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Racing with Zappi-Planet X: Back for Nationals


Seb Bayliss reports after his early season of racing in Italy with the Zappi Racing team. He updates us on his time in Italy and his aims for the coming weeks back in the UK for the National Championship.

I’m sat in the comfort of my living room while rain lashes against the windows. I didn’t think I’d say it, but I miss Cervia. Well, I miss the Italian weather anyway!

It’s been a great few months. So much has happened that leaving for Italy in the Zappi’s convoy feels like last year. The journey down to Italy from the UK was the first time I had been to Luxembourg, Switzerland and Italy. A whistle stop tour of the service stations in each has left me with a few impressions: Luxembourg has really nice IKEAs, Switzerland is expensive (but beautiful) and Italy has certainly lived up to expectations.

The racing is tough

The first race weekend before heading down to our accommodation included two of the biggest Under-23 races of the year. Unfortunately, I was ill, so started Riccotto (the second race) far from being on top of my game. The racing was tough; it was a real adjustment from being at the forefront of races to fighting my way around. After finishing the race we made our way down to our permanent base in Cervia. There are a lot of stories about this, uh, place. But when you’ve got a solid group of likeminded team mates and a good training regime these things are irrelevant. We’re here because we want to be the best versions of ourselves, not for a holiday.

Over the coming weeks we became consistently stronger as a unit. The racing changed from clinging on to dear life to attacking and getting close to the podium. We even had the good fortune of living close to Manuel Senni from BMC racing, who has pushed us hard on the climbs and offered plenty of advice. His brother popped round midweek to show us how to apply bar tape to our Planet X RT-80s (below). I’m not one to brag about my taping skills, but I did come out on top.

The RT-80 scores very highly in Cycling Weekly here


It wasn’t all about learning race craft and bike mechanics though. Flavio managed to set up Italian lessons once a week with a local organisation. The lessons helped us a lot. That said, the Italian 'pick up' lines never came in particularly useful.

Once we settled into a rhythm things progressively got better. We have been getting regular top 20 results, which isn’t too shabby when your racing guys who are going World Tour next season.

Looking for something special

I’ve had the task of getting into the breakaways after my early season performances. It hasn’t been easy but it’s been gratifying and I have had to learn fast. I have continued this task for the team in France, which has been painful, so I am hoping for some form for the Beaumont Trophy (UCI 1.2 race) and the National Championships at the end of June (where Seb competes in the Under-23 category within the main elite race – Ed).

I feel like we are on the cusp of something special. 

Ciao,
Sebastian.


After the Nationals the team will return to Italy for more racing.

16 June 2016