Feature: Ben Turner (6th in Worlds)

Third in the Junior worlds in 2017 and sixth in the Under 23 Worlds this year, we chat to Ben Turner about the World Championship race last week in Denmark and his season …

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Feature: Ben Turner (6th in Worlds)
(brought to you by trainSharp coaching)

It was quite some CycloCross worlds in the Under 23 race, seeing three Brits in the lead group with Tom Pidcock, Ben Turner and Thomas Mein. Pidcock went on to win the race, Turner was 6th and Mein 9th.

For Ben Turner, who had medalled in the Junior Worlds, and was in the mix in Denmark last week, he says whilst he was and wasn’t disappointed with the race, it wasn’t really the result he had hoped for after a season of wins as well as a podium in World Cups.

The circuit in Demark he says was like the one at the British Cross Champs where he was second in the Elite race. “It was quite like the course for the cross champs but the course at the worlds was a bit softer, still really fast, but the surface was spongy and slippery as well”.

Asked how he feels about his cyclo-cross season, he says “it’s better than last years and it has been good to step up. I have won quite a few races and podiums as well so it’s been good. I still have two years at under 23 so hopefully I can move up to the next level next year or the year after.”

Riding for such a high profile team as Corendon-Circus, and still being quite young, could carry with it a lot of pressure to perform and whilst Ben says he does feel pressure, he adds that he always feels pressure to do his best and that pressure is there whatever team he is in.

Ben, who has been coached by trainSharp for many years now since he was a junior, says that despite all the racing, there is still a need to train. “You need to mix the training with rest periods as well because if you are racing all the time, you can’t keep hammering away all day, everyday. Having trainSharp help me get that sorted and is something I don’t have to worry about”.

With so many important events in a cyclocross season, how does Ben manage peaking for them? “A rider can’t be on a full peak for four months so I need to pick the biggest races in that period you want to do well in like the Euros, British champs and the Worlds are the main ones. The Christmas period as well so you have to plan before the season when you want to be good.”

These mini peaks are essentially a block of work and then a taper into the event but the training in that block may well depend on the type of course the event is going to be on and for that, weather forecasts can be pretty important! “If it’s a heavy muddy course, then you look to do longer efforts but if going it’s to be fast, you have to work on leg speed and sprints” Ben explained.
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An example of a mini peak was the one for the worlds where a day after the British champs, he and Ben Tulett went to southern Spain for ten days. Part of that training is using power cranks which so many riders use these days. “Training to power is helping me control things and seeing where I am at” he says.

Chatting about how he works with trainSharp, Ben says “they use Todays Plan (like Training Peaks) so I upload the data from the rides I do to that after each ride and I can also see on there what trainSharp have set me training wise for the next day, next week or the next month. They also email me and we can change things if I’m not feeling so good or there are other factors and goals to take into account. We’ll also talk through the training on the phone”.

Ben then went on to say that he may not do the amount of hours per week that a road rider does but there is still a lot to be done. “You still have to have endurance for cyclocross because even though it’s only an hour, because it’s such a high intensity, you have to have a lot of strength to back up the high power efforts we do. So there is a lot of short efforts as well as a lot of long rides too for the endurance”.

Onto the subject of bikes, Ben says they are pretty similar across the team with 46/39 chainrings matched to 11/28 cassettes but when it comes to tubulars, they are the riders own choice. “I’m sponsored by Challenge and so have a large variety of tubulars for sand, fast courses, intermediates and full mud tyres. I get to choose what I need and the tyre pressures too but the team also give me advice on that”.

Looking at the big picture for Ben and his career, he says “I have a few years in the category (under 23) and I want to keep stepping up each year by racing on the road in the summer as well so I can get better for the cyclocross seasons.”

Ben says once his cyclocross season is over with at the end of February, he’ll have a few weeks off before starting his road season which will start around May time. That racing will include some stage racing in Belgium, kermesses and races back home too where he will be based during the summer.

The goal is to be as good as he can be for the World Championships, Europeans, British champs, World cups and all the other big races where his aim is to do well and continue to improve. After seeing his performance at the World Championships, Ben has shown he is truly World Class in the sport of cyclocross and we wish him lots of luck for the remaining races and then the road season that follows …



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