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Big goals for big Jason Allen
Mar 24th, 11. 29 year old Jason Allen won two titles at the NZ Track Nationals last month and this weekend he won his first road tour - he's on the road to success, Olympic success, he hopes.
Allen now has 13 national titles, an Oceania title, two Track World Cup gold medals and has represented New Zealand at the Commonwealth Games.
For the last couple of seasons he has had his sights set on London 2012 and has been racing the road and track to prepare.
Last weekend the Christchurch rider was down in Dunedin for the R&R Tour with his road team Subway Pro Cycling.
The 1.96m rider is used to defending road tours, but he is usually the one defending his leader, not the rider being protected.
However, thanks to a four rider winning break on Stage 1, and a stomping time trial on Stage 2, he found himself in the yellow leader's jersey.
With great support from his teammates, he stayed in yellow for the final three stages to be crowned the R&R Tour winner for 2011.
"I'm normally the one on the front doing all the donkey work for others, so it was very bizzare sitting in the wheels behind the boys while they slogged it out, not something I'm used to at all!" Allen told RoadCycling.co.nz
"Winning the tour was a really mint feeling, something I've never experienced before in a multi day event so it was pretty cool to tick it off the list!"
In the opening stage Allen, along with Gordon McCauley, bridged up to Mark Spessot and Subway teammate Dillon Bennett. The foursome worked well together and finished 2min ahead of the peloton.
"When I started the TT I wasn't thinking about yellow at all, I was just focused on trying to catch the guy that started 30sec in front of me, and went from there. You can never count out Gordy in a TT, or any sort of race for that matter, so it was a pretty nervy last three stages after I got the lead."
Allen won the 5km time trial by 7sec, with McCauley, the next best rider from Stage 1's break, by 31sec.
From track to road
Before the Dunedin tour, Allen had had a break off the bike. After racing the OCBC Criterium in Singapore, he worked ten days straight, and only had two roller sessions in the legs, plus one Leeston race, so wasn't surprised to find his body in a bit of shock when he started the tour.
"The training I did up until track nationals was still in the legs, and I managed to get through it all right," he said. "I think the track form definitely helped for the TT, I felt pretty good in that, which was surprising as in the morning stage just before it I was down the back having a bit of a spew!"
From road to the Olympic track
With the London Olympics now just 16 months away, everything Allen does is geared towards proving he should be in the New Zealand track team.
"I can only keep on doing what I'm doing. Winning four medals at the track nationals hopefully would have helped me get an invite to a big training camp in Invercargill in October, where everyone will be."
To progress from there, Allen says he will have to be going the best he has ever gone.
"I believe that if I can make it down to the camp in October, then everything is up to play for again, and I believe I have the goods to make it back in the team. I just need to make sure I do everything 100% between now and then.
"I got a lot of confidence in myself after the track nationals, winning the pursuit and scratch race in about 25min of each other was massive for me, and I think I took that confidence into the tour on the weekend, so here's hoping it continues!!
"At the moment we have the Tour of Korea coming up in three weeks, which will be a big race for us. Then I think a few of us will be looking to head to the States to get some crits in the legs!" he said of his road plans with Subway.
Allen is not the only track star racing for Subway this year. He is enjoying racing with track stars Westley Gough and Peter Latham, but they were not the only attraction to the team.
"Having Wes and Pete on the team is awesome, as I've spent quite a lot of time away with both of them over the years so it's great to be teammates with them on a road team. But the team in general has a lot of good buggers on it this year like Ian Smallman, Nick Lovegrove, Matt Gorter,Horgan etc, the kind of guys you can sit down and talk about anything else but cycling over dinner when you are away.
"You need to be able to disengage like that on big trips and the boys on the team are great at doing that, not just talking cycling 100% of the time which can drive you a bit batty!"
He might want to disengage when he is off the bike, but whether it's his track bike, road bike or time trial bike, when Allen saddles up, he means business.
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