This post has been translated from the original French. Read the original article here.
Coming 11th in the United Kingdom’s time trial championship this year for his first year in the category, and 10th overall of the Sint-Martinusprijs Kontich (international juniors) last season, the young Welshman Theo Modell, 18, is the one of the hopes of British cycling. He is also a recipient of a grant from the famous Dave Rayner Fund foundation.
Favouring his university entrance studies this year, he did not resume cycling until the end of April, just before the national championships. Arriving in France in July, he followed in the footsteps of brother Louis wearing the colors of the team Hennebont Cycling alongside Adam Pinder. The results were not long awaited with several top 5 finishes on the stages of the Finistérienne Round, sporting the shirt of best young rider currently.
Theo, why did you choose Hennebont Cyclisme in France?
Theo Modell: “Because I love France I’m only here for a few months this year because I was doing my baccalaureate until July, but so far, I’ve found the races very entertaining. There is a good level and it’s great for learning to run and the courses are usually more interesting and challenging than those in England. I like the profile in Brittany especially because it is not too hilly but difficult enough to divide a squad on the races, it also lends itself to a good training.
Thanks to The Dave Rayner Fund for covering my living expenses, it allowed me to go out for a few months and live high-level races without enormous pressure
I chose Hennebont mainly because my brother spent a few years there so I knew a little about the team and the staff. It was ideal for me this year, it may be a non-DN club with a small budget, but we have a very good schedule and thanks to the funding from the Dave Rayner Fund for living expenses, allowed me to go out for a few months and live high level races without huge pressure. Everyone in the team has welcomed me and treated well, there is a good atmosphere with everyone gets along really well. It’s great to ride in these conditions.”
What are the differences between the British and French races?
I think that the French races (or at least the ones I have done) are on the whole more difficult than the British races. In France, the general level is higher. They are faster and there are more guys who are motivated to win. The races in France seem to be well done, with attacks that last all day, which makes the races fast and hard, but also forces you to really try to run smartly as to choose the attacks to follow, and try to save the more energy for the finish circuit where there is almost always a difficult climb.”
I just want to gain experience at different levels of racing, evaluate what I need to work on and where I am.
What are your goals this year?
“For this year, I did not set any major goals because I did not really know what to expect when I tried to balance my studies and cycling.
In retrospect, I think it was a bit of a blessing because I was forced to take the first part of the season more easily and was able to keep fit for this second half season. So, in terms of goals, I just want to gain experience at different levels of racing, evaluate what I need to work on and where I am. And, I hope, get results good enough to allow me to evolve or continue with a good team that will help me evolve later. “
Your long term goals?
For now, I intend to do some professional work in the future. I’m only 18, so I gave myself a few years to do it, but I do not know exactly when and how, I’m not sure yet how to do it. “
Header photo by CHRIS UGUEN PHOTOGRAPHS