Aaron Gate is quite familiar with the An Post Ras, as one would expect for a rider who races on An Post-Chain Reaction. However, this year, things are a little bit different.
For although Gate is racing as a member of his trade team, he finds himself surrounded by the rest of his track endurance squad team mates as well, as they all work to sharpen their form ahead of the Rio Olympics. Gate has also found that having the Olympics on the horizon has changed his mental approach to the race.
“One thing with Rio in mind is the risk factor in the bunch. For example, maybe giving the wheel in front away from time to time in favour of making sure to stay up right. By all means [I am] still here to race hard though and help get results for the team where I can,” he said.
He has certainly been doing that, putting in some hard work for his team to try and bring back the break on stage two, while hanging on for a top ten finish. “Today was another fast start with many attacks and chases early on. With the continental level teams all marking each other it seems to be up to the county riders to be the ones finally able to slip away. The two of them just held onto their lead in impressive fashion and I was leading out two of my Belgian team mates who were fourth and fifth in the stage with one Dane sneaking over them, whilst I held on for 8th,” said Gate.
He is certainly enjoying having so many of his fellow Kiwis in the race, saying that it is almost like an extra team there. In spite of that, it is certainly not a case of split loyalties for the Rio hopeful, with Gate’s focus firmly on working for his An Post-Chain Reaction team. “We are racing for stage wins with An Post Chain Reaction so it will be nice to try and contribute to at least one of those,” he said.