Daniel Fleeman ended his 2009 road race season with the Cervelo team at the Tour of Lombardy but his final race of the season will be a much shorter blast in the hill climb national championships near Sheffield on Sunday.
“I’ve always wanted to do it but it’s always been right at the end of a long season,’ Fleeman told Cycling Weekly.
“I haven’t done any training for it and I’m just going to turn up and ride. It’s a short blast at 20 per cent and so it should suit me.”
Fleeman was the only British rider to finish the Tour of Lombardy. He made the split over the top of the Ghisallo but then lost contact on the Civiglio climb. He finished 2-53 behind winner Philippe Gilbert (Silence-Lotto).
“It was my first Lombardy and so I’m pleased with how I went. I haven’t raced that much recently and so wasn’t sure how I was going but I did some long training rides and rested up for it so I was fresh,” he said.
“I was fine on the Ghisallo. Some people were getting dropped but I was okay. Then when 25 went clear when Cadel Evans attacked on the next climb and unfortunately I didn’t have the legs to follow them.”
Difficult first season with Cervelo
Fleeman has had a difficult first season with the Cervelo Test Team. He showed he could win professional races in 2008 when he took the Tour of the Pyrenees but his 2009 season has been disrupted by injury and especially a broken wrist in the spring that needed an operation.
“It’s been an up and down season, and mostly down but it’s nice to bounce back and finish the season well,” he told Cycling Weekly.
“If I’d finished with an injury problem, then it would have affected my winter and carried on into next year. I’m still not at the level I know I can be but I’m at a decent level of fitness so that I can rest up and then build up for next season.”
“I made some mistakes this year. I started training like a mad man last October and I think I did too much. Because I was stepping up a level, I was training and training and I think I went too far. I started the season a little tired and things started to build up. I got on top of things but then I broke my wrist and after that I was chasing my tail all year.”
Future in the balance
Fleeman still does not know if he will have a place at Cervelo in 2010 but fortunately has been contacted by another important Professional Continental team.
Surprisingly, Fleeman has so far been overlooked by Team Sky.
The new ProTour team said 50 per cent of the 25-rider team would be British but so far has only signed half a dozen Brits.
“If Dave Brailsford gave me a ring, I’d be over the moon. We spoke a couple of times during the year but then things went quiet,” Fleeman said.
“I’d love to ride for Sky but hopefully my other options will work out okay. Despite all the problems, I know I can ride at this level.”