Feature Interview: Alex Paton (Tour of Britain Jersey Winner)

Chatting to Alex Paton of Canyon DHB who won the Sprints jersey in the Tour of Britain in 2018, about his winter, the start to the season and his goals for 2019

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Feature Interview: Alex Paton (Tour of Britain Jersey Winner)

Last year in the Tour of Britain, two of the country’s top pros, Alex Paton and Matt Holmes (Madison Genesis) had a right ding dong battle for the Sprint’s Jersey in one of the most riveting battles of the final stages. The winner of that jersey was Alex Paton who many many months before had started his road season with a victory at the Perfs Pedal.

Now, four months later, the racing has begun and it wasn’t the Perfs that saw him kick off his season in but a WorldTour race, Challenge Mallorca. Prior to that came the first team training camp where the form was tested to the max ahead of the racing.

We started our chat talking about his winter on the bike. “Fitness wise, I try and do all the right things during the winter and have a relaxed approached to it and then as the racing season approaches, you start to bring the focus in a bit more. Generally, I try and keep the quality work in there all the time. Some guys can switch off and prefer to take a step back from it but I prefer to keep one eye on it all the time”.

“The team camp in Calpe was really good. Some of the guys spent most of January in Calpe, which was good for them. The team had accommodation sorted for the entire month for everyone if they wanted it but a few guys like myself just went out for the last week when it was a team focused orientated time and I made the most of that”.

“I did the best part of 10 days and focused on the time there rather than just getting out and riding. The thing that stuck out for me from the camp was everyone is generally in a good place. The group bonded well. It was a bunch of good guys all good at cycling all working well together and if you put that in the mix together, they’ll come away with some good results.”

“It was good to see. For the first time for this team there have been some big changes where there were more new guys than riders staying which is a first for this team but it was good. Everyone is there for the right reason, right fit for the team and good bike riders too. So it was nice to get that out of the way and get everyone together.”
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Was he nervous pre camp? “I am never nervous” he replied adding, “I have got what I have got and if it’s there on the day, great, if it’s not, then it is back to the drawing board. I think the atmosphere was relaxed and everyone knew we weren’t there at the camp trying to prove our worth or secure ourself a race position. But, ultimately everyone is a bike racer so there is always a good show down at the end of the days which was good.”

“Then we went across to Mallorca with a few easy days and then into Challenge Mallorca which was a big event and officially the first event of the season for me. It was tough start and I did three of the four days which generally were not suited to me being some what hilly but the last day was a flatter stage, a sprint stage, and we mixed it up with the WorldTour guys even though we didn’t come away with a result we wanted.”

Alex went on to add though, getting a top 20 (18th) for the team’s Rob McCarthy was still a great result considering everything and showed the team can compete in these races.

Alex says of Challenge Mallorca “Everyone was there to race as that’s what they are paid to do and there were times they took a different approach to the racing as people were there not necessarily in the best shape and instead trying to find form. The racing was still tough though”.

Very tough indeed and his boss Tim Elverson had recalled just one of many stories from the race where Alex had ridden away from a Monument winner in a race to get back to the front. So I asked Alex about it.

“There was a group of us on stage 3 in Mallorca, a decent group of riders with a number of World Tour riders and we’d gone out the back of the race on the first big climb because it was so hard. I was doing 400 watts over 20 minutes and still getting dropped”.

“I committed a lot to getting over the second climb of the day and then the descent and before you know it, I found myself in a group of select riders and you’re riding yourself back to the front of a WorldTour race which is quite impressive and a good position to be in. It shows at the right time you can mix it with the good guys. There is no doubt the WorldTour guys are another level to riders like myself but it’s nice on certain days riders like me can get a glimpse of that level of racing and I can compete with them.”
Looking ahead to 2019 and the goals, he says ‘consistency through the year’ is the ket one. “Last year was defined by crashes and illness so it would be good to start the season in good shape and and try and continue that into the season and build on it and hopefully show myself in the races and help the guys”

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Finally, was the jersey at the Tour of Britain a highlight? Yes, I love the Tour so getting the jersey was perfect …” Alex added that keeping his form from February to September was more about bad luck than good planning. “

The season for me last year started well (he won the Perfs) but the main part of it was defined by crashes and illness and then a lot of hard work to get back to form for the Tour of Britain and get a result that I was really proud of.”

“It book ended the season very nicely. A lot of people may look at it and think it was carefully planned but it wasn’t. More down to some bad luck with the crashes and then hard work.

After second place in the Perfs Pedal with a very attacking ride, Alex is showing great form and we wish him lots of luck in 2019 …


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