Peloton Watch
  Sophie Capewell: Alkmaar International Contest 2016  
  January 30th 2016 By Sophie Capewell @SophieECapewell  
  After competing at two rounds of the Revolution Series and the International Belgian Xmas Meeting at the end of 2015 rising British sprinter Sophie Capewell lined in Alkmaar, the Netherlands January 9-10 for the annual junior international contest.

Following the keirin win at the International Belgian Xmas Meeting Capewell headed in as a favourite for the sprint events. The two day event offered Capewell another chance to compete against her main competition ahead of the 2016 season, her last as a junior.

Race Day 1 - Sprint

Today I wasn't overly pleased with my qualifying, in fact I felt as though I did a faster warm up jump than qualifying. However I cannot read too much into the times as it was hand timed and so we do not know whether it was accurate or not. I qualified second.

The sprints were set out as a sprint ladder, consisting of heats of 3-up sprints with the winner progressing to the next 'rung' and the looser moving down, the second place rider stayed where they were.

Because I qualified in second, I was in the top heat with a Czech rider Sara Kankovska, and a French girl Mathilde Gros, who qualified a few tenths faster than me (the same girl who had qualified quicker than me in Gent in December.

I won all three of my races, riding from the man one position twice and from man three in the final. I was really pleased with how I rode and the biggest difference was that I was more confident in myself. You cannot take for granted how much of a difference this makes to your riding! It was a great experience to ride these races. It is invaluable to be able to race abroad against other riders of your standard and above.

This along with gaining more experience by racing more is the thing I feel was missing last year and something my coach and I are trying to change this year. So far it has been successful with this being my fourth competition since the new cycling year riding international riders who have qualified quicker than I did.

Overall, it was a good day!

Race Day 2 - Team Sprint, Keirin and 500m TT

Today was a busy day!

We started with the team sprint, which I was riding with Lauren Bate-Lowe. It was good but I rushed the gap too aggressively and quickly. It should have been a more progressive acceleration as I overestimated Lauren's speed. It went okay in the end. I enjoyed actually being able to ride a team sprint with other sprinters, even though riding with Ellie Dickinson at the Euros last year was great! I actually have some female teammates, which adds a new dynamic! My team came out on top! It will be interesting to see what combination of the four of us will be the fastest!

Moving on to the keirin, it was one race dependent on the sprint qualifying so the ridders who qualified seventh plus all raced for places seventh onwards and the fastest six for places 1 to 6. The keirin was a bit disappointing. First of all I didn't get into the top three behind the bike and was behind Mathilde Gros.

I was in two minds whether to be patient and wait for the right time to attack or take it on which I did as soon as the bell went, but I over anticipated the speed a bit I think. It was alright because I held my speed and didn't slow down but then I did a little too much through turn 1 & 2 into the last lap when I should have just let Kankovska just get her shoulder in front then come back underneath and so Gros just rolled me on the line. I knew what I should have done as soon as I came off which is always frustrating. It was a long sprint. I also feel as though I am missing a bit of length at the moment.

The 500m TT was alright but I knew I messed up my start as soon as I left the gate and it just went downhill from there because I died off in the effort.

Overall I had a great weekend racing and have bought a lot of things away from this event! On to the next one.

 © 2016