The Coupe de France at Lons le Saunier was chosen to be the tune up race ahead of next Saturday’s World Marathon Championships. It had been a lengthy five weeks of training away from the race environment. The race was the final preparation for the first major goal of the season for the Yorkshire brother duo as they took to the start line on Sunday.
Seb – “I’ve put in a few really good solid weeks of training at my base in the Alsace in preparation for the Marathon Worlds and the following British XC Champs. When you’ve had so many weeks ‘out’ of the circuit it’s essential to get back in the racing groove. With the Coupe de France always turning out huge numbers of world-class competitors the racing is so fast and aggressive which is exactly what’s needed to catapult the body back in to action.”
This was certainly the case in Lons le Saunier on a course of three thirds. The track was wide flat and fast to start, tight and punchy in the middle, and finishing the lap tight, twisty and again flat. The circuit was relentless with next to no opportunity to relax or recover. Any lapse in concentration and the slick top surface or one of the many protruding roots would take you down.
Hamish – “Racing in France is as close you can get to a World Cup than actually being at one. The time gaps are so tight, if you make a mistake you can loose four or five places just like that, and similarly if you have a serge you can move up ten spots in the space of one lap.”
Both Seb and Hamish had their marathon legs on ahead of next Saturday and dieseled through the race at a consistent speed knocking off riders ahead all the way to the finish line. This was a very positive sign looking forward to the World Champs 87km race course and a race time of around five hours.
Hamish – “The narrow nature of the track with limited passing opportunities didn’t help the slower starter or make it easy to move through but the race served its purpose perfectly.”
Seb – “Sometimes you have to approach a race looking at the bigger picture. Doing big mileage right up to an XCO race with its fast explosive speeds was never going to be ideal preparation for that. However a very high intensity session, in this case a race, at the end of a huge block of training is perfect before my main goals which are now right ahead.”
Seb continued – “I’m really confident of where my body is and I can’t wait to get stuck in to the unpleasantly steep climbs of the Italian Dolomites on Saturday!”