ONE Pro Cycling’s Tom Baylis pulled out an epic ride to finish runner up in the U23 British National Time Trial Championships. Tom, who coaches for Epic, came within a minute of taking the national title on the 22.2km course.
“Obviously I was gutted. I went there to win, and rode out of my skin to try and take the title, so to be beaten into second place was a bitter pill to swallow. In all honesty though, I was happy with my ride.”
A time-trial performance like this is testament to careful planning and preparation. Having managed 4th and 5th the last two years, the time trial is always a season goal for Tom. This year, however, he made some changes to his usual preparation. Where in previous season he has leaned towards riding weekly time trials in the build up to the big day, this year Tom decided to stay in Girona. This meant his final block of training was not interrupted by travel and he could continue to control other variables like his diet and sleep.
When he managed 3rd in the time trial in a UCI 2.1 stage race in Poland at the start of the month, it was clear Tom was on for a good ride in the nationals. So with his diet, sleep and training all in check, a week before the race, Tom went to the Isle of Man to familiarize himself with the course.
“If I could sit around 460W, and ramp it up for the final 3km then I’d be happy with my ride. I did exactly that.”
When the big day came around, Tom rode to his power schedule perfectly and averaged a whopping 47kmph. But unfortunately for Tom, he came up just short of the time of 28:20 set by the winner of the past three U23 national time-trial titles, Team Wiggins’ Scott Davies.
“Getting beaten by Scott was testament to how talented he is, rather than anything I had missed”
In the last 3 years Tom has been around 40 seconds behind Scott, which shows the two are improving at the same rate. Scott is a year older than Tom, meaning he will no longer be an U23 next year. Tom will ride with the number 1 and will be the last rider off. This means Tom will have the advantage of knowing time checks of the other riders… I know who my money’s on for the 2018 title.
National Road Race
Filled with confidence after his ride in the Time Trial two days previous, Tom lined up for the national road race with the likes of Mark Cavendish and Steve Cummings. It wasn’t long before an early break of 15 was established, including the defending champion Adam Blythe and Chris Lawless. Tom knew he had to go with the counter attack from Ian Stannard. Mark Cavendish along with Sky’s John Dibben and Owain Doull followed Stannard and Tom over to the 15 leaders. Now in the select group the race was on.
“As Dibben, Doull and Cav came, I knew that was the selection.”
As the race wore on the World Tour riders began to show their strength. When there was a split in the group Tom found himself caught on the wrong side. The front group worked well together, the gap grew and the race was gone.
“I was disappointed. I’d ridden the perfect race up until that point, to let it slip away at such a stupid moment was a huge shame. I learnt my lesson from it though, and that’s the most important thing.”
Following his week on the Isle of Man, Tom helped his team to victory in the Tour of the Reservoir where they managed a 1,2,3 on the first stage. For Tom, the next target is to make the selection for the Tour of Britain where he has his eye on the time-trial stage.
“As I’m learning and evolving as a rider, I know that this year’s Tour has the potential to be a really good showcase for me, and another massive jump for my development.”