01 April, 2012

And that's the way the cookie crumbles

Cycling is a damn hard sport. I say this as I’m sitting on the sofa, drinking coffee and watching De Ronde Van Vlaanderen. This might sound like a piss take but I think I need this after what happened on Friday. I’m not alone either; Llewellyn Kinch is also next to me on the sofa, legs up. We both started Triptyque des Monts et Chateaux on Friday, a three day stage race in the Flemish Ardennes, and finished our respective races several hours later. I managed to hit the deck about 20k in, got up and chased back on, hit the deck again at about 40k, got up and chased back on and made contact just before the first climb. 

Nature photography last week, naturist this week.

It was the worst timing possible and over the top I was in the box hanging on to the back of the bunch, the last wheel of the big long line, heading downhill, with a tailwind, at about 70kph. I lasted about 10k on the very back of the bunch and then blew up. Llewellyn did a little better than I did in one sense, he made it to 115k, but he did end up in hospital after smashing his face onto some cobbles. Six stitches later and his face has seen better days, but he’s doing alright. Another of our teammates, the Australian Gus, got taken out by a Kazakh who rode straight into a traffic island with his head down, but he managed to get back on and finish with two broken levers which was impressive.

Kinch faced up to the cobbles.

All in all it was a pretty awful day for the team: none of the remaining riders from the team were in the front groups and therefore are probably out of contention for the GC unless there’s a serious shake up in the final tough stage on Sunday. It was a personal disaster for me too. I couldn’t suffer enough to get back into the race after the second crash; after I’d gone down again I just lay there for a while in disbelief. Having the team manager watch from the car as I slowly unravelled at the back of the race is an experience I don’t want again too soon.

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