House - the escapee
Kristian House took back the Skoda King of the Mountains jersey with another bold opportunist move on stage 3 of the Tour of Britain today. House had led the competition after a long-range move on stage 1, but had to relinquish the lead yesterday when he missed the break that took the majority of the points on the road to Knowsley. We caught up with him during the transfer to the next stage to talk about the King of the Mountains competition.
This year's RCS is considerably younger with a focus on developing talent. Last years team was, can I say, a little stronger or more experienced? Or is that being too harsh?
No I don't you're overstepping the mark at all. The team last year was definitely stronger but what I would say is that they are progressing day by day. Each rider is moving in the right direction which is great to see.
When you were in the break today, Richard Handley and Mike Cuming were attacking at the back to soak up the rest of the KOM points. Was that planned?
No not at all. The guys are really riding beyond their age and showing a racing head. They knew I was in the break and they both looked at each other and said; 'we're climbers, we can attack'. It's great to see their ability to read a race and that didn't come from John Herety.
Before the Tour did you set any expectations from the team or any specific objectives?
Well ideally we planned to have a rider on the GC but after stage 1 it wasn't to be. Ben Grenda is up there right now and is going to be a great GC rider in the coming years.
With the KOM jersey on your shoulders the race tactics have changed. Was that a back-up plan?
Well now that we're not really battling for a GC spot we can take opportunities in the breaks without really worrying about whats happening in the peloton. I actually see the KOM jersey as the Opportunistic jersey and always analysing the situation as it can change so quickly. Jonathan Tiernan-Locke hasn't really started racing yet so I expect him to challenge if his GC bid doesn't materialise as he was so prolific last year.
So are you looking out for your rivals, such as Urtasun?
I'm not really paying much attention to them as it's still early on in the Tour. What's great though is the team will be able to spot me out easily and help them read the race. But Urtasun will also be able to see me and position himself better, so it's a win-lose situation. But I'm more happy that the team has something to focus on.
I know you've been in many Tours and race abroad abundantly but overall do you think the Tour this year is a little bigger, with the likes of Cav and Wiggins?
I think they have helped the sport immensely and you can tell as on the side of the roads there are far more kids than I've ever seen at races which is great. I remember when Lance raced at the Ras and the crowds were fantastic so it definitely helps. I'm looking forward to the Welsh and the weekend stages which are going to be raucous.