Yesterday's Peter Young Memorial Road Race in Surrey was his first opportunity to test his form. His training only resumed in early February after a knee injury over Christmas cost him over six weeks of base training
"I hadn't really done any big efforts," he recalls. "I was anxious not to over - stress the knee in training, so I had modest expectations, especially given the category of race."
The race was a 90 mile National B category featuring many national level riders and semi- pro teams. Neil Wass and Paul Caton also lined up for the event: "None of us were too optimistic," says Caton. "But we knew if we could get round with the Elite guys that it would be good training at that distance."
And get round they did. Coleman, however, proved he has lost very little during his lay - off, and stepped on the gas at the right moment: "About the 4th lap, I heard Neil shout to me that one of the key guys was attacking. I didn't need to think about it - it just jumped on the pedals and went for it."
This break turned into a solid second group on the road and stayed away for the rest of the race. All in, around 25 riders stayed ahead. Coleman: "I had to battle hard to stay with them - I was chewing the handlebars an awful lot, but it was great to have made the selection and it's fair to say I exceeded my expectations."
|team effort: Paul Caton, Neil Wass & Douglas Coleman|
Coleman finished in the front 30 riders: "Considering it was my first race of the year, I'm happy with that," he says. "I've got plenty of room for improvement, so I'm nicely ahead of where I was last year." Caton and Wass finished in a depleted main group with scores of retirements: "A good all round piece of top end training," says Caton. "We'll all be stronger for this after a bit of recovery!"