Monday, September 20, 2021
HomeInterviewsLlewellyn Kinch - Two Wins from 13 Starts in Belgian Kermises

Llewellyn Kinch – Two Wins from 13 Starts in Belgian Kermises

-

Our man with his finger on the Flanders pulse, Vik, first tipped us off about this gentleman at the end of the 2011 season. Llewellyn Kinch was getting up there on the Belgian results websites and onto Vik’s radar.

Here are the background questions we asked, from the end of the 2011 season.

Llewellyn Kinch
Llewellyn Kinch.

Did you race much in the UK before heading for the Heartland, Llewellyn?

“I did my first couple of races in 2007, having been given a bike for my 16th birthday.

“I was intending to do a bit more the next season but in April I managed to snowboard into a pretty large sign and wrapped my leg around one of its posts.

“I snapped my tibia and fibula so that was that season over.

“I raced my first full season in 2009 with GWR team and have continued to race with them until this year.

“They are a team aiming to develop UK riders and give them experience racing abroad, as they did for me.

“I won a few University National Track and Time Trial Championships in the UK but not that much else.”

What’s a Cambridge University student doing racing in Flanders, and why Belgium, not France?

“Well, I graduated this June and GWR Team had formed a link with Terra Footwear-Bicycle line, so I came to Belgium to race with Terra this summer.

“I also spent a couple of weeks racing here last season, so knew it was the best place to be.

“It was really difficult fitting enough training in at the same time as studying hard for my degree.

“Next year, (2012) without having to study as well as train, I’ll be a lot stronger and hopefully have much better results!”

Llewellyn Kinch
Llewellyn captured in an early days kermis.

How did you get set up with a club?

“I was originally put in touch with GWR team through some guys at a local club, when they decided I’d got a bit too strong to be coming on their Sunday run.

“I’ve raced with GWR since then and they provided the link so that I could ride for Terra this year and hopefully eventually progress to be a pro now my degree is over.”

Does the club look after you – bike, jersey, bonuses?

“GWR team provide a bike and all my kit as well as support at bigger races.

“Terra also looked after me brilliantly in all the races I’ve done with them this year.

“They had an excellent team to look after us during and after racing at the Fleche Du Sud.”

Llewellyn Kinch
Getting a win in Flanders, as Llewellyn has done more than once, marks you out as a very good rider.

Tell us about your 2011 palmares.

I was seventh in the Tesco Rutland-Melton International Cicle Classic (UK/UCI 1.2).

“I was really pleased with this result as it’s a great race; I hope to come back far stronger for it next year.

“And I was 12th and 17th on stages 1 and 4 of the Fleche Du Sud (Luxembourg/UCI 2.2).

“Was pretty pleased with how I went in that race considering my finals finished the day before and I’d spent a ridiculous amount of time in the library since the end of March.

“I’ve also had two wins, a third and four fourth places in Belgian Kermises this season.

“Not too bad seeing as I’ve only ridden 13.”

* * *

And that was how 2011 went – so we thought we’d best catch up and see how 2012 was for Mr. Kinch.

How were the programme and palmares for 2012, Llewellyn?

“We had a great program for 2012; with plenty of stage races and UCI 1.2’s.

“My best results were in stage races: a stage win and 3rd overall at Tour De La Manche; 6th overall at Tour Du Loiret as well as 6th in the prologue and 2nd for the sprints jersey at Tour de Savoie (UCI 2.2).

“I also had well over a dozen podium placings in various races throughout the season.”

How long did you spend in Flanders in 2012?

“I was there for a full six months, with only a weekend break in the middle for a trip to Budapest with some mates.”

What was the hi-lite of your Flanders campaign?

“A lot of my best results during 2012 were in French races but my best result in Flanders was my win at Wachtebeke.

“It was particularly sweet because I punctured when in the break, then I got a wheel change but was back in the peloton.

