01 April, 2013

Tour de Lesneven

So I’m a sprinter now. The commentator said it so it’s official! On Saturday I won a humongous bunch gallop (me and one other guy) against some stiff competition (he was a lean climber). Let me explain...

The beginning of the stage was extremely leisurely which only made the anticipation ever greater for when the real action would kick off. We were riding towards the coast and when we reached it our patience was duly rewarded. There were plenty of crosswinds and as the group shredded and reformed I clawed my way up to the front, through more brute force than skill I should add. I was riding like a man possessed, it was one of those rare days when good form, meets good tactics and it seemed that as I reached the front split the perfect scenario unfolded for me. The group of ten worked relatively well together and this confirmed that this would remain the front of the race until the finish. To say I was a watched man would be a gross understatement. Despite the fact that there were three riders from one team, two from another and several other individuals in the break to me it appeared that they were one unit - France.

This was to be a grudge match between the tradition enemies it seemed. As soon as I realised as much I became cannier and waited for a chance to increase my odds of success. On the final climb with 4km to go I launched a silent attack (changing gears beforehand to minimise sound) and took four other riders with me. I launched another attack into a headwind with 1.5km to go but was quickly closed by one of the two riders in the break from the same team, before his teammate attacked over the top. I knew I had to react immediately and I did with force, gapping the riders behind and slowly closing the advantage my attacker had before locking onto his back wheel with 400m to go. I felt invincible and as I came off his wheel with 200m to go it felt like a foregone conclusion: the stage was mine.

I was holding the maillot jaune the next day for the team time trial which was in the morning. I haven’t done many TTTs before and for those that don’t realise, it’s a completely different animal to the individual time trial. I think everyone would agree that our effort was a total shambles, the highlights being losing two riders in the first 2km and me dropping my chain near the finish, but somehow we came away with a very creditable 2nd place! Huge credit must go to Maxime, Guillaime and Sam (who did monster turns and pushed me for about 300 metres as I struggled with my chain issue)! We put time into my closest rivals too which was a bonus.

Stage 3 was another rolling day with more wind. Unfortunately I made a mistake and got caught out at the back on a day when a lot of tired bodies weren’t working brilliantly. The split rode off early on in the day and with it so did my hopes for another tour win. I’ve certainly learnt some lessons and had plenty of time to dwell on my errors as I crawled around with the backmarkers, so I won’t bore you any more with them here!

Regardless of the final stage it was a successful tour for me personally (and for the team) and it’s great to have the guys believe in me. Next weekend I have a Coupe de France race and judging by the speed of my ride today I will be taking this week pretty easy before then! All the best readers.

No comments :

Post a Comment