IT is a measure of Harry Tanfield’s ambition that when he looks back at the British Time-Trial Championships his first thought is how he can close the gap on Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas.
Great Ayton’s Tanfield, who will ride in Wednesday’s time-trial at the European Championships in Glasgow, trailed Thomas by 37 seconds over the course in Northumberland last month, shortly before the Welshman made history with his Tour victory.
But rather than be satisfied in finishing runner-up to an all-time great, the 23-year-old is already working on how to catch Thomas.
He said: “It was 37 seconds. I went full gas but I think I had better condition the week before to be fair. I think I’d come off the boil a little bit.
“I’d done a lot of TTs in the build-up and I think I might have used my best gas by then. I was flying in the two weeks before it. I wasn’t bad but I think I’d just lost the edge a little bit.
“I wanted to see where I was at. That’s attainable, 37 seconds over 40km, it’s a couple of watts. So it’s reachable. It’s just a case of piecing everything together and having another crack. You just don’t get many opportunities to do it. I get an opportunity like that once a year.”
Thomas will not be in Glasgow this week, but Tanfield will go up against domestic rival Alex Dowsett, the five-time national time-trial champion.
It has been a busy year for Tanfield so far, switching from the track to the road in January before earning a Commonwealth Games silver in Gold Coast back in April and then becoming the first Brit ever to win a stage on the Tour de Yorkshire.
And after a short break to recover from such a demanding schedule, Tanfield is hopeful of adding to that tally.
He added: “I’ve been for a ride on the course, it felt pretty good. It’s all straightforward other than the weather, we’ve had a bit of rain. We’ll see what it’s like on the day.
It’s just a case of piecing everything together and having another crack. You just don’t get many opportunities to do it. I get an opportunity like that once a year.Harry Tanfield
“I’ve been training for the last two and a half weeks. I took a bit of time off after nationals, and then have got back into training for this. I took as much time off as I dared and got back into it. I lost a lot but it’s come back, slowly but I’m getting back to a decent level.
“I was off for about 12 days in all, although it was a mix of resting and the odd ride. It’s been gradually getting better doing club time trials.
“I’m not very good much over an hour but for an hour I should be ok.
“I’ve not had a proper break since November, training and racing flat out, so having a break in the two weeks after the nationals was necessary to reset.”
See the stars of British Cycling #BackToTheTrack at London’s Lee Valley VeloPark at the 2018 TISSOT UCI Track Cycling World Cup series between December 14 and 16. For tickets and more information visit www.trackworldcup.co.uk