Tiernan-Locke: “A difficult debut at the team isn’t what I had imagined”

By @pmpalermo

1. What happened?you were listed to race Vuelta España and finally you´re not going..

I basically got to the middle of June absolutely exhausted and knew I needed some time off.  I’d raced a lot and trained a lot in between races and it didn’t work so well for me…it was too much work without enough rest.  So the last couple of months I had just been riding the races and doing my job, but not capable of a result.  Definitely not in the kind of form or mindset that I would need to ride a three week race.  I discussed this with the coaches and other staff and we agreed that I would rest and have some tests done.

2.What balance you make about your season so far?

I have learned a lot about World Tour racing, and also about working for others.  Being in Team Sky there is an extra pressure and other teams often look to us to take control of the race.  So in that respect it has been good, but on the other hand I haven’t managed to reach a good physical level since the training camp in January!  During the winter and early season I trained a lot more than ever before, and in a new way too.  As a result I was tired going into races and got sick every few weeks.  This was very frustrating, as I didn’t want to miss racing, but I knew I needed rest and to train as I had before.  This has been the first season of my cycling career where I haven’t yet had any personal success…hopefully that can change for the end of the season.

3.Is it hard for you to race at this level?you didn´t finish at Paris Nice, Criterium Internacional, País Vasco, Amstel, Lieja, Bayern Rundfhart and National Champs…

No I wouldn’t say I have found the level too hard.  It’s not easy either!  There is a lot more strength in depth at the races, and of course some individuals who really stand out, but I have spent most races working for the team, and so not thinking of a result myself, or sometimes even finishing.  Paris Nice and Pais Vasco I became sick and so had to abandon, but in the Ardennes classics for example, I had a difficult job from Km 0.  First I would have to follow the attacks and make sure the break was ok for us…that is hard in the classics…then the next 200km would be spent riding in the wind, getting rain jackets and water, and stopping when a leader punctured to bring him back.  So when the real racing starts in the last 50km I have nothing left in the legs and get into the team car or ride to the bus.

4.Wich objective do you have for the rest od the season?

My next race is the GP Plouay on the 1st of September.  I’ll have had over 6 weeks off racing then, so hope to come back in good shape.  After that I hope to ride the World Championships and then the Tour of Beijing.

5.You´ve got contract for next year…what does the team want from you?

The team and I both recognise that I haven’t been at 100% this season, and that has been down to me not adapting to the new training methods and also recovering enough between hard races.  I have gone steadily downhill since January.  I think for next year I’ll have more input into the training as I have always been a rider who trains by feeling, not a strict plan and power numbers.  Also a different approach to winter training so I can arrive at the early season races feeling fresh…this is the most important thing for me.  The result of that should be that I can start to perform again in the races that suit me and play an important role in the spring classics.

6.Is it frustrating for you this situation?you won lot of races in the past…

Yes of course.  Like I said earlier, I have always won races and been competitive, ever since I began racing.  So to be in this position and lacking in confidence after a difficult debut at the team isn’t what I had imagined.  Especially after last year.  But that is what two year contracts are for and so I hope to make amends in the future.  People have short memories in sport, including myself, so all it takes is one or two good results to confirm you are back on track and you can forget all the poor months that went before!.

Pablo Martín Palermo

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pmpalermo@hotmail.com 

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