In 2019, the Briton saw his year with Katusha disrupted by a persistent knee injury before the team went bust. 2020 saw the COVID-19 coronavirus put a five-month gap in his sole season with AG2R, though a Grand Tour debut at the Vuelta a España was a high point. His 2021 season has seen him suffer from an ankle injury.
The 26-year-old, who raced only his 14th day of the season on Thursday’s opening stage of the Arctic Race of Norway, described his year as “pretty terrible” before the stage in Tromsø, adding that he’s happy to get races in his legs after a tough season.
“[The year] was pretty terrible,” he told Cyclingnews. “I’ve not really recovered from the crash back in March [at the GP Monseré]. I tore the ligaments in my ankle and had a pretty bad start after that with Romandie with my knee.
“I have just come from Wallonie last week, but I didn’t race for three months. I did a little bit of Wallonie – half of the race, but it wasn’t great. Then after that, it was obviously just training in between. Here I’m just trying to move forward and progress.
“I’m feeling better now as well. I mean to go three months of the season without a race in the middle is difficult. I’m just trying to build back into it now and get some good races under the belt. But It’s nice to be here, to be racing again.”
Tanfield, who made headlines back in 2018 when he became the first domestic rider to win a stage of the Tour de Yorkshire, almost made the move back to the British Continental scene this season, signing with Ribble Weldtite in November before Qhubeka Assos snapped him up after coming close to stopping themselves.
He said that he has enjoyed his time at the squad so far, even if circumstances have prevented him from racing a full calendar this season. However, with his one-year contract set to expire in December, his future is currently up in the air.
“It’s great. Obviously, everyone was really nice at AG2R, but it was just different with a French culture and French environment. Here everyone is English speaking, super nice. It’s really good and I really enjoy it. I really enjoy representing the team at races, spreading the message of Qhubeka.
“Not at the moment, no,” Tanfield added when asked about whether he had signed anywhere for 2022 and beyond. “It’s August, isn’t it? I don’t know where the year has gone. To be honest, I haven’t really thought about it. I just need to race, do some bike racing.
“I’m trying to obviously show myself in races and show myself in the team. I’ve not really raced very much so far being out with injury, coming back. I’ve never strung it together very well – it’s been hit and miss. It’s unfortunate, but it is what it is.
“I’m here to show myself, to try and get back in the game. The only way you can race, to progress, is to do the races, to finish and then go from there.”