to the usual wet and windy Perfs Pedal, where Team UK Youth gave early signs of things to come. A few weeks later, the tragic death of Junior Heffernan in his first major race for his new team, at the Severn Bridge Road Race. I know many many people were shocked by his death and are still saddened by it.
The usual Spring Classics followed, with Team UK Youth taking possibly more than their fair share of wins. This they carried on into the Pearl Izumi (nearly typed Halfords there) Tour Series where they took the overall, and the majority of the individual rounds - Stoke, Aberystwyth, Torquay, Colchester, Canary Wharf, Woking, Aylsham and Ipswich. As far as Individual riders who can forget Tom Skullys ride in Redditch, lapping the field to cause huge confusion for the rider and commisaires. He repeated the feat in Ipswich too, you know.
In the Johnsons Healthtech GP Hannah Barnes has to be the stand out rider, especially he courageous ride in Woking, crashing heavily in the early laps, remounting and going on to win the round (see the Woking set for the Hannah Barnes Anatomy of the crash). MG Maxifuel also took the team honours, although Team MuleBar Girl made it close. For me though Natalie Creswick's win in Stoke was a highlight of the GP series.
In amongst the Tour Series the Milk Race was 'relaunched' as a Criterium in Nottingham. The Elite Women's event was a great race won by Dani King, but for me the organisation of this event was poor, with crowds being treated like cattle and marshals acting like 'Captain Car Parks'. It was so bad I didn't stay for the Elite Mens event, which was won by Felix English (Rapha JLT). I hope its better next yea and the organisers could learn a thing or two from Sweetspot.
The usual lull then hit with July and August not really resulting in too many events. However September is now with us and the CX season started with a bang last weekend. I will definitely get to a cross race some time this season.
So back to where I started these ramblings, and the ToB. To my mind it shows just how good the quality of riders are in the domestic peloton, when you look at the start sheet of the ToB and see how many quality riders are left out of the British teams. Team UK Youth, Raleigh, Madison Genesis, IG Sigma, Node 4 Giordana and Rapha JLT have all had to make difficult choices. And with Sky and Net App all bringing British quality too, it can only be a good thing for this years Tour. I just hope the crowds behave themselves (this is cycling not football guys) and that I can get around the course each day (well the 2 days I am doing anyway). Predictions? Not from me. My Tdf predictions this year prove I know nothing about cycling! OK, so I called Froomey but that was pretty easy!
Still to come this year is the Hill Climb season, after the ToB. Have a few lined up but keep an eye on the calendar to see which ones I get too.