Published: 17 July 2013
Report: Scott Hobro
Video: Andrew Kennedy
British under 23 time trial champion Sam Harrison believes he has overcome his early season difficulties and is ready to bid for European glory in the Czech Republic.
Harrison, along with Joe Perrett, will compete for Great Britain in Friday’s under 23 men’s time trial at the European Road Championships.
A series of setbacks had held back the Welshman in the opening months of 2013 though he was still able to help Great Britain to silver in the team pursuit at February’s track world championships.
But his focus now lies on the 23-kilometre circuit which starts and finishes in Brno, the second largest city in the Czech Republic and Harrison is content with his form having retained his national time trial title in Glasgow last month.
“The time trial has been a goal for me since the start of the year,” said the 20-year-old British Cycling Olympic Podium Programme rider.
“The start of the year wasn’t too good for me. I had a couple of crashes, illness and injury and that sort of thing which kind of hampered the start of the year but I seem to be having a good run now and performed well at the nationals.
“I think it’s quite a good course. It’s got a bit of a climb in it which is good for me being sort of a skinnier build.
“I’ve been training for it now for the last month or so, it’s a similar distance to the nationals so I think I should be ready to go.”
Alex Dowsett, who took his first Grand Tour win in this year’s Giro d’Italia stage eight time trial, was the last Briton to win the European title in 2010.
In 2012, Harrison was the highest placed Brit, finishing 21st in Zeeland in the Netherlands.
And while improving on that effort is a natural progression for the Newport born rider he prefers to focus on the ride itself rather than the result he hopes it will yield.
“I want to perform to my best and ride as fast as possible,” said Harrison, who came in 39th place in the under 23 time trial at last year’s road world championships.
“That’s what a time trial is about, that in itself will get me a good position. Obviously everyone wants to go there and win but I think it’s a lot better to focus on your own performance.
“There’s no point in worrying about what anyone else is going to do. I will just go there, get everything out and be happy with how I have ridden. Hopefully that should get me there or thereabouts.”
When asked who could be a potential frontrunner, Harrison added: “You’ve got the guy who won the gold at the omnium in the Olympics, Lasse Norman Hansen, he’s a class act.
“But then it is the European Championships so there’s always a quality field.”
After Friday, Harrison’s attentions will turn to Sunday’s 165-kilometre road race where he hopes to support teammate and world points race champion Simon Yates.
“In the road race we’ve got Simon Yates who has had a fantastic year so far so if I can help him out in any way possible I’ll be happy with that.”