Blog: Llewellyn Kinch – already racing in Europe


Llewellyn Kinch writes … Life in Soisson (France), my home for the next 8 months, has begun and it looks to be a great place to live.

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The web of quiet roads through the rolling terrain of the Picardie countryside is perfect for training. Importantly, there’s also enough going on in the town to keep me sane! I’m sharing the apartment with Risto and Oskar, both Estonian and also riding for the team. Luckily they both speak English.

2013_Kinch_CCVSG presentation team - shrunk

Unfortunately, the weather is the same as at home; not ideal at this time of year. Due to the cold, my knee was a bit sore so during one ride I decided to sort it out. When passing a recycling bin with some plastic bag poking out I pulled off a quick raid. Stopping round the corner, I then fashioned a couple of squares from the bag and positioned them under my lycra. It kept the wind off my knees beautifully. Hobo in action.

Having said the weather in Soisson isn’t great at this time of year, I’ve actually been in near Girona in Spain for the last 10 days. The hotel we were staying in was great. There was a huge buffet for lunch and dinner every day. After two days, our Directeur Sportif decided we were eating too much. So from then on we sat there salivating as we were brought our own specially prepared soup and salad whilst the other guests attacked the buffet.

During our time in Spain we also had the first three races of the season all of which included at least one Pyrenean col. It was probably best not to be full of fried Camembert and Sausages for them.

Although it’s not my forte, I can actually climb pretty well, however, I can’t stay with the front few for 5-10km of climbing so these races weren’t exactly suited to my strengths! That said, I won my group sprint and finished in the top 40 from a 200 rider start list in both the first two races.

2013_Kinch_CCVSG in Spain

In the third race, the DS asked me to go in the early break so that we didn’t have to chase. I attacked repeatedly and got away with a group around 20km from the start. We were going full gas but the peloton brought us back after just over 10km. Right when we hit the bottom of the first climb. That made for a really pleasant 4km!

I dug in and managed to make the front group when the peloton split and was comfortably near the front by the bottom of the descent. We then entered a town and on rounding a corner found a parked car right on the race-line. The rider in front panicked, lost grip on the tarmac and slid out bringing me and two of my team mates down with him. Broken forks, broken brake lever and a broken frame ending the race right there for the three of us.

We are now in Provence, southern France for a week ahead of the GP Souvenir Jean Masse; the first Division 1 Coupe de France race of the season. The race begins with an 8km climb straight from the start. Just to make sure it’s flat-out from the gun, the organisers have placed 250 euros of prize money for the first three riders across a line just 5.8km into the race!

After this there are two 4km climbs, four 2km climbs and three 3km climbs. Should be an easy one. I’m looking forward to some racing on the more rolling roads of Northern France.




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