“It was pretty dismal preparation,” says Tasman Nankervis of the run into his first UCI Gravel World Series race victory at SEVEN in Nannup, Western Australia. Flying into Perth on Thursday to find that the airline hadn’t brought his bike along for the ride made sure of that, particularly when numerous delays to the promised quick delivery spiralled into a last minute dash to the airport to retrieve it just in time for race day.
That lost bike led to a whole lot of entries that fit squarely into the ‘do not do’ column on the race preparation table. That included a race eve 6 hour return trip to collect the bike, a service station food pre-race dinner on the way, then a late night rebuild and just 3-4 hours of disrupted sleep.
But none of it showed once the BMC Shimano rider was out on the remote gravel roads of the Blackwood Valley. Somehow it turned out to be the lead-in of a race winner
“I still wanted to do well. I didn’t ever write it off or anything. I’ve slept poorly the night before other races before and still performed pretty well,” said the multi-discipline rider who works as an exercise physiologist in country Victoria. “I think it is those days leading in that are the most important so I just kept my head screwed on, made sure I was as prepared as I could be and I definitely took a conservative approach to the start of the race.”
Nankervis felt like he had form on his side, having increased his training load toward some big goals this season, with the Nannup race just being the gravel entree for the LIfe Time Grand Prix series, which the Australian will jump into at Unbound. However, the disruption with his bike not turning up was far from ideal when tackling a competitive field over a 125km course with more than 3,200m of vertical ascent.
Most of Nankervis’ rivals were setting out into much more familiar territory on race day, some having ridden the event last year while others had time to check out the course pre-race. However, the lost bike also meant skipping reconnaissance making it a complete leap into the unknown for Nankervis on his Nannup debut. Under those circumstances, watching and waiting in the initial stages seemed like the way to go.
Sill, before many hours of racing ticked by Nankervis started to show just what a threat he was, coming to the front on the descents and giving the rest of the lead group of around 15 some ground to make up once the road flattened out.
“I know that with my background descending is…
Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at CyclingNews RSS Feed…