South African teenager Damon Fouchee will rely on valuable recent international experience when he participates in the UCI Road World Championships to be held in Yorkshire, Great Britain, from Sunday till September 29.
The 18-year-old, who achieved sixth place overall in the Vuelta Ciclista a Valladolid in Spain recently, said even though this would be his first road world champs he was fortunate to have been able to race in Europe.
“I raced against some of the top juniors in Spain and France and know what to expect in the race that lies ahead,” said Fouchee, who has been included in the junior men’s contingent of the national team.
“I’m very excited for the world champs but I’m also anxious knowing I’ll face the best junior riders in the world.”
He added that the late selection process had made it difficult for him to start training early and doing specific preparation. But he felt his form was good after his five-week overseas stint where he managed podium results in Spain, Belgium and France.
“I’m still motivated and positive about my form at the moment. No matter what the outcome will be, I know I’ll give my best and that’s all I can do.”
Fouchee, who will compete in the individual time-trial on the 23rd and the road race on the 26th, felt competing in worlds was a catch-22 situation.
“It’s a high-stakes race. You have one race and one single stage to make nothing but the correct moves, as well as make or follow the correct breaks with no room to recover from mistakes.
“A good result at worlds always enhances opportunities career-wise. Personally, it’s a great challenge to measure myself on such a huge platform.”
He knew that racing against the top riders in the world would make for a difficult and tough level of racing.
“The bunch is bigger than what we are used to here in SA so settling strategically into it probably would be the first strategy.
“It’s a tough route and ignoring the wrong breaks will be more critical than following the right ones.
“It’s going to be a lengthy game of quick chess whilst exercising patience at an average heartbeat of around 180bpm.”
Fouchee’s goal is to be visible and make himself count during the race while chasing the best result possible.
“I also hope to build on where I left Europe. I’ll be racing against a few of the same riders I faced there and I’m looking forward to competing on this level.”
He felt worlds was ideal preparation for him before he heads back to Europe next year to pursue a full-time cycling career.
“A good result will fast-track my career greatly.”