Feature photo courtesy of Elo’Photographie France & Report Conn Mc Dunphy

Conn told the Belgian Project yesterday:After taking a few quiet weeks of training and going back to basics in April, due to some bad luck (a dislocated shoulder and being in close contact with covid). l was back to racing at the start of May. Happy to say I hit the ground running. My first race back was a new classic type race in Brittany called Flèche Bigounde where I managed a respectable 16th place. After this next up was my first stage race of the year at Tour du Loiret with a TT where I would get a chance to debut the National Champs colours. Stage races are where I usually excel so I was looking forward to it. The first day was class. The wind was blowing, the rain was sideways and the racing was on, we attacked it hard with the team. All of us made the front echelon of 30 riders. After it calmed down a little I rolled off the front with a strong group of 11 riders with 2 teammates and 2/3 ex-World Tour pros. I emptied myself for my teammate Killian who managed to come 2nd on the stage. I came in 11th place, last of the break but in a good position for an attack on the overall GC on the Queen stage on Saturday. The Queen stage of 170km was another rainy day. It felt like home! The first 100km were pan flat and very cold. After that, the last 70km had 2000m of climbing on twisty hard roads. The bunch whittled down to about 50riders, then on the grippy finishing circuit with 25km to go, I attacked hard with a teammate, ex-French TT Champion Romain Bacon and two others. Romain emptied himself for me, we pulled out a good gap of 1min 10seconds. I was in virtual yellow by nearly a minute going into the final 14km TT. All of a sudden disaster struck, with 10km to go my front wheel flatted. I tried to ride the flat as I was holding off the bunch but I was forced to stop as the hairpin descent was too dangerous on it. The chase back onto the bunch killed me, I had to go super deep to consolidate my GC from the start of the day. I ultimately paid for this huge effort the day after in the 14km TT. It was an honour to wear the champs colour but unfortunately, I was just empty, I didn’t have that leg speed I needed. I ended up 14th in the TT and 8th overall but had I not punctured and had everything else gone the same I would have won the overall comfortable. This does nothing but fuel the fire and reconfirm that despite my crash last year I still have the level to win these races. It’s funny, these Elite races here in France have changed this year also, the level has gone up a half. French Amateur riders are consistently winning and on the podium in UCI 1.2 and 2.2s. Hopefully, it’s only a matter of time before the wheel of luck turns for me”
As I always say, ‘if it’s meant to happen, it will’ yours in sport, Conn

Photo credit: Mickael  Pahu – Photo

Thanks Conn for taking the time to write this report…with your positive attitude, honesty and manners, you soon be noticed for your hard work, and with a bit of luck a win is not so far away anymore…stay safe my friend, Dany B

Conn winning the spring classic Tour of Ards in 2017 (Photo David Mc Veigh BP Media Team)