Talking Shop: Dan Fleeman

VeloUK talks to Raleigh professional Dan Fleeman who has his biggest race of the year this Sunday as he aims to improve on his previous best of 7th in the British RR Championship.

The former Under 23 British Road Race Champion Dan Fleeman (Raleigh) has in the past few years finished in the top 10 in the British Elite Men’s Road Race Championship and this weekend will be looking for a top 5 result after showing great form in Canada last week.

The Lichfield based rider was called in at the last minute to race the Tour de Beauce, a UCI ranked race in Canada and the former Cervelo pro finished the tough stage race in 8th place overall. It was for the Raleigh rider the ideal preparation for this weekend’s championship race despite the awful jet lag that he and many others get on that return journey from North America.

“I was pretty pleased” Dan told VeloUK  when asked about the result. “It was a pretty high level, certainly for a 2.2, and probably the hardest 2.2 I have ever done.” The race had many familiar names in it and for Dan, his entry for the race came as a surprise.

His Raleigh teammate Matt Jones was supposed to ride but he fell ill and so Dan found himself packing for a six day stage race on the other side of the Atlantic rather than the one hour crit he was down to ride in London (the London Nocturne).

Dan explained that getting the late call was a blessing because often leading up to major stage races he gets a bit stressed putting pressure on himself but because he didn’t know he was going, he ended up going to the event with a  pretty relaxed attitude.

The race, was Dan says, raced in a pretty similar style of racing to what he has done in Europe and proved to be ideal preparation for this weekend. Dan’s call up for the Tour de Beauce stage race came two thirds of the way through a big block of training which he embarked on because he wasn’t down to do any pre nationals stage races which can be ideal for riders looking to do well.

Dan in last years championship with David Millar and Ian Bibby for company.

That all changed with the Canadian event which he explained proved to be the perfect way to end the three week block of training. “That was a great way to finish that block of training because I was getting massage every day, food made for me, and mentally it was less taxing than having to beat myself up in training every day.”

The stage race was really hilly but not in the same way riders might think says Dan. “The first two days didn’t seem hilly, certainly not mountainous, but I still had 16000 metres of altitude of climbing each day racing on the rolling roads which were massively wide.

They also had these bizarre climbs that I have never seen before. You’d get to a climb and it would be maybe four or five k long at say seven percent and the road would be straight, no corners, no switchbacks  and you’d be doing these all day long and there wasn’t much flat in the race.”

“It was amazing and I really enjoyed the race. It was really well run, the hotels were nice and everything about the race, I couldn’t praise it enough.”

Dan’s top 10 overall placing was one of many great performances by the team with others such as Liam Holohan and Richard Handley also finishing in the top 10 on stages while James Sparling had a good time trial.

Dan explained by the last day he was quite fatigued and that unlike many a stage race, instead of a flat final stage ending in a bunch finish, the one in Canada had a long climb through a housing estate which had to be raced over 10 or more times before a descent to the bottom and the start of the climb all over again.

“That was a hard way to finish the race” says Dan before adding that the Raleigh team acquitted themselves well. “I think every time there was a major breakaway, we had a guy it so the team did really well”.

His attention now turns to the British Road Race Championship in the North East on a circuit he knows from last year and the Beaumont Trophy.  “It’s no where near as hard as the course used last year” Dan says “ but it is not an easy circuit either.  And its 122 miles so that adds to it.”

“A long race like that, five hours long, is always good for me” Dan says. “I may not get stronger in the last hour but I don’t get any weaker either, and I can pretty much go as hard in the last hour as I can in the first”.

“I think a lot riders will die around the three and half hour mark where as I will keep chugging along and I think it’s a pretty decent circuit for me.”

“Team Sky have so many riders in the race, it will be hard to beat them but as I was telling someone the other day, that actually is better for me because it makes the race harder especially if they race it from the gun and it’s a five hour slog that will kill off a lot of challenges. I’d like to finish top five if possible.”

Looking ahead to the future, Dan who rode for Cervelo a few years ago, says he’d like to get back to racing in Europe again, either with a British team or a European one.  “I’d rather do more stage races because they suit me.”

Dan then added that the racing in Britain has certainly changed over the years and as teams here have got stronger, the racing has got a lot more team based and the strength in depth has also seen the racing style change.

“There is certainly more strength in depth these days and there are a lot more guys capable of winning the races. I remember the days when the likes of Mark Lovatt and John Tanner would ride away and win by many minutes and there was a massive difference between them  and the third and fourth placed riders. Now though there are a lot more riders at a higher level which makes it  more difficult to break a race up.”

