Dan Tullet – Assen Tour Overall Winner
This year was the 49th edition of the European Junior Cycling Tour Assen, which has competitors from all over the world. In my race I had the French and Dutch National Champions.
Day 1, The Prologue
This was a 1km sprint up and down the canal in the centre of Assen. I was feeling pretty good but only managed 4th, but it was a close battle between the top 5 with only half a second splitting all of us.
Hungry for a win in stage 2 I was looking to try and break away, as I knew from previous races I could make it happen. Going onto the start line I was frustrated to be the first rider not to be in a jersey, but this was only going to get me more motivated. The course was a long-ish crit in the centre of a housing estate, with plenty of tight turns of which some were cobbled.
As we rolled onto the start line it began to rain which is what I was begging for. The race started at such a high pace, and as I took my turn on the second lap going into the bottom corner. I took it at such a speed that only 2 others held the wheel, this was where the initial break started. As I continued on the front still unaware I was away I looked back and saw a small gap had opened. I said to the other two to keep it going, but they weren’t willing to take on the attack. As I shot through to stop the peloton catching us I managed to ride the others off my wheel. It was from here that I started my 20 mile solo break . With still 13 laps to go I had just a small 16 second lead, but I still kept believing I could do it. Then when the rain began to fall harder , I just dug deeper and extended my lead to around 30 seconds. By the finish, also along the way taking with me all the sprints and primes putting me in all the jerseys going into the next day.
Day 3, The Classic
This stage mainly consisted of closed roads and the occasional pave section. Going into this race on a high from the day before I was determined not to let any of them faze me, but I was made to work to keep my jersey. With continuous attacks and me being made to chase down every one of them. Going into the final few kilometres I knew the roads pretty well from previous years, I tried to keep the pace so high that it would be impossible for anyone to attack, and it seemed to work, with the bunch settling for a sprint finish, going into the last few tight corners I was laying probably too far back, around 4th or 5th wheel. I let a small gap go and going into the final straight I quickly rushed into it and out of the slipstream and sprinted for the line. Flying past the others I won by a comfortable margin now with a 35 second lead going into the fourth stage.
Stage 4, Individual TT
On this stage last year I extended my lead by a massive 25 seconds, but this year the competition was harder, so i was only looking to defend it and limit my losses. I was feeling pretty tired going into the race, but still felt that I had a chance of doing a ride. Finishing in second I was happy to settle for that, but 10 seconds down was not good, however my lead had extended overall to 40 seconds.
Stage 5, Kosteviles
This was a road race around a small village, it has a small strip of rough cobbles just after the finish with the finish being on a rough set of pave. This race I had to get right, after losing the youth tour on it just 2 years ago in the blistering heat. But today was the same conditions… 41 degrees was not enjoyable.
Yet again, I was made to chase down every break that went but I felt a little worse today, considering the heat and conditions. Luckily My Dad was handing bottles up to me every lap, in which I could try and cool myself down with. I’m pretty pleased with myself, being able to grab a bottle whilst travelling at 30 mph ! Managing to win one of the green jersey sprints, and finishing up there in the others meant I had held onto my lead . I was happy to just roll in with the bunch because all I had to do was finish the next two stages in order to hold my lead, but this obviously wasn’t enough for me. Being well up at the front in the sprint the French champion came bashing past me and got a small gap but this only got me angrier. Then I found something else to give and came past him to take the win on the line!
Stage 6, Pave crit around campsite
This was the only stage of the youth tour which I have never won, and I will have to wait another year to get my chance. By this point everybody knew that it was over, nobody was willing to let anybody go and the pace was just kept at a moderate speed. Again I managed to take the green jersey sprints, only extending my lead from second ! The finish did not go my way being again too far back and when I tried to make my way forward going through the last corner, my only way through was to be shut down when someone took the corner so baldy i had to slam the anchors on and regain momentum. I still I knew I could sprint quicker than everybody, as I still managed to take 5th on the stage winning GC with a 50 second lead !
I would like to thank all my sponsors for their continued support this year, its turning out to be a dream season.
Thanks to Dawn Fry for the amazing photos.