Conor's 2010 Season

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The Dunnes
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Conor's 2010 Season

Postby The Dunnes » Fri Mar 25, 2011 1:08 pm

Paul asked me to write a summary of my season for the Hemel CC website, and to keep in touch as my experience in bike racing develops, so here goes.

Glendene Junior Racing Team
My last outing in Hemel colours took me to 2nd on the podium of the Junior British Time Trial Champs and my first outing in new Glendene colours was the Winter series at Hillingdon. My new team coach, Bob Downs was not keen on me doing too many of the Winter races, so training miles kept me in and around the Chilterns. It was a real step up to be part of a racing team, riding for each other and learning to make the most of opportunities in the interests of the team, and of course living up to the formidable coach’s instructions. I have learned so much from Bob and he has so much to pass on it is puzzling to me that he does not have a more prominent national role in racing. His record speaks for itself and together with time-trial coach, Steve China, there is little to compare with their achievements and commitment in developing junior road racers in this country.

Riding with Glendene made quite a difference to the racing. Getting used to thinking about the options from the team perspective rather than just riding for myself provided a range of new decisions to calculate. My early season goal was to try and get noticed enough to gain selection for the GB team at the junior Paris Roubaix. GB selection would have been nice but my main interest was riding the race. I really enjoy riding in Belgium and my performance in some early season races, Kuurnse, De Klitje, Werken and culminating in my first win at Erpe (19th, 6th, 2nd and 1st), pointed to growing experience and ability on the cobbles, bergs and narrow farm roads of Flanders. However, to gain GB recognition you have to make an impact over here and the Junior National Series is where you need to shine. Unfortunately the terrain for much of this series was not ideal for my larger build, and the first race, the Cadence in South Wales, was the only one available to make an impact before the Paris Roubaix. It was also important for the team, and our tactics worked well. At one point I thought we may have got a one-two when team mate, Tom Moses, made his winning attack in the closing stages. All I had to do was hang back and make the jump on the rest of the break but I got the timing wrong and went too early, only to be swallowed up on the climb to the finish. To get selection you had to win the Cadence, and sure enough Tom was selected and put in a creditable performance at the Paris Roubaix to finish 6th. But I can’t help thinking I could have made the critical break in that race and with more GB riders in the run-in help to get the GB jersey on top rather than Dan Mclay’s 2nd place. Perhaps the most memorable of my early season races was my first, the Kuurnse in Begium, which followed a shortened version of the pro race on the same day in the same conditions. For those who don’t remember check here - ... uurne.html . The conditions were really hard but I was enjoying myself so much in the early stages I probably used up too much energy in the excitement. The cobbled bergs were a real sorter and dancing round the gasping World Champion (who went on to win the junior Paris Roubaix) gave added confidence. I was in the winning move with about 10k to go when I cracked from a combination of advancing hypothermia and hypoglycemia. It was just hell to hang on but there was no point in climbing off even if I could. I rolled over the line and couldn’t get my feet out of the pedals. I had to be caught by a policeman who guided me to the team van. We mixed in the same changing facilities as the seniors, and anyone who finished the race was congratulated by the assembled DS’s and pros many of whom had packed. We were through the tunnel on the way home before I was able to speak and make any sense. My first Belgian win was also memorable, a tussle with Alexander Mørk who later in the season became the Danish U23 road race champion. We managed to put distance between ourselves and our remaining breakaway companions when I jumped him out of a tight corner into the finishing town to win on my own.