Which begs the question will the British Championship see a bunch finish on a circuit where the major climb is well before the finish line or will the addition of all the European pros in the race change the style again and see the event split to pieces like it did last year. 

Dan Fleeman is one rider who is certainly looking forward to a hard race to make his mark on the event and hopefully get noticed by a team that can help him return to doing more stage races in Europe in 2012. Good luck to Dan for Sunday.

  Tour de Beauce

1 Scott Lyttle (NZl) PureBlack Racing 4:03:47  
2 Timothy Gudsell (NZl) PureBlack Racing    
3 Francois Parisien (Can) Team Spidertech Powered By C10    

12 Daniel Fleeman (GBr) Team Raleigh    
39 Philip Mooney (USA) Team Raleigh    
52 Richard Handley (GBr) Team Raleigh    
56 Gaël Le Bellec (Fra) Team Raleigh    
84 Charles Wegelius (GBr) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling    
85 Liam Holohan (GBr) Team Raleigh    
107 James Sparling (Can) Team Raleigh    

1 Martijn Verschoor (Ned) Team Type 1 – Sanofi Aventis 3:53:57  
2 Shawn Milne (USA) Kenda/5-hour Energy Pro Cycling p/b Geargrinder    
3 Daniel Summerhill (USA) Chipotle Development Team    

17 Liam Holohan (GBr) Team Raleigh    
38 Daniel Fleeman (GBr) Team Raleigh    
40 Gaël Le Bellec (Fra) Team Raleigh    
56 Richard Handley (GBr) Team Raleigh    
72 Charles Wegelius (GBr) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling    
94 Philip Mooney (USA) Team Raleigh 0:09:13  

1 Francisco Mancebo Perez (Spa) Cycling Team 4:04:48  
2 Bernardo Colex Tepoz (Mex) Amore & Vita 0:00:01  
3 Sebastian Salas (Can) 0:00:19  

9 Daniel Fleeman (GBr)  Team Raleigh 0:00:48  
15 Gaël Le Bellec (Fra)  Team Raleigh  0:01:23  
22 Liam Holohan (GBr)  Team Raleigh    
67 James Sparling (Can)  Team Raleigh    
68 Richard Handley (GBr) Team Raleigh  0:10:24  
91 Philip Mooney (USA)  Team Raleigh 0:19:09  

1 Svein Tuft (Can) Team Spidertech Powered By C10 0:25:26  
2 Michael Freiberg (Aus) V Australia 0:00:06  
3 Scott Zwizanski (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling 0:00:10  

17 James Sparling (Can)  Team Raleigh 0:01:01  
25 Charles Wegelius (GBr) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling 0:01:21  
31 Richard Handley (GBr)  Team Raleigh    
54 Daniel Fleeman (GBr)    Team Raleigh  
62 Gaël Le Bellec (Fra)  Team Raleigh 0:02:31  
66 Philip Mooney (USA) Team Raleigh  0:02:42  
72 Liam Holohan (GBr)  Team Raleigh 0:02:58  

1 Robert Bush (USA) Chipotle Development Team 2:56:45  
2 David Boily (Can) Team Spidertech Powered By C10    
3 Bernard Sulzberger (Aus) V Australia    

9 Richard Handley (GBr) Team Raleigh 0:00:08  
27 Daniel Fleeman (GBr) Team Raleigh    
35 Charles Wegelius (GBr) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
53 Liam Holohan (GBr) Team Raleigh 0:04:56  
54 Gaël Le Bellec (Fra) Team Raleigh    
80 James Sparling (Can) Team Raleigh    

1 Svein Tuft (Can) Team Spidertech Powered By C10 3:02:05  
2 Andrew Pinfold (Can) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling 0:00:18  
3 Brett Tivers (NZl) Garneau Club Chaussures    

6 Liam Holohan (GBr) Team Raleigh    
12 Daniel Fleeman (GBr) Team Raleigh    
31 Gaël Le Bellec (Fra) Team Raleigh    

1. Francisco Mancebo Perez (Spa) Cycling Team 18:31:18  
2. Bernardo Colex Tepoz (Mex) Amore & Vita 0:00:25  
3. Svein Tuft (Can) Team Spidertech Powered By C10 0:00:49  

8. Daniel Fleeman (GBr) Team Raleigh 0:03:02  
23. Gaël Le Bellec (Fra) Team Raleigh 0:28:17  
25. Liam Holohan (GBr) Team Raleigh 0:28:59

Tags: ,