I have been a bit lax on the blogging front over the past few weeks. I’ve been busy sorting things out with my new team Rapha Condor Sharp, and also getting some important base training done. I’ve been mainly tackling the cold and usually wet Sussex road by myself. I had a spell of 2-3 weeks where I was doing 4-5 hour spins on a regular basis. I backed off just before Christmas when I was starting to feel tired. I then had an easy week between Christmas and New Year to properly recharge the batteries before tackling the second and final part of the Winter.
Since going up to the Claremont Hospital in Sheffield with the team I have found out that I am deficient in both Iron and Vitamin D. So I am now on the correct supplements to set this right – this highlights how important having a partner like Claremont is to the team. Even more so when one of my team mates broke his collar-bone and he was able to be checked and have surgery within a week of the accident.
Christmas and New Year for me was very relaxed. I stayed at home and enjoyed some good food, some bad telly and some very steady road rides. I’ve also had Camille and Tom Southam – our team photographer and press officer– come down to the house for interviews and photographs. On a second visit I was chasing Camille on his motorbike (hooked up with cameras) around Beachy Head in horrific conditions. Again, the team have been so efficient getting all of this done already! Plus, the press/journalism side is something that also interests me quite a lot.
As I’m writing this I’m sat on a plane with my team-mate Oliver Rossi flying over to Lanzarote for our first team training camp. The rest of the team would have already landed and probably won’t be far from the hotel at this point. I’ve been looking forward to this camp for a while and can’t wait to get out on the road with my new team mates. The Spanish sun and 22+ degrees temperature will also be a nice bonus. I’m not sure yet what the plan is training wise but I’ve heard mention of; race radios, lead out practice and coffee – so I’m a happy boy!
My first race with the team will be the Tour of Taiwan mid-March. The team’s position in the race was looking doubtful but we had a nice surprise a few weeks ago when we received an entry. After doing some research on the race and looking at picture from the past few years it looks like a pretty big event! It’ll be the biggest race I’ll have competed in anyway. There was a prologue TT last year – 2km = 1 lap of the crit course – but it appears to have been removed for this year’s edition, which is a bit of a disappointment, but then again I won’t be short of things to be thinking about with seven stages! There’s a good mix of hard hilly courses, a couple of sprint stages and a 60km crit on the final day. The team has had success in the past few years it has done it, so let’s hope we can replicate it this year.
In other English related news; I got to meet Edith Bowman from BBC Radio 1 whilst we were both working at an event at the Olympic Velodrome! I even got my name mentioned on her next show – this had me very happy for a 24 hours! I also got to meet the ‘voice over guy’ from the X Factor, Pete Dickson. Family wise, my Sister [Kimberley] finished her cross season on Saturday taking a top 10 in the National Cross Championships. She’s been training hard over the past months with the British Cycling Talent Team – there may be some conflicts this year in the household with myself riding for Ireland and my little Sister riding for GB. My Dad is in training for the Wicklow 200 this year. It’s a 200km sportif over some pretty savage terrain. All I know is my Dad was out on the bike this morning at 8am for a planned 100 mile spin!! At least there’s 1 athlete in the house…
I’ll leave it at that for now as my battery is starting to die, and I quite fancy shutting my eyes for 20 minutes before we land. I will do my best to do a couple of updates whilst I’m out in Lanzarote.
Thanks for reading, hope you had a good New Year,
We are in the sprinting line on our way to the Olympic Games of London. Sofia has to participate in the four World Cups, Pan American Championship and the World Championship in order to make enough points to qualify.
The qualification system its complicated, it’s a ranking for Continents. The American continent has 5 places for the women’s omnium and we have Sarah Hammer (USA), Tara Whitten (Canada) and Marlies Mejias (Cuba) that have secured their places for the Olympics in the last season. The big dispute is between Angy Gonzalez (Venezuela), the Colombian Maria Luisa Calle and Sofia Arreola (Mexico).
Sofi hopes to finish in the top 10 of the World Cups and World Championship in order to finish within the first five in the Pan American Ranking.
Training base in
Mallorca is a perfect place for training; it has high mountains as well as flat and safe roads to do nice and long rides to improve the endurance. Mallorca has 2 different tracks where you can train and improve different things.
Sofia is currently training under the direction of Andy Sparks in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. Supported by the Mexican Cycling Federation and the National Sports Commission.
The training objectives are to improve power and endurance for individual events of the omnium. Training with Sarah Hammer and riders from Turkey and Ireland has made significant changes in Sofia as she has improved both her power and her endurance on the track. In the last Pan American Games in Guadalajara 2011, Sofi showed the progress when she won the silver medal.
First World: Astana
In Astana, as in all World Cups, you need to do a points race of 40 laps in order to qualify to the finals in the omnium, they have 2 heats and the best 12 of each heat get to ride the finals. Sofia was 4th in her qualifying heat, showing again her progress in her endurance.
The omnium started with 24 riders, all the best girls of the world were there only two big names were missing: Tara Whitten and Sarah Hammer they both decided to start their season in the 2nd World Cup in Cali.
Sofia was looking strong but performed poorly in the elimination race and finished 13th overall at the end.
