So the season has begun and I was glad to luckily had the chance to race in the sunshine on my 2nd trip abroad of the year, this was to the Tour Ta Malta with the team.
With the weather in the UK again not being very good I couldn’t wait to get away. With the support from the Lewis Balyckyi Trust Fund I’m luckily able to get away near enough every month of the year to some stage races abroad and the Tour of Malta was the first one. This would be the first time I’d meet 3 of my new team mates out of a team of 6. We bonded pretty quickly with banter all around so I could already tell it was going to be a good trip.
I arrived on the Monday 19th, a day earlier than the rest of the team as this was the cheapest option, but it gave me another day of training in the sun where I rode to the capital Valletta. A centre of history from the war with many museums, statues and plaques all relating. The next day my team mates arrived and we all couldn’t wait to get racing!
Stage 1 – TT – an individual time trial on a rainy and windy day, typical but by the time I was ready to ride it dried up making it much better. I rode a time of 21.46 which put me in 21st position at the end. My NP power was 390w so I quite pleased with that, but the winning time by my team mate Josh Copley put him in the leaders jersey by a huge gap of 1m30s. Very happy we all were to take the first stage. Now the hard bit came to defending it.
Stage 2 – Again started wet but soon became dry ready to race. Having the defend the leader we had a plan, this being the hardest stage made it much harder to defend. After about half a mile the race was split, with a group of 14 and 5 of my team in we thought we had it in the bag. Halfway up the first climb on a Italian attacked which we didn’t follow thinking we would just gradually close him down, which never came around. Lap by lap this Italian rider was putting 1 minute per lap into us. Even when we were going through hard to bring him back we never pulled 1 second back….hard to believe but true. So leaving him we went to plan B which was to podium. The result, we 3rd place of stage 2 with Josh Housley stepping up. A hard day out but again we were all happy with another podium.
Stage 3 – The sprint stage was ahead of us, the sun was out which made it even better. With no leader to defend we decided that we would close every single move any rider made to make it possible for our team sprinter James Ambrose Parish to win the bunch sprint. Constant attacks kept going with 3 of us working to bring each and every one back, it was a great feeling knowing other team mates were willing to help and also sacrifice there own success for someone else’s. About halfway through we saw the leader struggling so as a team we decided to light it up Abit. This was extremely satisfying seeing 5 team mates drilling it dropping 3/4 of the field in about 1 minute, but the leader managed to stay with us, 4 laps from the end I attacked to try and go solo but it wasn’t to be as the Leader was also closing everything down so nobody could get a second on him. So it came to the last lap and we had the train ready for the sprint, round the last hairpin we got split up before the final straight which left only 2 riders together including the sprinter. It came to the line and a Italian rider celebrated the win, I was gutted….but only for 5 minutes finding out that he celebrated to early and James managed to win the sprint with josh in 3rd. Yet again another 2 podiums. Fantastic. Felt good to do so much work for the team and it to pay off.
Stage 4 – Cancelled – This Stage was going to be setup for myself being a hard lumpy day which would suit me, breakfast done, bikes ready, we walked to the front of the hotel only to be told the stage was cancelled due to bad weather conditions, annoyed I was but that’s the way it goes sometimes. Still we came away with 3rd GC, and 4 podiums from 3 stages. It was a great team performance and I can’t wait to race with the lads again.
April – A big month of races coming up with the first premier calendar, Chorley GP on the 15th. It’s going to be a hard 116 miles but let’s see what the legs can do, local to me so even more motivation to do well. The week after that is the UCI circle classic. Another 100+ mile race along dirt road, with normally many punctures and bad luck. This will be my first so hopefully luck will be on my side. Then after that on the 29th I’m off to Holland for the Wim Hendriks Trofee, a pan flat 160km race which is all out from the gun! Another race abroad being supported by the Trust Fund, wouldn’t be possible without them!
I hope all goes well for me and thanks for reading, follow me on social media for regular updates from my races and where I am in the world.
Thanks for all the support given by the Lewis Balyckyi Trust Fund making the impossible possible. Also to my new team and all the sponsors (Below) and to my coach Roy Holmes.
Twitter – @LewisBTrustFund – @holmescyclinguk – @davidreece1
Instagram – davereece94 – TBW23
Facebook – The Lewis Balyckyi Trust Fund
Thanks to the sponsors
Stuart Hall Cycling. https://stuarthallcycling.co.uk/
Gett Taxi Uk. https://gett.com/uk/
TBW The Bike Warehouse www.thebikewarehouse.net
Lake shoes http://www.lakecycling.com/
Prosport Distribution http://www.prosportdistribution.com/
Andrew Hillman fb.me/sportsmassageandrewhillman
Wigmore Cycling Club http://www.bc-clubs.co.uk/wigmorecc/