Tom Moses is an understated – if not underestimated – pro of the British peloton, and in 2019 he hopes to have another reason for his rivals to sit up and take notice.
That’s because the 26-year-old Yorkshireman is turning his focus to crit races.
Adapting his training methods in 2018 saw encouraging results and in 2019 Moses will set his ambitions higher, with the aim of winning a round of the Tour Series.
In a pre-season chat, we talk about why and how he’s taking a new approach to his training, while still maintaining his ability as one of Britain’s best one-day competitors.
How has your winter been?
Not too bad. There’s so long between September and March, it’s a balance. You don’t want to get carried away before January, but at the same time you can’t let yourself go off the rails.
We’re on the first training camp now and it’s not until this sort of time that you get an idea of how the winter has gone.
What types of training have you been doing?
Plenty of Zwift, mountain biking and some road riding. Not loads of long rides – there’s no need for it with the intensity work.
It’s a case of keeping yourself fairly fit and the hard work starts now – but it’s a fine line. I won’t do anything too intense otherwise you start going well, which is great for camp but pointless. I’d rather be not quite there.
Is that something you’ve learned from experience?
Yes, I’ve done it in the past and come back from camp and got ill. I was going far too well, far too early. And then you lose motivation, so it’s a double hit.
In the UK you can’t break up the season, so you need to be going well for six months, there are no training races.
You’re only 26, but how much has training changed for you?
Massively – as a junior and under-23 we were training on these rubbish computers, just speed, distance and time, logged in an excel spreadsheet. You feel blind compared to the young lads now who have had a power meter since they were 16.
Sometimes though it is too much, you can lose yourself in the numbers. It’s just a guide, it’s not everything and you still need to know how to race.
That’s why I like mountain biking in winter sometimes and why I didn’t really look at my numbers in November and December.
How do you review 2018 – is that something you’ve done?
Not consciously, rather you’re always reviewing every day, what you did well and could have done better.
I can say that my build up this year is similar to last year. It’s a bit more relaxed early on because I don’t need to come into the season in flying. I’d like to have the reserves to go well after the Tour Series as well.
How is your training compared to last year?
I went into last year having completed a lot more gym work, to become more of a crit rider. That paid off and I was third in the first round of the Tour Series. Then I crashed and took the skin off my hands, which wrote me off for the rest of it.
Aside from that I had similar to usual results. So I’ll do the same types of training again and hope for better luck.
Are you changing your training to become better at the crit races? Even though many of your results place you as a one-day specialist?
That’s where I’ll always excel, the tough one day races. I suffer at back end of stage races and in crits struggle with first half.
After doing more gym work in winter 2017-18 and changing my training I definitely improved in the crits last year. Half of our racing is crits, so it makes sense.
I know I can do the road stuff anyway, almost no matter what training I do. So I’m trying to expand my skillset - I want to win a Tour Series round and an elite crit.
Part of that is mental stimulation as well. I got bored of aiming for same races all the time. I’ll always love the Tour of the Reservoir, but I’ve won a stage three years in a row. I’d rather win other stuff, have a change of motivation and have something to get me out of the door.
How is making that change going?
It’s a long process but I should do better this year, I’ve worked on my sprint. It sounds daft but all these Zwift races are perfect for it.
I wasn’t too far off of winning last year in Redditch and I think it was more of a tactical decision rather than physical.
I left my effort late because I thought it was the right thing to do on that lap, and when I chatted to my teammates after the race, they all said that I needed to go much sooner. Of course that’s experience I have now, so I can use that.
Three or four years ago, you were making a different kind of play – you were actively looking to step up to the next level. Is that something you’re still chasing?
Of course I would love to step up, but realistically I know now, I’m a UK rider and I realise the best step for me to take is to widen my range of races that I can win.
Looking back, when I was a junior and stepped up into the seniors, it was a massive gap. I simply wasn’t strong enough. I went from winning junior national series races and never being out of the top-10, to being in the last ten riders at senior level.
It was only when I was in my last year of under-23s the I was in top 10 again.
The UK has a really good scene now, with really good, established races. To be a UK rider, it doesn’t feel like you failed, it’s just different.
What are your ambitions for the future?
Before my time is up I want to win Lincoln. Ryedale as well and a Tour Series.
That sounds a lot like the list of races Ian Bibby has won – is he like a big brother? Have you been able to get some advice from him?
Ah yes, and I think I would have had some decent results if it wasn’t for Bibby! I have been second to him a few times now.
As for advice, well half of the time I don’t think he knows how he does it himself! It’s like magic, when the race gets hard he can just move to be at the front and be in the right place to race for the win.
What about CiCLE Classic – you won in 2014 – would you like to win that again?
It’s a race I really enjoy because it is a tactical fight and there are races within the race. It’s not so much the gravel sectors, it’s the hills and the distance of that race.
The countdown to the season is on, how is it being part of Madison Genesis at the first training camp?
I’ve been looking forward to this for a while now. Before I was in a domestique role and I was a little frustrated because I was doing it in races I felt I could win, or try to win.
Now I look around the room and everyone on the team is a really good rider, a winner. The advantage we have is everyone knows each other. We’ve all come together and there are no big rivals.