Interview: Dan Patten (Merlin)

In between mixing with Tour de France stars in the post Tour crits, Dan Patten riding for Merlin Cycles has ventured over to Britain to do some of the ‘Prems’ – we spoke in Leicester

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Interview: Dan Patten (Merlin)

Racing at Leicester on Sunday was former Team Wiggins rider, now racing in the colours of Merlin Cycles, Dan Patten. One of the most experienced riders in Britain, Dan is based in Belgium and spends most of his time racing there.

His 2018 season didn’t start as well as he had hoped. “It was a slow start to the season getting ill early on which can happen. I went through the whole winter healthy and then before the Chorley GP (where his sponsor Merlin Cycles are based), I was sick two days before.”

“That left me in a hole for a little bit and since then I have been building the form and had a good run of that leading up to the nationals with podiums in Belgium for example, and then in the nationals, punctured after six k and at that time of the race, it was pretty much done so it was an expensive six kilometres.”

“I’m now back racing though in Belgium and Holland in Post Tour crits and back for the last two Prems as well.”

Back in Belgium where Dan lives, he has been swapping between his two bikes from Merlin, the Merlin Nitro SL and the Merlin Nitro Aero and they both tick the boxes says Dan. “It is nice to have both available to me. I have an electronic groupset on one and mechanical on another so can mix and match. I can jump on either and the geometry is nice on both and Merlin have hit the nail on the head with that with these bikes.”

Post Tour Crits
After the Tour de France, there are the traditional Post Tour Crits where invited riders get to race in front of big crowds and one of those getting invites, has been Dan.

“There are about 30 riders invited and you have your locals, the Tour riders and some other invited riders” he explained. “In Holland, they are more or less Dutch riders and a couple of us that were foreign. If you can get the invites, you hope more will come and I’m hoping for one or more two.”

“They are good spectacle for everyone, with big crowds and everyone is having a good time of course. The organisers try and get as many big names in there as they can and it’s nice to be racing the Tour stars and for Merlin, it’s great to have the jersey in there with the likes of Tom Dumoulin showing up at the crits.”

After his race Leicester last Sunday which didn’t go to plan with crashes and mechanicals ruining his race but Dan says the legs felt good and he’s looking forward to his next British excursion, at the Ryedale Grand Prix.
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Unlike the season for many British pros, Dan’s season will be far from over after Ryedale as he returns to Belgium rto carry on racing until mid October. “There is around two months left (from now in mid August) so I’ll be looking to race as much as possible.”

Asked about racing in Belgium, Dan says some like it, some don’t and when I asked, what is there not to like, Dan replied “I don’t know! I was fortunate enough that my first team’s sponsor was from Belgium sponsor so I got introduced quickly to going over there, and as you know, you can’t go wrong there.”

“It’s such a big cycling scene with so many races. This time of the year, you can race all the time and if you have good form, you race, recover, race and so on. I choose to do two or three races a week or sometimes four. It varies week to week depending on how you feel, what you have coming up. It’s great for getting form for races that are coming up. A typical amateur kermesse is about 120km and the pros are 160 to 180km”.

Dan does both riding for a single sponsor like Merlin and enjoys it so much, that is where he is based through out the season. We wish him good luck in the next two weeks and look forward to seeing him return for the Ryedale GP and hope his luck is better than it was in Leicester ….



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