Time Trials
Early success in Belgium provided a pattern for my season and with commitments to the National junior road races and time-trials back at home, these provided the main focus for the year. My team mate, Tom Moses, was our main contender for the junior series and the team tactics and orders were to keep him on top – something we almost achieved by the end of the season, missing out by one place. The National 10 and 25 mile time-trials were my main domestic aim for the middle part of the season. I was determined to upgrade my silvers from last year to gold. Everything went pretty much to plan, with training times that put me well on course. I made frequent trips over to Essex and trained with ex-Glendene rider Oliver Rossi, who was also being coached by Steve China. Steve’s experience and successes as a coach are unquestioned. He also helps ex-Glendene riders Alex Dowsett, Andrew Griffiths and Joe Perrett, so I was able to measure my progress on the training courses they use. Training was going well. I did a 25 on a slow course in 55.03, 20sec faster then Joe’s PB on the same course. Steve thought I would have gone under 50 on a fast course. It all helped my confidence, but it was a new experience to go into the junior National 10 mile TT as favourite, and the pressure wasn’t eased by knowing my training partner was the serious competition. Knowing his progress in training didn’t help either. Whatever you do in training, the important one is the race itself. For me it just didn’t work out well as I only managed to increase my tally of silvers. I probably froze with the favourite tag, but Oli put in a great effort to take a well deserved junior 10 title. I managed to put things right a couple of weeks later at the junior National 25 mile TT when the challenge from Oli fell away and I had to contend with a fast improving Ryan Mullen and an obstructive bus (Report). But at last I had bagged that elusive national title at my 4th attempt and a after a string of silvers. So after putting the second place tag behind me it was back to Belgium.

Victories in Belgium
Belgium became very enjoyable for me, and at times more lucrative than a weekend job. The euros began to roll in, much to the annoyance of the locals. In one race our team not only went home with all the prizes for the podium places, but most of the primes too. The previous year Glendene didn’t score any wins in Belgium, but we seemed to come home with wins or podiums every time we went. It seemed we were affecting the style of racing too. Usually in Belgium it is hell for leather from the start, but after our early successes whenever we turned up we were watched from the start and little happened unless we made a move. At times it seemed like Belgium against Glendene as the locals combined to defend domestic honour. With so many distinguished former juniors, wearing a Glendene jersey gets you watched anyway –something I’ve noticed since joining the team. All the same it was great fun combining to deliver a result for the team and scoring so many victories. I got into a really good understanding with team-mate Tom Moses, and with the help of other team-mates Al, Paul and Jim between us we managed to sew up most of the races we started. Belgian stage racing was a different matter though, and in the two UCI events I competed in, Kontich and Keizer de Juniores in Koksijde, I was part of the South East Cycling team. To race against the stronger foreign and national teams like the ones you come up against in these UCI stage races, you really need to have strength in depth. Once you become marked as a danger to their GC contenders it is very difficult to shake off attention. I was able to get in among the moves but without team-mates in equal numbers to mix it up and keep the opposition guessing it is difficult to capitalise on the opportunities. In between trips to Belgium there was the important task of our challenge on the National junior road race championships in South Wales. The race went well for the team at first when Paul Young got into an initial break that grew through the race and stayed away to the finish. Unfortunately Paul was pretty well wasted by then and I was the only other Glendene rider to get up there. Tactically I probably overplayed my hand in the run-in. I managed to bridge to the lead group with about 15k to go while the main contenders with eventual winner Dan Mclay got across with 10k to go. I had a couple of serious attempts at attacking the break in the final kilos and one nearly succeeded but for a rider who tagged on being unable or unwilling to come through and sustain the break. So it came down to a sprint finish and a 5th place result. I wonder now whether I should have just had a bit more faith in my own sprinting and saved myself for the final dash.

National Series
The Bath Road race in July was my local race of the junior national series, being on roads I was familiar with from racing and training rides. I felt strong and attacked from the start forging a break that slowly grew in numbers. After a while I attacked again and followed this pattern until the closing stages, when the break had been whittled down to just Tom, me and a handful of contenders. Tom attacked and got a gap. The others looked at me. Game over.

