17 July, 2012

Tour des Deux Sevres

This was my best tour to date general classification-wise! I ended up getting 3rd overall, as well as 5th in the time trial. I’ll run through as briefly as I can what happened, so as not to be too boring!

Day one I got in the break of the day, which was sadly doomed, but obviously I didn’t know this at the time so went quite hard to stick it out. We never got more than 1:30 and then got dragged back in by the bunch. I was feeling rather sore so didn't even have it in me to go for any of the mid-race sprints which is a shame because that gets you on the podium.

Day two there was a time trial in the morning which we did some reconnaissance on the night before so I thankfully knew what was coming more or less. It had plenty of blind corners with high hedges, and of course it rained on the day, so when I got a bit confused as to which corner was which I had to tiptoe round them! I fared better than my teammate Kinch though who unfortunately crashed on the first corner, which happened to be wet, oily, downhill and deceptively sharp. I produced a solid 5th place, despite dying a death up the final climb, which I was happy with.

This meant I was now sitting in 6th on G.C. which was exciting for me! I did a good job of sitting in for the afternoon stage and finishing safely in the bunch without losing time. Saturday’s stage was a point to point with a technical finishing circuit and the racing was very aggressive from the beginning. No-one was being allowed to escape and a break was only established on the finishing circuit when everyone was hanging. I managed to sneak into the group of twenty or so and was pretty chuffed with myself. I was contemplating attacking as there were two other riders in the break ahead of me on G.C. but I was beaten to it, and the cheeky French scamp was strong! I countered but couldn’t catch him on the technical circuit and despite several more attempts ended up finishing in the break. The guy who attacked ended up winning the stage and the race overall! Still, I was 3rd on the classification so not a bad days work.

I knew the final stage was going to be a grudge match between me and the Frenchies and it didn’t disappoint. After sitting in well until the final 35km I started attacking the yellow jersey team who were on the front; repeatedly. Lots of attacks, counter attacks, counter counter attacks later and still no luck. The guy in second place overall also had a good go but failed. It came down to a choppy uphill sprint after the break was caught with 3km remaining and I finished fairly near the front to hold my third place. All in all a great experience being an overall contender and something that I’ve not been used to until now!

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