The worst weather conditions imaginable couldn’t stop our hardy roster of Wattbikers, as they stormed to various victories over a wet weekend at the 2019 UCI Road Race World Championships in Yorkshire.
Dan Bigham, John Archibald and honourary HUUB Wattbike member, Harry Tanfield, powered their way to bronze in the mixed relay on Sunday the 22nd October.
A brand new event, mixed relay squads were made up of three male and three female riders, racing over two 14km laps of Harrogate, with the boys riding first and the clock stopping as soon as the second female crossed the finish line.
Posting a fast time from the get-go, Team GB managed to hold on to the top spot for the majority of the race, before just missing out to race favourite nations, Germany and the Netherlands.
Describing the race, Dan Bigham said: “The Worlds in Harrogate was a great opportunity to showcase HUUB Wattbike’s ability to perform across a variety of events. Harry may have moved on to the World Tour, but he’s still an honorary citizen of Derbados. It was great to have the team back together on home soil.
“We took a heavily scientific approach to the mixed relay TT, and on the day it paid off. We barely put a pedal stroke wrong, and helped put the girls in a solid position, which they duly delivered on bringing us home with the bronze medal.
“We may not have won, but it definitely felt like we did. We demonstrated what we’re capable of when we’re given the opportunity and I hope there will be many more.”
For John Archibald, it was back to business very quickly. Receiving the call-up on the 21st, John was offered the chance to race in the Elite Men’s TT, following a withdrawal from Geraint Thomas. With only three days to prepare, a wet recce and a couple of course video viewings, Archibald set out as an early starter and held on to the hot seat for a while before the big-name favourites started rolling in.
Speaking on his experience, John said: “I was equally excited as I was nervous about racing the TT in Harrogate. With three days’ notice for a World Championship event, I began an accelerated memory game of learning the 54km course. It was the perfect opportunity to measure myself against the best of the best, seeing what it’s like to race against previous World Champions and to also represent GB on home turf.
“To finish 14th might not have been my dream result, but my sensations through the race, and my thoughts afterwards, have me convinced I did everything I could. The results list - and some of the names I beat - gives me confidence that I shouldn’t rule out a stronger performance in the future. The Harrogate crowds and ‘home’ feel to the event made it extra special. Despite not having the soaring temperatures and dry roads of previous championships, the atmosphere would be hard to recreate.”
Wattbike ambassador Lizzie Deignan rode in the women’s road race, in what was a home town race for her. However she failed to reclaim the rainbow jersey, with the 2015 world champion admitting a tactical error after falling behind an attack by fellow Wattbike user, USA’s Chloe Dygert.
“The dream didn’t come true, but I will always remember the 2019 UCI Road World Championships in Yorkshire with a smile. A huge thank you for all of the support and to my teams Trek Segafredo and British Cycling, to the British public, our local community, my family and friends and most importantly my husband Philip Deignan and my daughter Orla. I think Yorkshire did us proud hosting a brilliant World Championships, despite the weather! I’m looking forward to a break now before coming back for the 2020 season,” said Lizzie on finishing.
Missing out on the road race podium, Chloe picked up the impressive Elite Women’s Time Trial win.
Andy Sparks, head coach and director at Performance United in Colorado Springs, USA, has worked closely with Chloe in the past, with a lot of her training taking place on the facility’s Wattbikes.
“As a rider, Chloe has the most natural talent of anyone I have ever tested on a Wattbike. On top of this talent level is a drive to win that is a combination of Rocky Balboa and Steve Prefontaine. In short, she is the total athlete package,” says Andy. “I am very happy to have played a small part in her success and I’ll always be proud of how hard she works in her pursuit of athletic excellence.
“Chloe is now in the extremely credible coaching hands of three-time Olympic Gold Medalist, Kristin Armstrong. Coach Kristin who fully understands Chloe’s drive for excellence and desire for winning. And of course, as Yorkshire has now been wrapped up, we can see what a deadly team these two are making with Tokyo 2020 less than a year away.”