There aren’t usually too many surprises on the top of National Championship time trial podiums – Iain Grant’s win is a case in point; few were surprised by his success.
And south of the border most of us expected Michael Hutchinson to continue his dominance of the 40 kilometre distance – after all, he just recently took his tenth 10 mile title.
But there was indeed a big surprise in that British 25 Mile Championship as IG Sigma Sport’s 22 year-old Joe Perrett relegated Hutchinson (In-Gear Quickvit Trainsharp RT) to third; with Matt Bottrill (www.drag2zero.com) in the silver medal spot.
(But what happened to ‘Unity CC’ or ‘CC Orpington’?)
To our shame we didn’t know much about the man but quickly did our home work and discovered that his win isn’t that surprising given he’s a former European Junior Time Trial Champion – a win where he relegated fast up and coming Luxembourg man Bob Jungels (Radio Shack) to the silver medal.
Perrett was National Junior Individual Time Trial Champion in 2008, defending the title successfully in 2009 as well taking the European title.
His best result for 2010 was fifth in the Tour of the Reservoir and then in 2011 he took the same spot in the National Elite Time Trial Championship behind Alex Dowsett.
Last year he was 29th in the U23 Worlds TT at Valkenburg before closing his season with a fine second place in the prestigious Chrono Herbier.
This season saw him take 15th on GC in Ireland’s Ras before his 30 mph winning ride on Sunday.
Congratulations, Joe – was the ’25’ a specific goal for you?
“It was, yes; I’d been looking towards June 9th for a few months, I designed my race programme to build up towards it – now I want to try and hold this form.
“I have to keep it simple, I’m not experienced enough to work out how to peak and then taper back.”
Do you have a coach?
“Ian Goodhew is the team coach with Sigma; he puts my training plan together.
“Steve China also helps me – from the point of view of getting my TT position just right.”
Did the parcours suit you?
“For me, in terms of a 25 course it was good, part drag strip but with a few technical sections – which suited me with my road background.
“But the last 10 miles were horrible, straight into a block headwind.”
The team rides Specialized, were you on the ‘Transition?’
“No, the ‘Shiv.’”
The full Pro Tour tool, then?
“Yeah, the full tool!
“I was on Mavic wheels, they’re one of our sponsors – it’s a nice bike and with Steve China’s help I’ve got a good position.
“He has a circuit he uses as a test route, he rides alongside me on the moped and looks at my position and how we can improve it – then we make changes accordingly – I feel pretty comfortable with it, now.”
How did you gauge your effort, power meter?
“No, I’ve never used one; so I don’t know my numbers for the race – that’s not good, is it?
“I went as hard as I could at the start, found a rhythm and then in the last five miles I really emptied myself.
“Over the last few months I’ve slowly been getting better and better so I knew I was in good shape and figured that; ‘if I blow, I blow!'”
You rode the Ras; that must have helped your endurance no end?
“Yes, I felt good coming out of it – strong; I’m no climber but I did OK and hung on except on the really tough climbs.
“I was originally in as domestique for the team but we had a lot of bad luck with crashes and food poisoning so I ended up riding for myself.
“Between the Ras and the ‘25’ I rode a pro kermis in Belgium (Verrebroek-Beveren, 168 kilometres, ed.) and was eighth behind Sep Vanmarcke; QuickStep were there too, IAM, Topsport – Vansummeren was sixth, so I knew I had good shape and had made progress.
“When you can see you’re moving forward it boosts the morale and you can try that bit harder.”
Were you surprised to beat ‘Hutch.’
“The guys who specialise in time trials are really good; it’s their main thing and they’re hard to beat – but I thought I might be on the podium.”
How did you get into cycling?
“My cousin is Megan Hughes, who married the former Paris-Roubaix winner, Magnus Backstedt; she was a good rider and that got me into it.
“I rode my first race at the Eastway closed circuit – which isn’t there anymore; they knocked it down to build for the Olympic facilities – when I was nine or ten.”
You beat Bob Jungels to win that European Junior Time Trial Championship …
“Yeah, I sometimes feel a bit guilty that I had a couple of bad years – but there’s nothing I could do about it, I had knee problems for two years.”
You were with the Academy in 2010.
“That’s when I had the bad knee from March to July; when I went to Italy I was just too far behind – although I did win a few races in Belgium.
“I didn’t re-apply for the Academy for the following year, there were changes of staff and I decided to go and ride for an Italian team.
“Back then I could climb – you have to be able to in Italy – but then I had more problems with my knees and they team sacked me.
“I’ve worked on my core and strength and my knee is fine, now.”
“They’re relatively local and laid back but give me good support – and the programme is good, domestic and UCi races.
“I’m happy there, the equipment is good and so is the programme – I can plan my season, properly.
“I’ve thought about going to Belgium – I seem to ride well, there – but I can go over there with Sigma.”
You rode the TT at the Valkenburg Worlds.
“It was a good and bad experience; it was great to experience a World championship but I did a poor ride – I had nerves and a bad start.
“I over complicated things – which I shouldn’t do; I always do my best if I keep things simple.”
But that was a nice ride in Herbiers.
“I took a little time off after the Worlds and then knocked myself back into shape.
“It was funny training for it – a lot of guys were actually training for the next season.
“I was happy with the ride; the French guy who beat me, Yoann Paillot had also won Herbiers in 2011 and was the European U23 TT champion that year, too.
“It was a good way to end the season; it restored my faith in myself.”
And you’re looking for European TT selection?
“I’d love to go but I’m not sure winning the ‘25’ is enough – I’ll need to go well in the British TT and road race up in Glasgow.
“I’m going to fly up on the Tuesday; do it properly.
“If I get to the Europeans and do a ride then that would be a shop window for a pro contract.”