Brought to you by James coach, Trainsharp.
James Shaw yet again showed he is one of the most promising Under 23 riders in the world with a superb 5th place in the Under 23 edition of the world famous Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
James writes … My season started out with some promising performances starting with 6th in Brussels Opwijk and then Tour de Normandie finishing 10th overall and 4th Under 25. These performances meant I was feeling confident going into Liege Bastogne Liege (Under 23 Edition).
The race was an aim of mine as it’s such an iconic race with the pro race being the oldest race on the pro calendar starting in 1892. The Under 23 race includes the famous climbs such as ‘La Redoute’ and ‘Cote du San Nicolas’. I did a recce of the last 100km of the race with my team and it added a bit more confidence as I felt the parcour suited me.
In a way it reminded me of my home training ground Derbyshire. It was a tough terrain with terrible weather and usually these conditions favour my riding style.
Above; entering the final lap on the Velodrome in Liege. (photo credit Anne Renoutte)
Race day – 8:30am breakfast
Having had a fairly long lie in, ideal on race days, I woke up to poor weather conditions in South Belgium. Knowing it was going to be a long day out (176km), I had a big breakfast starting with race day porridge, cheese and jam sandwich, bowl of rice and plenty of typically French coffee.
Race start – 12:15
Just as the race started, ironically the heavens opened. In hindsight, I made a poor judgment on clothing having started in only my race suit, no extras. We started the race with a strong race plan, tactically sound so we just needed to execute it perfectly.
A break of 12 went up the road with a team mate, Emiel Plankaert included. It gained a maximim of five minuteS however began to split towards the finish. I saw the danger of the break staying away so jumped my group and bridged the gap. Unfortunately I reacted too late and only joined the front group with 3km to go. At this point, the 1st and 2nd place riders were already up the road so I was now racing for 3rd.
At the velodrome with just a lap and a half to go, I could see that everyone was very fatigued and in the sprint, I was forced to go early but just didn’t have the legs to hold them off, so finished 5th. Overall I am happy with my performance in the race and happy with the form going into Tour de Bretagne starting on 25th April.
500 meters to go thinking about opening up the sprint. (photo credit Bede Geoghegan Hart)
5. James Shaw, Lotto Soudal
13. Jake Kelly, Wiggins
19. Tao Geoghegen Hart, Axeon
25. Scott Davies, Wiggins
45. Dan Pearson, Wiggins
79. Michael Thompson, Wiggins