James Fouche is back for the spring classics campaign and the newly crowned New Zealand national road and U23 time trial champion had his first outing toughing it out at Le Samyn. Afterwards we got to catch up with him.
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RC: First of all welcome to the Belgian spring classics season, your first one-day race of the season since Nationals. How much have you been looking forward to getting back into this environment and this part of the season with Team Wiggins Le Col?
James: I’ve been chomping at the bit to get back to racing. I have been put in more of a leadership role this season for a couple of races which has been a huge learning curve for me and means I can try and crack a few results for myself.
RC: You’ve had a quieter build up to the international season compared to a number of other Kiwis, with a whole month away from road racing before the Tour Antalya and your KOM win there; although you’ve been involved in Zwift racing over the summer. Has the quieter approach been deliberate on yours and the team’s part and what has the last couple of months since your national title wins looked like for you?
James: Tour of Antalya was my first road race back this season, as the team didn’t have any races really early which has been good as I can prepare for what’s ahead. I feel I cooked myself a bit towards the end of last year so came into the season fresher and with a set race schedule up until July. It’s nice knowing what’s ahead and easy to motivate myself. I’ve you’ve got a sick races coming in the next few weeks. Having said that our team has been racing the Zwift Super League. I raced a couple of them before heading over which was good but a very rude start to the day for me!
RC: Talk us through racing today at Le Samyn, it looks like it was a race that had plenty of aggression from the field and wasn’t the easiest to control.
James: Le Samyn has probably been one of the hardest races I’ve done. Positioning was pretty bad coming into the first cobble section but pulled my way back to the front group fairly fast and then on the final lap I couldn’t follow the big hitters over the cobbles. But was fairly happy with how it went.
RC: What are your goals heading into the 2019 European season?
James: My goals and races I’m going to be targeting throughout the season will be U23 Tour of Flanders at the end of the month. Then a 2 week period at the end of May that include the U23 Paris Roubaix and U23 Giro d’Italia. Final goal will be Worlds in Yorkshire which hopefully I’m going good for.