The back end of the season saw two important targets for me. One was to support Tom in the Junior Tour of Wales and at the same time his challenge for the overall junior series. The second was my attempt on the junior British Time Trial Championships, both in South Wales. But first there was an August training camp for the team at uncle Roger’s place Velovercors in France to help us prepare for the Tour of Wales. We even got a write-up in Cycling Weekly.
The training went well. On the way home we stopped off in Belgium and the team picked up another one-two in Lauwe before catching the train, so we were feeling good. Although there was a lot of climbing in the Tour of Wales, the race started quite well for me with a good result in the prologue TT and finishing with the leaders on the first stage on top of Llangynidr. Unfortunately Tom didn’t have a good day and his GC challenge fell away. The next stage was at Parc Bryn Bach a purpose built circuit in parkland on an old coal mine slag heap. It was fast and brutal in equal measure and the team tactic was for Tom and me to attack from the start. It drew out the main GC contenders and we stayed away to the finish. As our prospects for the overall jersey were weak I decided to have a go at the green jersey, as there were a lot of points on offer for intermediate sprints and the holder had missed the break. I thought I’d secured enough, but Dan Mclay was defending for his team-mate and by the end of the race I had missed out by one point. Tom managed to recover on stage three and took second place to Dan who by this point had all but sewn up the GC. Glendene managed to take the team award so we didn’t leave empty handed. The following week it was back to South Wales for the British Time Trial Championships, and the main contenders were same riders who competed for the 25 with the addition of Dan Mclay who was on very strong run of form and no doubt hoped to add to his road champion’s jersey. I rode the course the day before and felt very comfortable so my confidence was good. However, riding at max on the day it felt so hard. Dad gave me a first time check that incorrectly put me down by some margin. I couldn’t understand it and just buried myself for the rest of the race. In truth I maintained a leading margin against all my main competitors and took a very satisfying win to round off my season, and my junior career in the UK. My final race was the Keizer in Koksijde, Belgium, and with a TT stage there was just one opportunity to wear the British jersey. It was a bit of a shock to discover that there was a significant UCI fine for failing to do so, and we only just made the frantic rush to get one made up in time.

In GB champion jersey on the starting ramp - Keizer der Juniors, Koksijde

Thank You
I have been very lucky to have the coaching and guidance of people like Bob Downs (who raced against my uncle and JD, and probably a few other senior Hemel clubmen too) Steve China and, and of course Gavin Atkins who has advised me throughout and continues to provide invaluable help with my training and fitness. I owe so much of the success I have had so far to these guys, and of course all those club members like John Dowling and Paul Thompson who organise and help put on racing events to make the sport happen. Thanks for all your help.

Looking back it has been a great year in which my knowledge, development and enjoyment of racing has progressed to a point where I really want to see if I can make a go of aiming for the professional ranks… well I can try at least. The obvious and well tried route is Belgium, and since I had a few wins and placings there it was quite easy to secure a team, VL Technics Abutriek - , where I will be joining a few other first-year u23s and some more experienced riders. My journey starts with a training camp in Majorca and then we get stuck into racing. You can keep up to date with my season by visiting my blog at my uncle Roger’s French website - .