“With a few laps to go I soloed back to the break and finally I attacked to take the win.”

Llewellyn Kinch
Taking the win at Wachtebeke, a highlight of Llewellyn’s Belgian campaign.

Did you ride much in the UK in 2012?

“I didn’t race a single event in the UK during the season.

“Although, I did just do the Didcot Phoenix Boxing Day TT, complete with a Santa hat in place of an aero helmet!”

Is British Cycling paying you any attention?

“Not that I’m aware of!”

Were you happy with your progress in 2012?

“Yes, I improved a lot from 2011.

“Although, I must admit more than strength I need to improve my tactics when it comes close to the finish!”

Llewellyn Kinch
Llewellyn’s first win in the heartland.

Are you back with the same set up for 2013?

“No, I’m riding with French Division 1 team CC Villeneuve St Germain for 2013.

“I enjoyed all my races in France this year and so decided I would race there in 2013 if I could.”

What’s the toughest thing about the ‘Flemish existence’?

“Living with only a bunch of bike riding blokes in the middle of nowhere.

“We were only three kilometres from a town but the problem is if you’re not training then you’re recovering so it’s difficult to get out of the house.”

Llewellyn Kinch
Crashing on the cobbles is also a potential unpleasant side effect when racing in Flanders, as Llewellyn found out last year.

How were the accommodation/catering?

“The accommodation was fine and we cooked the evening meal together so it tended to be reasonably good.

“A lot of pasta and rice was involved!”

How do you get out to races – team car or ride?

“If the race was a local kermis then I’d usually ride out to get a few extra kilometres in.

“For the bigger races the team always provided transport and there was also a car we could use for local races if we wanted to (if it was raining!).”

How’s the Vlaams coming along?

“Niet goed.”

Llewellyn Kinch
The support the GWR team provides its riders is appreciated by Llewellyn.

How much of a break from training did you take over the winter?

“It was about a month.

“I think it’s essential to have a good break; to recover mentally as much as physically.”

Is your training going alright?

“Really well, so far.

“I’ve just had four weeks in Spain so got some really good base miles done in the sun.

“I’m now doing a block of strength work and getting the long rides in when the British weather gives me a chance!”

What’s your take on the Lance mess?

“Literally everyone asks this if they find out I’m a cyclist.

“Yet I still don’t really have a very good answer!

“In my opinion it’s fairly pointless to strip him of his titles as most people in the race are implicated in some doping scandal or other.

“The main focus should be making sure that those currently in positions of power, within the cycling world are in no way implicated.”

Is the ‘D-word’ a problem that you’ve noticed in Belgium?

“It’s not something I’ve really noticed but there are plenty of riders who are considered fairly dodgy.

“I guess there are probably a few times when I’ve lost out because of people who have their own set of rules.”

What are you looking for from 2013?

“I want to make sure I don’t make any of the tactical mistakes of 2012 and combining that with the fact I’ll be a lot stronger should get me a lot of good results.

“And I’d really like to win a stage race overall; perhaps with a stage win or two along the way.

“Basically, I need to get the results I’m capable of so that I can step up a level for 2014!”

Best of luck to Llewellyn this season, and with thanks for his time and the use of his photos.

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

Related Articles

Russell Downing – Relishing the Ronde

Having had Michael Mørkøv’s take on de Ronde, we thought we’d chat to a man a bit closer to home about his experiences in what is at least in the top three of the world’s single day races – along with Milan-Sanremo and Paris-Roubaix. The Tour of Flanders was one of the few races left on Russell Downing’s ‘to do’ list – but now he can wear the T-shirt.

Grote Prijs Gemeente Beveren 2007

It's long been a puzzle to me - who actually works in Flanders? It's 11.30am at Beveren Waas on a Monday, two hours until the start and the Grote Prijs Gemeente Beveren race HQ is already heaving. Officials from the federation and all the participating clubs, mechanics, masseurs, mums, dads, girlfriends, sponsors and of course, riders; 196 of them. People have their priorities right here, and work isn't one of them - it comes somewhere after bike racing, family and doing what you enjoy.

