James Fouche has his eyes set on the World Road Championships coming up, and he will get a big hit out at the OVO Energy Tour of Britain to warm up for it.  We caught up with the reigning national road race and U23 time trial to talk more about what’s ahead in Yorkshire.

It’s been very much on the mind of Fouche, the prospect of taking on the Yorkshire World Championships, and despite a minor set back in health a few weeks ago he’s primed and ready for a shot at a World Championships since 2016. 

“Yorkshire has been a big goal of mine for the year so looking forward to it. Last few weeks have been ok. I was a bit ill a few weeks ago but fully over that now and back racing in Belgium at the moment. I feel I have the best build up possible for it with these races I have been doing in Belgium and Tour of Britain next week. Then the work has been done and I can just tick along until worlds and see what comes of it.”

In the individual time trial and road race – both of which Fouche is competing in – the courses are noted for their hilly nature.  The individual time trial from Ripon to Harrogate features three climbs plus a tricky uphill finish over the course of 30km.  The road race starts steadily from Doncaster but then takes in plenty of climbing including three tough laps of the Harrogate circuit.  Somewhat similar to a typical NZ National Championship race, Fouche anticipates an attritional road race.

“I rode the road race course in one of the stages of Tour of Yorkshire at the start of the year.  It’s a fairly technical and hard course.  A few short climbs on the circuit, not too long but pretty steep.  I feel it will be a wearing down process and the strongest riders will battle it out for the last few laps. The TT is also savage from what I’ve heard.  Rough roads, 2 steep climbs.  It should be very interesting,” Fouche said.

Fouche’s 2019 has by many accounts been a very good one.  A look at the results sheet – that features six top ten results and three KOM triumphs – would be satisfactory by many riders’ standards.  But there’s been a nagging point that’s been just pressing and so far Fouche has not been able to put that point to bed.  “2019 has definitely been full of ups and downs. The first half of the year went well with a few decent results but still never managed to get the hands in the air which was bugging me a bit,” Fouche revealed. 

“The crash in Paris-Roubaix set me back a bit but I believe has ultimately been a good thing for the Yorkshire Worlds by having a bit of a break back in June. My main goal for the year was to put my name in front of teams for the future. The stagiaire with Mitchelton-Scott has been a big help and shows I have somewhat accomplished my goal for the year. Although getting a European win would be a cherry on the cake.”

It’s been three years since Fouche rode the World Championships in Doha, a completely different challenge to what he will be up against this time around in the UK.  We wanted to know how much of that Doha experience in 2016 he will be drawing on this time around.  “I feel the racing at Yorkshire won’t be too different to what I have been doing all year.  I know most of the other riders and who’s on form and what not, whereas in Doha I really didn’t have a clue about anyone I had raced apart from a few of the Australian boys. CNZ always have a great setup with staff and logistics so I’m looking forward to being a part of their setup with Paul [Wright] and Ethan [Batt] by my side.”

The UCI World Road Championships kick off on 22nd September and run through until the 27th.

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