28.02.10 Kuurnse Leieomloop, BELGIUM: Conor Dunne 19th.
07.03.10 De Klijte, BELGIUM: Conor Dunne 7th
14.03.10 Jock Wadley Memorial (E12) Conor Dunne 27th
21.03.10 Cadence RR (Nat Jun RR Series) Tom Moses 1st, Conor Dunne 12th.
28.03.10 Werken, BELGIUM: Conor Dunne 2nd, Tom Moses 4th, Al Murison 7th.
04.04.10 Erpe, BELGIUM: Conor Dunne 1st, Tom Moses 4th, Al Murison 7th.
05.04.10 Bill Temme Memorial (E12) Tom Moses 3rd, Conor Dunne 9th.
10.04.10 East London Velo Rumble (E12) Conor Dunne 6th, Jim Lewis 12th, Al Murison 15th.
11.04.10 Glade CC & Hainault RC RR (E12) Conor Dunne 19th
18.04.10 Somerset RR (Nat Jun RR Series) Tom Moses 4th, Conor Dunne 9th, Al Murison 11th.
01.05.10 Zonnebeke, BELGIUM Tom Moses 1st, Conor Dunne 2nd, Al Murison 3rd
03.05.10 Ixworth Mayday Crits Conor Dunne 1st, Al Murison 2nd, Tom Moses 3rd,
09.05.10 John May Mem RR (E123) Tom Moses 3rd, Conor Dunne 4th.
16.05.10 National Junior RR Championship Conor Dunne 5th, Paul Young 17th.
23.05.10 National Junior 10m TT Champs Conor Dunne 2nd 20-35, Al Murison 4th 20-56
05.06.10 National Junior 25m TT Champs Conor Dunne 1st 54.08 (PB). (Report).
1st Team: Glendene CC 1-3-49.
12.06.10 Zedelgem, BELGIUM Tom Moses 1st, Conor Dunne 2nd, Paul Young 21st
13.06.10 Haringe-Roesbrugge, BELGIUM Tom Moses 1st, Conor Dunne 2nd
03.07.10 Ichtegem, BELGIUM: Tom Moses 4th, Conor Dunne 11th
04.07.10 Zandvoorde-Zonnebeke, BELGIUM Tom Moses 3rd, Conor Dunne 11th
09/12.07.10 Sint-Martinusprijs Kontich BELGIUM – UCI 2.1
09.07.10 Stage 1 (ITT) Conor Dunne 16th
10.07.10 Stage 2 Conor Dunne 9th
11.07.10 Stage 3a (TTT) Conor Dunne 4th
11.07.10 Stage 3b Conor Dunne 71st
12.07.10Stage 4 Conor Dunne 35th
12.07.10 General Classification Conor Dunne 9th
25.07.10 Bath Rd RR (Nat Jun RR Series) Tom Moses 1st, Conor Dunne 6th, Al Murison 8th
Glendene CC 1st Team.
15.08.10 Lauwe, BELGIUM: Conor Dunne 1st, Tom Moses 2nd.
28/30.08.10 Junior Tour of Wales International 3 Day Stage Race (Nat Jun RR Series):
28.08 10 Prologue TT: Conor Dunne 7th 12-13, Tom Moses 12th 12-31.
28.08.10 Stage 2: Conor Dunne 5th, Paul Young 11th, Tom Moses 22nd, Al Murison 87th.
29.08.10 Stage 3: Tom Moses 5th, Conor Dunne 8th, Paul Young 20th, Al Murison 35th
29.08.10 Stage 4: Tom Moses 2nd, Conor Dunne 18th, Al Murison 29th, Paul Young 31st
30.08.10 Stage 5: Paul Young 7th,Tom Moses 17th, Al Murison 21st, Conor Dunne 24th
Final Overall Classification: Tom Moses 6th, Conor Dunne 11th, Paul Young 17th, Al Murison 63rd
Glendene CC 1st Team (TM/CD/PY)
05.09.10 British Circuit Junior TT Champs Conor Dunne 1st (44-02), Al Murison 11th
18/19.09.10 Keizer der Juniores, Koksijde BELGIUM – UCI 2.1
18.09.10 Stage 1 - Ieper – Ieper Conor Dunne 55th
19.09.10 Stage 2a (ITT) - Wulpen – Wulpen Conor Dunne 8th
19.09.10 Stage 2b - Koksijde – Koksijde Conor Dunne 36th
19.09.10 General Classification Conor Dunne 13th
National Junior Road Race Series 2010 - Final Standings.
2nd Overall Tom Moses 261 points
12th Overall Conor Dunne 89 points
15th Overall Al Murison 77 points
39th Overall Paul Young 8 points

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Ian Huntingford
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Joined: Mon Sep 25, 2006 7:48 pm
Location: Hemel Hempstead

Re: Conor's 2010 Season

Postby Ian Huntingford » Fri Mar 25, 2011 2:36 pm

Thanks for an excellent, really interesting report, Conor.

Many congratulations on your superb progress to date and best wishes for the next step with VL Technics Abutriek.


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