Pro cyclist interview: Kristian House (Rapha Condor JLT) talks to RCUK

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Pro cyclist interview: Kristian House (Rapha Condor JLT) on breakaways, the British championship, and the domestic road scene

Former national champion targets stage victories in 2014

Former national champion Kristian House (Rapha Condor-JLT) is no stranger to the breakaway, particularly at the Tour of Britain where he was crowned King of the Mountains in 2012.

The 34-year-old, Canterbury-born rider, also wore the King of the Mountains jersey for a stage at this year’s Tour of Britain during a successful year for both himself and his team.

And as he approaches his ninth year as a professional, House insists he has no intention of changing his riding style.

Kristian House on the podium at the 2013 Tour of Britain after finishing second in the King of the Mountains classification, narrowly missing out on defending his 2012 title (pic: Roz Jones)

“Riding in the breaks feels like real racing, I guess,” he said. “I can sit in the bunch all day and on most stages just finish in the bunch, but I go in the breaks and hope that one day we can make it stick and I’ll have a shot at a stage win.

“Both this year and last year, being a contender for the King of the Mountains jersey at the Tour of Britain wasn’t deliberate.

“But if I’m not riding GC then I’ve always tried to get into breaks, especially when a race is as controlled as the Tour of Britain.”

One split he did not manage to make in 2013 was at the national road race however, when an elite escape group including eventual winner Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quickstep), David Millar (Garmin-Sharp) and Team Sky duo Ian Stannard and Pete Kennaugh went clear early on.

Riding in the breaks feels like real racing. I go in the breaks and hope one day we can make it stick and I’ll have a shot at a stage win

But House claims, while he was disappointed in his sixth-place finish initially, he was pleased to have achieved such a high placing against such a strong field.

“On a personal level I was fairly happy with my 2013 season,” he admitted. “I felt like I had a good showing early on with a few results in early season, I had a fairly decent Tour Series and nationals and then went well in the Tour of Britain.

“I think the national road race stands out to be honest. At the time I was disappointed to have not been in the front split despite being strong enough to be there – it was more down to a momentary lapse of concentration rather than strength.

“I’d have ended up finishing fifth otherwise, no doubt about it. Still when I look back at it now, to have been as strong and competitive after doing every round of the Tour Series, I should have been happier.

A familiar sight: Kristian House in the Tour of Britain’s King of the Mountains leader’s jersey. (pic: Paul Hayes-Watkins)

“I thought the Glasgow road race was a great course, and the crowds really came out to support it.”

He added: “I think we had a great year as a team too, with the highlight being Mike Cuming’s Tour of Korea win.

“It would have been great if he could have done a few more things early or later on in the year, to help him move on, but given the state of teams in Europe at the moment, it was always going to be tough.”

Next year’s National Championships are to be held in Abergavenny – the scene of House’s 2009 triumph.

I think Abergavenny is a great course, and the crowds will really be out to cheer

Back then he outgunned the likes of Cavendish, Bradley Wiggins, Geraint Thomas, Chris Froome and Dan Lloyd to bag the prestigious white, red and blue jersey.

But, while admitting he is pleased to see the race return to Abergavenny, he is keeping his cards close to his chest in terms of his ambitions.

“I think Abergavenny is a great course, and the crowds will really be out to cheer,” he said. “It’s very well organised too, so I will be looking forward to it again.

“I’m not sure of what my program will be leading to it though, so we’ll just have to see in terms of a result there.”

Kristian House during the Canary Wharf event of the Pearl Izumi Tour Series this year, a series in which he defended his Durham event title (pic: Roz Jones)

When asked of his overall targets for the whole of next season he joked: “Now that would be telling!

“We’ve brought in a few new riders this year, and have really strengthened the squad. That will give me a little more freedom and back-up I think.

“Winning a stage of the Tour of Britain is something I really want to do and another stage at the Tour of Japan would be great, as well as a stage at the Tour of Normandy.”

Alongside stage race success, House also won the Tour Series event in Durham for the second year running as Rapha Condor-JLT finished the whole series level on points with Madison-Genesis, behind winners Team UK Youth.

It’s always going to be hard to attract sponsors to an event when it finishes in the middle of nowhere and has 15 spectators

And House – who finished the year ranked 30th in the British Cycling rankings – hopes the domestic scene will follow the lead of the Tour Series to develop further.

He said: “Personally, I think the events and officials are the next thing to develop to match the level of the domestic teams.

“It’s always going to be hard to attract sponsors to an event when it finishes in the middle of nowhere and has 15 spectators.

“We need to bring more events into the town centres – you only have to look at the Tour Series or the Lincoln GP to see what a domestic event can be.”

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