2nd World Cup: Cali, Colombia
For this World Cup Andy and Sofi planned to do the scratch race in addition to the omnium. The scratch race is an official event in the World Championships but not in the Olympics, this is one of Sofia’s favorites events and she can perform really good in it as well.
You also need to do a qualification ride before riding the finals, 2 heats where only the first 10 of each heat can go to the finals. Sofia was second in her heat and was ready to give everything in the next race.
The final had 20 riders, the best riders in the world for sure. She was trying to control the race from start to finish and maybe worked too much, 4 riders went into the break away and she managed to win the bunch sprint to finish 5th place, this complies in part with the goal set by Andy for this World Cup.
The next day begins with the qualifying for the omnium. Sofia had to ride the heat with the best two riders of the specialty (World Champ Tara Whitten and multiple World Cup Champ Sarah Hammer) She managed to qualify and had a very regular start in the first event (250m flying lap). In the second event (points race) she finished in 5th place, Sofi improved her chances in the general classification and she was getting closer to the top 10 she wanted.
In the next event (elimination race), a race that is usually very complicated as every rider starts the race full gas because every 2 laps the last rider gets eliminated. The excitement of the riders as well as their desire to win caused several crashes, Sofi was involved in one of them. She hit the wall of the track injuring her back, right arm and finger and so had to end her participation in this World Cup.
Sofi is currently in 3rd place in the world ranking of the scratch race and she is looking forward to top that at the World Championships in Australia but her main focus is to make more points for the Olympics, she still wants to secure top 10 in the next two World Cups in Beijing and the Olympic test of London.
There are now four more races where she can collect Olympic points: the next two World Cups, the PanAm Champs and the World Champs it will be a hard and close fight between the riders because everyone is working harder than ever before to get there but we are sure that Sofia can achieve her goal and make her Olympic dream a reality in London.
Cali Track World Cup 2011
Update From Cali World Cup
The highlights of yesterday are quite interesting; in the men’s team sprint qualifying the German trio of Rene Enders, Maximilian Levy and Stefan Nimke set a new World Record in an impressive ride (42.914), the women’s team sprint was won also by Germany with Kristina Vogel and Miriam Welte.
2 Team Erdgas
Women’s Team Sprint:
The women’s scratch race was full of attacks, Sofi Arreola (Mex) was very active in the race but at the end there was a break away with 4 and she couldn’t make it but she won the bunch sprint to finish in 5th place.
1 Kelly Druyts (Bel)
2 Katarzyna Pawlowska (Pol)
3 Ahreum Na (Kor)
4 Leire Olaberria Dorronsoro (Spa)
5 Sofia Arreola (Mex)
In the women’s Team Pursuit GBR were fighting the NZL girls for gold and it was a very close battle till one of the girls of New Zealand got dropped off the wheel of her teammate and that gave the British team a gold medal while the American team finished 3rd.
The men’s team pursuit was a different story, the Australians were fighting for gold against New Zealand but unfortunately for the World Champions one of their teammates had a crash in the first kilometre of the race and they were not allowed to start again. NZL finished 1st, AUS 2nd and DEN 3rd.
The craziest race of the day was the 3rd event of the omnium: Elimination race. As usual, it started super fast, everyone fighting to be in a good position in the peloton, short after the race started there was a crash with 4 riders including Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) one of the race favorites! He and the rest of the guys were allowed to come back on the race but the crash caused a bad effect on them so they were all eliminated soon.
There was more chaos during the race because riders didn’t want to leave the track after they were eliminated; I guess there was a lot of confusion there. Very close to the finish there was another crash with more race favorites like Zach Bell (Can) and Shane Archbold (NZl), they were also back in the race but both with bad luck, Zach was eliminated right after the crash and Shane was disqualified of the event after not leaving the track when he was eliminated.
The race was about to get more confusing and at the same time more interesting when the race commissaries said Juan Esteban Arango (Col) was eliminated but the Colombian rider was refusing to leave the track! The commissaries let the race continue and they eliminated Eloy Teruel Rovira (Spa), this rider was seriously upset and had a fight with the judges after leaving the track so he also got disqualified of the event.
The commissaries told Arango he must leave the track and said the race was over while Bryan Coquard (Fra), Michael Freiberg (Aus) and Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) were still on the track! The riders were confused and complaining to the UCI commissaries while the DS from Colombia was also fighting to get his rider back on the track, he said that the red monitor that lets the riders know that they are eliminated was never flashing in his Arango’s bike so he wasn’t really eliminated…. Anyways the commissaries let him come back to the race, the other riders were not happy but they kept on racing.
Arango was the first eliminated, followed by the Belgian rider and Bryan Coquard beat Michael Freiberg (reigning World Champion) in the final sprint.
The current omnuim standinga are here:
1 Bryan Coquard (Fra) France 10 pts
2 Recep Ünalan (Tur) Turkey 14 pts
3 Juan Esteban Arango (Col) Colombia 16pts
4 Zach Bell (Can) Canada 20 pts
5 Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Denmark 28 pts
6 Martyn Irvine (Irl) Ireland 30 pts
7 Michael Freiberg (Aus) Australia 31 pts
8 Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) Belgium 32 pts
Full results of every event from Tissot Timing click here.
Live streaming of the Cali Track World Cup is available at Mundo Ciclistico by clicking here.