VeloVeritas caught up with our man in France Tom Copeland recently, who’s glad to be back racing after delaying the start of his season.

Tom developed tendinitis in both knees in January, which kept him off the bike for a month – not ideal preparation.

Here’s what he had to say…

Tom in 2010 team kit.

A late start to the season, Tom ?

“Yes, but it will mean I’m fresher at the end of the season… hopefully.”

What did you do over the winter? work and training ?

“The winter was again spent catching up with old friends and family that don’t get much attention throughout the year but also working in the local triathlon shop in town and of course the obligatory kilometres on the vélo.

“I managed to get away to Lanzarote for ten days in December to escape the snow and top up the tan even, but I was soon chilled to the bone a few minutes after getting home.

“There’s a long story to be told about no flights going back to the UK from Lanzarote due to snow, all this three days before Christmas.

“I made it back to catch Santa so all was ok!”

Ever ride any ‘cross?

“Not yet… but it’s on my To Do list!”

How’s ’10 fitness compare to ’09?

“It’s taken me a while to get back up to speed after time off and starting again from zero pretty much, but now I’m back on track, the legs are feeling pretty good and I feel stronger than last season already and the form is only going to improve.”

Same club as 2009?

“BIC 2000 again, a few comings and goings and now I am a “protected rider”, just got to ride faster than all the others on the start line now.”

New bike? Good fit?

“This years bike is the same make as last year (Félino) but a better model.

“Its a lot stiffer than last years bike which was rather “chewing-gum”-like by the end of the season and its light too, which always helps.

“We’re sponsored again by Mavic so we’ve got R-SYS wheels or Cosmic Carbone’s to roll with.”

Kit is much the same as last season.

Ditto, new clothes?

“The kit hasn’t changed too much from last year, just a few shifts about on the jersey with sponsors.”

How many races have you done, so far? how do you feel?

“I’ve now got about seven races in the legs after starting mid/end of March and so far things are on the up and up, every weekend I seem to feel better than the last.

“I’ve already managed to nab a 2nd place. Not too bad so far.”

What are the opportunities like to race – how many/week?

“So far its been Saturdays and Sundays racing but now races are starting to pop up all over the place.

“We’re doing quite a lot of traveling around France to race this season so that cuts down what I can do in the week.”

Who’s going well, in the Region?

“Seems like there’s a good level out here this season. Foreigners-wise, there’s a lad called Daniel Barry from New Zealand who’s going well at the moment and I’ve been off the front with Richard Meadows a few times too.”

There’s plenty racing in France for Tom, this is at Lesneven.

What’s a typical week look like race/train wise?

“Recovery ride Monday; few hours Tuesday with some more specific work; Wednesday is usually either a long ride or a split day meaning I can get two long rides in with often some specific work in the morning ride, followed by an easier ride in the afternoon;

“Thursday is another day for specific intervals; Friday is usually an easy day or a rest or if i’m racing Saturday then I’ll turn the legs over for the race.

“I’ve got a French cup TT in 2weeks, the 1st of May so I’ve been doing more and more rides on my TT bike recently, and following that I’ve got a good elite stage race here in Brittany, the Essor Breton so the volume has gone up in the last ten days to get the k’s in before then.”

How’s the programme for 2010?

“Bigger and better.

“We’ve got several 1.2’s on the programme this season as well as the amateur French cup series.

“The local chippers will seem like a ride in the park after those – well, hopefully!”

Tom racing at Bousquet.

How’s the French? rusty after the winter?

“Its not as bad I though it would be.

“I think having a team mate come over to visit for a month this winter kept me up to scratch.”

What are the new digs like?

“I’ve moved town, to Brest this year, bit further north than last year, and a bigger town.

“I’m living with Laurent Le Gac and Gwenael Simon from the team in a sweet apartment. Everyone’s got their own room and Gwenael has brought along his huge wide-screen tv so all’s good for the moment!”

Are you a good cook? what sort of grub do you eat?

“I can slap up a good meal if I need to and living with two others now its more reason to cook a nice meal.

“The other two cook well, so between us we seem to manage to put some pretty good grub on the table.”

Thanks Tom, all the best for the season – we’ll keep in touch.