Ollie Robinson – Racing season 2021 with Ukrainian team Lviv

The top 20 of the recent, hard fought GP Monsere in Belgium saw a name familiar to VeloVeritas but unsung in the UK take a fine top 20 placing in the company of top opposition: Ollie Robinson, who we interviewed last year. He’s now with a Ukrainian UCI continental team, Lviv Continental so we thought a catch up chat was well in order.

Jonathan Tiernan-Locke – “I think I’ve shown I’m tactically aware”

VeloVeritas recently took time to talk to the man from Devon who is setting the early season roads of Southern France aflame - Endura's Jonathan Tiernan-Locke. We spoke to him soon after took his fourth and fifth wins of the season-the second stage and the GC in the tough Tour Cycliste International Haut Var.

Manic Zwifting = Podium Placing! The James McKay Blog

Apologies for my silence on the James McKay Blog for the last six weeks. If you had read my last blog post, you would know that my start to the season has not been brilliant. In just my first week of racing in France, I crashed and broke both my finger and wrist. Since then I’ve had more hospital visits than outdoor rides and some Manic Zwiftingbut I am delighted to say I’ve just completed a week of riding outdoors again, and have placed on the podium too!

Viktor’s View – Rants of Love for Cycle Sport

Folks say to me that Viktor, "VeloVeritas's answer to Nostradamus" doesn’t exist, he’s just a vehicle for me to express extreme view points. They’re wrong. The man actually lives and breathes – and mostly for all things cycling and the Coronavirus crisis has seen him at his ranting best.

At Random

Gent Six Day 2009 – Night Three

The Belgian papers are something else. Whilst you do get superb cycling coverage; in yesterday's 'De Gentenaar' we had to endure a colour photograph of a fatal road accident, complete with burnt out car and mangled push bike; a racist photo manipulation of Michelle Obama as a character from Planet of the Apes and images from a slaughter house, including a cow getting it's head chopped off - I'll stick with the Guardian.

Hugh Carthy – Ninth and Best Young Rider in Catalunya; “It was a real pleasure to be the protected rider”

Hugh Carthy took his finest results yet, winning the Young Rider classification ahead of Cannondale’s Davide Formolo (already a Giro stage winner) in the Volta Ciclista Catalunya and finishing ninth overall in a field which would have done justice to any Grand Tour, including riders of the quality of Nairo Quintana, Alberto Contador, Dan Martin, Richie Porte and Romain Bardet.

Maurice Laing – Scottish Star of the 70’s had a Short but Scintillating Career

Maurice Laing won the Scottish school boy road race and time trial championships, made the podium of the junior and senior road race championships; won the Davie Bell, Sam Robinson and Trophy Pernod; rode the Milk Race and performed with distinction in France.

Dan Fleeman – New British Hill Climb Champion

Cervelo's Dan Fleeman left it late to take his first win of the year; but it took him just 3 minutes 18 seconds to convert late season road form to victory in the most specialist and punishing of races-the British Hill Climb Championship, on the 1100 metre Pea Royd Lane climb near Sheffield, England on Sunday.

The Colin Sturgess Story – Part One

Colin Sturgess exploded on to the UK cycling scene in the 80's - within a couple of seasons he was world professional pursuit champion. But his enormous potential was never full realised.

Scottish 10 Mile TT Championships 2019 goes to Kyle Gordon

On a raw morning of bitter north westerly winds, with a grey Firth of Tay and North Sea brooding to the south, Kyle Gordon (RT 23) produced a ride just nine seconds shy of 30 mph to win the Scottish 10 Mile TT Championships 2019 from Bioracer-Moriarty Bikes duo, second placed Jamie Davidson and bronze medallist, David Griffiths; seven and 18 seconds back, respectively.