Hey everyone, just another update on how the racing is going as I have raced another two times since the last update. All I can say is... I cant have picked a better time to be coming into form.
Anyway so the read isn't too long I'll get on with the races. BTW both race were back to back (Saturday and Sunday) Race 1 was a 120km kermise but being an U23 one everyone thinks not many people will turn up. They were wrong as we still had a field of 120 riders. The weather was bad all day but cleared just for the race. It made me a happy chappy as with the amount of turns in the course it would have made it very interesting. It was almost a weird race though as it seemed like a criterium but the lap was to long. The reason I say it seemed like a crit was it never left town. Hence the million turns.
With the turns and the wind combined it was going to make it a tough race for those at the back of the bunch so I wasted no time moving to the front. When I realised how hard it was at the front, I thought about rubber band effect in the peleton. It is where the riders at the back have to slow down more for the corner and accelerate more out of the corner therefore making the bunch opporate like a rubber band. Same as a rubber band... the more you stretch and relax it the closer it is to breaking, and the weaker it is the sooner it will break. Same effect with the peleton.
After that long thought I tried to make it as hard as I could by driving the front. One rider was up the road after half a lap so I soloed across and started working with him. Looking back I saw 2 more riders coming one being a team mate of mine so I waited for him to make 4 riders in the break away. We got out to 46 seconds but that was as far as we got. What was left of the peleton was chasing hard. We didn't let up though and kept working.
One of the riders stopped working so it was time to get rid of him. When he was on my wheel I dropped the wheel in front and let my team mate and the other ride away. The gap began getting to big so the rider behind me began working to chase. We turned into the cross wind and I hit it down the gutter. To my expectations he missed my wheel and I rode back up to the leaders. He never made it back! With 3 riders and 10 laps to go the work was getting harder and harder but we were still hovering around the 40second mark. The fortunate thing for us was we were out of the chaos back with the chasers as their group got smaller and smaller every lap. With 6 laps left one of the guys stopped working but with some discussion he just wanted to get to the finish. With 5 laps to go my team mate was hurting and began pulling soft laps.
I figured we weren't going to stay away unless someone rode hard so I took on that role. I pretty much rode the last 4 laps by myself with a couple of hangers on. On the last lap my team mate Laurant ask me if I could let him win as he hasn't won a race in 4 years. I thought about the games like that in the team last year so I was apprehensive. I told him no I wont let him win BUT....... I will lead him out for the sprint and if he can come around me I will let him have it, if not do he has to do some more training. However I had seen him sprint before so I wasn't too concerned.
I took Victory by 2 bike lengths for the first time for the season with a 117km breakaway and Iwas still feeling good afterwards.
Sunday Race 2 was 115km and again U23. A lot nicer race too as there were less turns and back roads. The finish was in town but the rest was in the country. There was a strong wind so I knew the race would be over quickly. The first cross wind section would sort things out for sure. Sure enough, after the first lap there were 15 riders left of the 80 that started. Amongst being myself and fellow kiwi Ryan Wills.
This was a bonus, because there was a whole team from Latvia (Lithuainia if thats how you spell it) there and they are strong. With Ryan there at least we had some form a defense. A few laps later there were 7 left, still Ryan and myself and 3 from the Latvian team. I knew we would need a plan for final few laps to have any chance but I had no idea what to do so didn't say anything. Just go with the flow and see what happens.
On the second to last lap I let Ryan slip up the road with one latvian and another rider as splitting them up would make things easier to take control of. When they had about 20second I hit it and went alone to bridge to the leaders. Ryan saw me coming and stop working to make it easier for me to get across but with the wind it was anything but easy. I got there with 2km to go and said to Ryan, "you try attack and I'll take care of these 2", I wasn't sure of the latvian but I knew Ryan wouldn't win a sprint against the other rider. The plan became... he attacks and I'll wait for the sprint. He tried but unfortunately was shut down soon after.
Coming into the sprint I was on the front which was not the place to be, so I sat in the gutter, not driving but that way the sprint could only come up one side. It was all on with 200m to go when I though its now or never. Ryan settled for 4th and the latvian realised he wasn't getting anywhere either so settled for 3rd. The other continued to contest but as soon as he stopped gaining on me and I started to pull away again, he let out a big F***! as I took my second victory with a solid bike length. It was a good weekend with 2 victories and I know now my form has come at the right time. Especially with Paris Roubaix in 2 weeks time.
Thats all from me