If you’re not on one of the National Federation programmes there’s only one way to catch the eye and sign that coveted first pro contract.
That is, either as an individual or with your team you head for Belgium, France or Italy and fight for results.
It’s the time honoured way, good enough for Tom Simpson, Robert Millar and David Millar.
A name which caught our eye recently in the Belgian kermises was 23 year-old Aussie, Jayden Copp (Bianchi DCM Arbitrage) with two fourth places, a second then a win.
Well worth a word we thought.
Congratulations, Jayden; Two fourth places, a second then the win at Sint Katelijne Waver – nice progression.
“I’ve been really happy with my progression, leading up to that first win.
“I had taken so much out of each race; some of those previous results/races I perhaps should have won – but it’s only the slightest mistake here and you’re out of it.”
Were your first races in Belgium a bit of a shock to the system?
“I was blown away with the first couple of races here in Belgium; it was so different to Australian racing.
“I remember the feeling after my first race my lungs were so sore and I’d never spent so much time in the 53 x 11 but God, I loved it.”
What’s the biggest difference between racing in Australia and racing in Belgium?
“No offense of course to Australian racing but it’s so much harder and ‘cleaner’ here; when I say cleaner, I mean safer, it’s because I think I’ve only seen one crash here.
“Whilst back in Australia – well, there’s a bit of crashing.
“Call it nervous bike riders if you will but I think it’s because Europeans have basically grown up riding bikes.”
Did you make the trip as individual or is it a team effort?
“The trip is a team effort myself and nine other team mates from Bianchi DCM Arbitrage a Perth based cycling team get the opportunity to do a three month stint here in Belgium.”
Where are you staying – what’s it like ? who does the cooking?
“We are staying in Vorselaar in the northern Province of Antwerp – it’s the cyclocross guy Bart Wellens home town – with Bob and Karen Decnodrer.
“It’s a big cycling team house; we are looked after quite well, although we have to cook for ourselves, which I don’t mind because I love cooking.”
How do you decide on the programme?
“Bob Decnodrer put together a racing programme for us for the time we are here.”
How’s the equipment bearing up on those cobbles?
“The equipment has been holding up great but next time I’ll make sure I bring a set of training wheels instead of two sets of race wheels, the roads are a bit unforgiving here.”
How’s the weather been – how are you coping with it?
“The first week-and-a-half was so bad; it rained every day and was quite cold still but thinking back I think it was a bit of a blessing – it was like ‘BAM here’s Belgium!’
“The weather now is great.”
How long are you over for?
“We arrived in May and are here till the end of July so only another five weeks unfortunately.”
This is only year two racing on the bike for you, how did you get into it – 21 is quite late?
“There were two reasons; firstly my father and his mates – I remember thinking that I want to be that fit when I’m older – and I wanted to get fit, I was 99kg when I first started cycling, three years ago.
“After eight months on the bike I started racing in B grade and then got picked up by a team to do my first NRS (Australia’s National Road Series) last year, this is now my second season.”
You were top 10 in the Oceania TT and top 20 in the National TT – is the time trial something you intend to specialise in?
“I definitely see time trialling as one of my strengths and I want to improve on it 100% more, the Nationals TT was 25km further than any other time trial I had ridden before, so it was a real shock to me both mentally and physically.
“I mean, I had trained for it of course but racing it was totally different.”
Has the National squad expressed any interest?
“No I haven’t had any interest expressed from them; I would love to ride for the UNI SA (University of South Australia) team at next year’s Tour Down Under.
“It will be a main goal for me to turn some heads once I get back to Australia with the experience I’ve had from this trip.”
2014 will be a success, if . . ?
“I can either get a good contract with a European team or one of the big teams back in Australia.”
VeloVeritas wishes him all the best, and congratulations on a great start to his European palmarès.