Feature: Harry Tanfield Goes World Tour

2018 has been a huge year for Harry Tanfield. Stage win in Yorkshire, 2nd in Commonwealth Games TT and in a year he felt he was ready for the World Tour, the chance has come his way with a ride at Katusha Alpecin thanks to Canyon – we chat

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Feature: Harry Tanfield Goes World Tour

2018 has been a huge year for Harry Tanfield. Stage win in Yorkshire, 2nd in Commonwealth Games TT and in a year he felt he was ready for the World Tour, the chance has come his way with a ride at Katusha Alpecin thaks to Canyon– we chat

“The WorldTour has always been the ultimate ambition” Harrys says. “I have a foot in the door now and have two years to prove myself. I don’t pretend to think I have made it. The hard work starts now and the challenge is for me to show I can progress as a rider.”

“Very few get this opportunity so I have to grab it with both hands and it’s going to be good to meet the team” added Harry. “

Team manager at Katusha, Jose Azevedo adds “We’ve been watching Harry with our partner Canyon for a while. He’s not only a talented time trial rider. We have seen on this year’s Tour de Yorkshire that he has all the skills to win big races. While this is a big step for him now, we as a team will provide him with the best possible support to continue his positive development”.

At the Tour of Britain, fellow Brit Alex Dowsett, said of his new teammate, “It will be good fun. I roomed with him at the Europeans, he’s young and it will be fun helping him.” Alex had no idea at that stage what role Harry will play in the team but says “the WorldTour is different to the domestic teams who are going from strength to strength here (Tour of Britain). It’s a really good team for Harry to be in at WorldTour level. A nice race programme and they look after the riders”.

Harry on the podium with a future Tour de France winner (Thomas) and Harry’s teammate for 2019, Alex Dowsett

The Canyon Connection
Harry joining the Katusha Alpecin team has a lot to do with his team this year Canyon Eisberg and the principle sponsor in Canyon UK. “I wanted to honour the faith Canyon has put in me through Tim (Elverson) and Nick Allen (Canyon UK), so joining Katusha Alpecin was always the dream” added Harry.

“I had just set out on a training ride when José (Azevedo) rang me. I was over the moon. Now I just can’t wait to get started. I have to thank everyone at Canyon Eisberg but especially Tim. We’ve worked together for three years and it has been a great ride, added Tanfield.

Harry has been fortunate to be given a race programme at Canyon Eisberg that has seen him not only do races like the Tour de Yorkshire but lots of races in Belgium and Holland. How does he feel he compares to the pros he is going to be training with shortly at the first training camp.

“I’m not far off the guys” he says. “My watts per kilo is bit grim but my watts is fine. As soon as I sort the watts per kilo, I’ll be laughing! I have my programme for the team training camp and it’s lots of five hour rides with a lot of zone three which is going to be hard!”

When we met at the Boardman Performance Centre, Harry had spent the morning on the track at a team presentation for the track squad he is part of(Huub/Wattbike) and then proceeded to ride towards Evesham for his first time in the wind tunnel at the Performance Centre.

His Canyon road bike had just arrived along with his Katusha kit and Harry was giving that all a shake down before the training camp. “The winter kit is real nice kit” Harry explained adding “I just want to know what every item of kit I have is like before I start going out in Majorca so I know what to wear for different weather conditions and temperatures”.

“I am more worried though I am going to get belted on this team camp because these guys have been racing a lot of miles”.

Harry explained how he talks to the team saying that he’s spoken to the new head coach who is talking to his coach to help move him forward as he steps up to WorldTour. Whilst he hasn’t yet got his race programme, when asked what races he’d like to do, Harry says “the desert races; I’d love to have a go at them. They look good fun. It would be good to be in the lead out for Kittel or wack some breakaways and get something out of it and show them what I can do”.

“I’d also like to do some classics although not too big a classic! It is one thing riding UCI 1.1s there but I expect it’s another thing riding Gent Wevelgem. These are the races I normally go out training and then watch on tele when I get back”.

Harry added a lot of the roads in these Belgian classics are used in the races he’s done with Canyon Eisberg and in 2018 Harry was second in the one-day races of Midden-Brabant Poort Omloop and Ronde van Overijssel so he has had a taste of what it’s like to race them.

Harry then adds, talking of big classics, the big goal is Paris-Roubaix, a race he seems well suited to and is a race he’s ridden as a junior too. “I normally go well on the cobbles” he adds.

Winning crits in 2018 as well as a stage in Yorkshire

Learning or Results?
Although only 24 years old, Harrys says he’s ‘not young anymore’ and can’t afford to waste the two years at Katusha. “The first year will be about adapting and getting used to the race programme and stuff like that and then the second year is about results. I want to get results from the off as well though as I’m not young”.

“I want to adapt as quick as possible as there is no use taking 18 months getting used to the racing because you’re out of time then. They haven’t just signed me as a domestique and want me to do well in races but I am expecting to be used on the front of peloton too doing work for the team”.

“I have two years so we’ll see what happens and hopefully it will change me as a rider having that race programme and not having to do one hour crits all the time and just single day races. It will be good to do stage races that are going to bring you on. After I did Yorkshire, I was flying so if I can get them under my belt every year, that will be great”.

“The body is at a different level doing those races and I go well off the back of a lot of riding”.

Track racing – a different sport
Before his training camp in December for Katusha Alpecin, Harry has been busy on the track racing for Huub/Wattbike. It seems like a big work load coming off a busy road season but Harry says “I have always said it’s a different sport using different energy systems and so on and I think it will benefit me as I’m doing the track work on top of all the road work and the gym as well.”

“I know a lot of riders like that two or three month period of not racing but it’s not that bad, a few Worlds Cups and each of them is done in one day”.

Asked how hard was it to adapt to the track whilst still racing the road, Harry replied “when I came back and dropped into a session on the track in August after doing a week of 1.1s in Belgium, I felt really good. I think it works best for me to ride a lot of road and drop back in as the first session I did after the week in Belgium was like I had never left the track and I was smashing a load of fast laps”.

Harry competed in the Paris and Canadian World Cups before having a week off the bike adding that the week flew by and before he knew it, he was back riding the bike. “Since I have started riding again, I have been focused on preparing for the road season. I’m still riding the track twice a week but I’m doing lots of miles on the road and the track is what is it is. I’m doing 19 or 20 hour weeks and getting the aerobic fitness back because that is what I lost a lot of”.

On where he’s going to be based when with Katusha, Harry wasn’t sure saying he may be spending the early months in Spain but then added if his race programme has him in Belgium in February then he won’t want to be used to riding in warm climates and then be thrown into the winter in Belgium!

Thanks and good luck to Harry at the team presentation and team camp.

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