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Young Hope Flying the Planet X Flag

Welsh cycling prodigy Sam Harrison is one of Planet X's brightest young stars. He's proving himself to be a handy all rounder on the international circuit and hasn't even left school yet. Good going. Here's his account of adventures in Germany:  

Yet another international junior race done and dusted, a 4 day smash fest around the hills of Germany. This time though iv returned with no battle scars! Which takes some doing when you’re riding down descents at 80k an hour bouncing off Kazaks and Russians. After the 4 days of carnage I ended in 11th overall, 17th on 2 stages, 8th in the time trial, and 2nd in both the King of the Mountains and Sprints Competitions.

With 24 Countries sending teams of 6, including the USA, South Africa, Japan, and all the usual European countries like Italy and Russia it wasn’t going to be easy! The first day was 110km and involved 3 laps of a small loop with a 3k berg and a cobbled climb each time and another 3 of a bigger loop with a 5k climb. As usual the race set off like there was a pot of gold for the first rider to be at the front in the first 10k, and as usual there were people flying over pavements and bouncing down ditches just to try to get to the front of the bunch.



Somehow managing to stay near the front after 20k I attacked and got away with team mate and british champ Dan Mclay, along with an Italian and a German. After 10k of chewing stem, made nicer since I had the stylish planet x alloy stem on, we had a minute over the bunch and were fast approaching the 5k climb with 50k to go. Setting the tempo on the front from the bottom I rode away from my break away companions, the new nanolight felt unbelievable and really does bring massive advantages when riding at a level where one mistake can cost you 50 places! By the top of the climb and the KoM sprint I was solo with a minute to my former breakaway and a minute 30 to the bunch. I stayed out front till 20k to go where I was caught and hung on to finish in the second group 40 seconds behind the front group. I was gutted not to be in the KoM jersey after my efforts and missed out by just 1 point.

But no time to feel sorry for myself as we were set for another 110km of racing the next day. All still to play for being 2nd in both the sprints and KoM, and still only 41 seconds off yellow. Just as hilly as the day before, it started with a 7k neutralized descent!! Carnage to say the least, navigating the corners made easier by the awesome handling of the nanolight though and keeping position was easier. The race was on all day, I got away half way through winning a KoM prime along with 2nd in a sprint. This turned out to be a good move as 20 people rode across and it finished in a big sprint where I finished 17th, but moved up to 16th on GC. And once again was in 2nd in both sprints and KoM jersey, good job the GB jerseys are nice ey!
 
The third day was a split day, with a 10k tt in the morning and a 100k road stage in the evening. It was going to be tough! Having just received a lovely new planet x pro carbon TT bike I was super motivated knowing I had everything I needed to do a good ride (apart from any form of muscle on my stick like legs!). after a savage warm up I was soon risking my life around the corners on the descent down into the town, and on the flat was hovering around 50k an hour giving it everything. The last 2k were uphill so stem chewing was again on the agenda! Hanging on all the way up to finish 8th, just 16 seconds down on the winner. Leaving me 11th on GC.

No rest though as it was straight into the road stage. Surprisingly I felt real good, and sat in 10th wheel eating bars for most of the day as the yanks set the tempo up the climbs. With the last 30k being pan flat it wasn’t the best day to gain time back, despite this I gave it a big attack with 15k to go but the Italians seemed to have caught on to my solo moves and scrambled straight to me. So I sat back and cruised in on my white machine finishing on the same time, 11th on GC 1 min 13 down, so I was in for a big last day!
 
120km, 6 laps, 2 x 4k climb each lap, it was definitely hard enough to gain time back! The legs were good in the morning so the pressure was on. after 2 laps my team mate and fellow Welsh man Owain Doull was up the road in a group of 10, seeing the opportunity I attacked up the climb and after a few risks on the descent I got across. Being a big group not many were working so thinking I was the boss I got Doull to ride to push out the gap. He did an awesome job taking the gap out to a minute 30, and only 2 of the break were in front of me on GC so this put me third on the road. However the break stopped working and Doull not being a robot could no longer keep dragging 20 others around so the attacks started. 3 Germans got away with 3 others and I had to ride hard to get across, once again grinding my chin against my stem! So 2 laps to go it was, we still had a minute 20, with 3 Germans riding in the break it was looking good.

But once again no one seems to understand that if you ride together you can go faster so I attacked solo, taking 2 sprints and a KoM sprint on my mission to win the race! However the yanks were organised and the gap was tumbling down, with a lap to go the group came back to me and just 20 seconds behind were the bunch. With 8k to go we were reeled in by the bunch, now only 30 strong! With nothing left I hung in over the climb and despite trying to sprint, after a day out front it was more like a rather slow wobble. So 17th it was for the day, finishing 11th on GC, 2nd in the KoM and after taking 2 sprints and a 2nd in another I was 2nd in the points. Pretty annoying to miss out on the top 10 or a jersey, but I finished with nothing and pulled out all the stops to try and win on the last day, so I had no regrets. And as it sunk in I realised I had no battle scars! And the Sparkling white Nanolight was still its beautiful self, TIDY.

Thanks for reading, before you say I know it is pretty epic and I dragged on for a fair while. That’s enough for me living the dream now though as I have my A level exams coming up, so its bye bye bikes and hello books for the next 2 weeks, Bad Times!

11 June 2010

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