Cyclo-cross star and Team VOOM ambassador Toby Barnes has made a great start to the season and has gained selection to represent the Great Britain team at the European Champs. Toby will compete in the u23 race which will be held in s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands alongside the other European Championship races held over the weekend of November 7-8th. We caught up with Toby...
Firstly, massive congrats on your recent selection to compete at the European Champs this year! You’d already made a great start to the season with your first senior win in the National Trophy at Westmorland Showground – were you expecting a race-winning performance and how did the race play out?
Thanks, I was going into the race with the goal to win it, but obviously you don't know how strong everyone else is going to be. I got away with a couple of other u23 riders at the start then after 3 laps pressed on solo to open up a gap to the rider behind. I managed to hold the gap all the way to the finish, easing up on the final lap to avoid any mistakes and to protect my bike!
You’ve recently returned from racing internationally in Sweden, what was the event and how did you get on?
It was the Stockholm cyclocross weekend where I raced 2 elite UCI races. Saturday was a really wet race but not too muddy so still a quick course. I finished 9th which I was really happy with. Sunday’s race was much drier and even faster which seemed to suit me a bit better, finishing 7th which was a brilliant result in a strong elite UCI field.
What does a typical training week look like for you?
I usually try to do a mix of endurance rides and tough interval sessions to focus on the demands of specific race courses. In a race week it tends to be much lower volume with a focus on maintaining my form with some short intervals but nothing too tough.
What advice would you give to an aspiring junior cyclist?
Doing multiple disciplines is definitely best at a young age. It gives you a chance to try different parts of the sport and learn skills from each of them which all helps for when you might specialise in a specific discipline later on.
As you build towards (Covid pending) racing the national champs in January what will you focus on in training or what might be different to normal?
As there won’t be many races now before national champs, it will give me more time to focus on specifics leading up the nationals. It will definitely be a tough, heavy-going course so I’m going to try and prepare myself the best I can for that!
Which is your favourite National Trophy Cyclo-cross venue?
I’d have to say Bradford although it hasn’t been used for a couple of years now unfortunately. It has a brilliant mix of technical drops, off-cambers, fast sections and is great for spectators too!
Quick Fire questions and Toby's favourites…
SRAM or Shimano? Shimano
Garmin or Yahoo? Garmin
Coffee? Can’t beat a good cappuccino at a café stop!
Training camp? I haven’t been but would love to go to Calpe.
From the cafe: Chocolate cake
Zwift or get soaked outside? Zwift usually, but a wet cyclocross ride can be very fun!
Go to Pocket Rocket? Electro Energy
Most inspirational sports star whilst growing up? Bradley Wiggins
Favourite pro rider? Matthew Van der Poel
Favourite race to watch? Cyclocross World Champs
Worst crash? Concussion on a training ride after a stick got caught in my front wheel and flipped me over the handlebars!
Best of luck to Toby in the European Cyclo-cross champs this weekend - keep an eye on our social channels to see how Toby gets on. You can meet more of the VOOM team here.