Blog: Belgian Based Pro Llewellyn Kinch

So close but yet so far to a Green jersey in a mountainous stage race in France for Llewellyn Kinch

RST Cycle Clothing & Trigon Bikes

Full-Time Cyclist for Terra Footwear – Bicycle Line — Making it on the Continent

Llewellyn writes … If it’s flat and windy then stay at the front. Under these conditions, it’s quite often all you have to do. Although, you do have to get to the front in the first place. I managed it at Lotenhulle a couple of weeks ago and with one hard effort on the cross-wind section, I got in the race-winning break.

Llewellyn Kinch with teammate Simon.

After taking a few of the primes and second at the finish, I earned a fair few Euros. That went towards finally replacing the sewn-together shoes I’ve been racing in since I snapped the strap off at Tryptyque Mont et Chateau. Here’s some other advice fairly useful for doing well in a race: don’t crash into lampposts. Josh Yetman, who I’m living with in Belgium, didn’t manage that too well last race, ending up with concussion and a broken nose. I think he really enjoyed the experience; especially removing the 8cm long bung from his nose a few days after the resetting operation.

In my last article, I said the Tour De Franche Compte was mountainous. It was, but Tour De Savoie made them look like baby mountains. I certainly didn’t manage to drag my 82 kilo’s to the finish in the front group. The prologue and the sprints jersey were my targets for the race. The prologue was on the most winding course I have ever seen; snaking all around a car park and through the open double-doors of a corridor before two 700m straight sections on the road.

I completed the 3.8km in 5:18, taking 6th place just 11 seconds behind winner Wesley Gough. He, along with 2nd and 4th placed riders, are part of the New Zealand Olympic track team. This result meant I got to start the first road stage wearing a jersey, although not the jersey I was aiming to be in come the end.

Only a couple of kilometres into the first stage I was away in a break of four. A few minutes later we turned into a block headwind and that stayed with us for the next fifty kilometres. It was really easy and didn’t hurt at all. We were caught just at the bottom of the first GPM climb and I went straight into the grupetto. However, I had won the first Points sprint before being caught. This put me equal first at the end of the stage but as I was further down on GC I didn’t get to wear the jersey the following day.

That race ended with an 11km climb averaging a 10% gradient. Another really easy part of the stage! Stage two saw me in the breakaway again but I somehow managed to mess up the first sprint, taking zero points. The break split to bits on the cat 2 climb that followed and I was just passing scenery for the select group that caught me on the Col De Rosalind 15km later. I rolled home 42nd place on a brutal stage, which 25 riders failed to finish.

Stage three and as intended, to I got into the break again. There was, however, a little near face-plant incident when I took a detour into some long grass during a descent at the start. Simon claimed he was in oxygen debt for the next 10 minutes as he couldn’t breathe for laughing. The true sign of worried team mate!

The first sprint point was right at the bottom of a GPM climb. I won the sprint but got ever so slowly and painfully dropped during the 6km climb that followed. For now, I was leading on points but no longer in the front group, I could do nothing but get to the finish to see if I still would be by then.

I crossed the line 46th and 51st on GC after a 35km climb out of Italy but I was second in the sprints competition, missing the jersey by just one point.

I’m now heading to Budapest with seven lads (well, six and Ed) from home for a mid-season weekend break this Thursday. I think that trip may well generate some good anecdotes for my next article. Although, I may have to get a signed permission from all seven in order to break the “what happens in Budapest stays in Budapest” rule.


RST Cycle Clothing & Trigon Bikes

Tags: ,