19 February, 2014

And we're off.

Last weekend was my second one of racing, and again it involved pinning a number on for both Saturday and Sunday, as well as a cheeky midweek outing yesterday! If possible, it was even more successful than the last set of races for us 'Nantaises'. La saison a certainement commencer!

Saturday was seven laps of 20 kilometres which had an epic crosswind section right on the Vendee beach every lap through the line. With Vendee U present (the feeder team to Europcar) as well as various other stong outfits (including us!), it was always going to be a catfight in the crosswinds. I loved it.

Didn't fancy doing no-handed, that's how strong the wind was!

Each team took it in turns to put the hammer down, but in the end it regrouped around the back of the circuit on the final lap. My teammate Mathieu went on a courageous solo attack around 15k out but was clawed back and then, as a Vendee U rider countered I saw the perfect opportunity. I went with him, despite wanting to save my legs for the final kilometre, and what ensued was 9k of two-up time trial work, most of it into a block headwind. Just to sweeten the deal we had a 170 strong bunch breathing down our necks, ten seconds behind, the whole way home. 

Just before la flamme I launched one and held my ex-companion at ten metres, before finally cracking him in the final few hundred and enjoying the victory. It felt good. (Handsome Clement got 3rd too, like a bawse!)

Sunday was a great tactical race, the pinnacle of which was without doubt the shredding of the peloton we did in the final lap. With 20k to go we got on the front and gently rode through and off for a few kilometres before turning a ninety degree corner into crosswinds and letting loose. It was wild and savage and wonderful!

Just before everything got a bit crazy.

At one point it was just the 10 of us riding through and off and we had dropped the entire rest of the field! 

Sublime tactical perfection.

In the end it was a group of 27 riders left in the finale, with 10 of us, and it was attack after attack. I put in the last big one, but got caught 300m short which was a shame. Vincent got 4th in the sprint.

The blue train.

Tuesday was a damp squib for me personally as I didn't have the legs to do much, and spent the final hour getting a tan in the grupetto. Lorenzo claimed 5th on what was a hard third day's racing in four days.

Today has been a nice day off, involving many pancakes, Nutella, and the washing of cycling kit.
Yes people, my life is crazy.

I'm flying down to Marseille on Saturday for GP Jean Masse on Sunday (a Coupe de France) and GP d'Aix on Monday. Have a fun weekend one and all.



  1. Nice one Doug! Sounds like you are having fun.

    1. Cheers! Yep, could be worse haha.