Archive for 2008
It may be late news, but better than never. After a few weeks of discussions with FDJ I finally signed the dotted line for another year in the pro ranks. It sure was a relief to finally sign as my head had been turning for few weeks over all the possible outcomes. I had thought often to keep you all informed on what was happening contract and race wise, but I just found it so hard to sit down at the computer to write a post on such shaky ground. Though my form on the bike had been fairly solid, maybe not picking up the individual results I had hoped for, I’ve produced some impressive lead outs and been in a lot of breakaways to please the bosses.
So with the contract signed it was on the plane back to NZ to put the feet up for a real offie. At the end of last year I just had a weeks spell between racing the track for NZ and pulling the FDJ whites back on, and gearing up for the road nationals in January. As I concluded my season this year with the Crono des Nations just last weekend it made for a very long 10month season with over 90 days of racing in the legs, the body has been screaming for a break.
The bike will be put away for 3-4weeks now and I will be enjoying catching up with family and friends, before the task of straightening out and shaping up the body for another season begins.
I would like to thank you all for your support this year, it has been amazing. It was a real learning curve for me and I hope you learnt a few thing along the way too. Next year I’m sure there will still be some learning to be done but I will endeavour to turn what I already know into results.
Thanks very much for reading.
With only a matter of weeks to go in the professional season, the peloton is starting to feel the effects of a long season but also knows the end is near and want to push hard for one last peak of form.
The Tour of Poland is the last race in the season long Pro Tour competition so even though the Tour of Spain is the main race in the lime light at the moment there is another prize still up for grabs here in Poland.
For FDJ we started with a respectable performance in the short 4km Prologue TTT coming in 9th, and with only 5 riders on the start line instead of the allowed 8 we were pretty happy with that.
Though the last two days have been a lot longer and a lot colder. With the temperature not reaching much more the 10degrees it has been a bit of a shock to the system after a hot summer. For me my main job at the moment has been lead out man for our Belarusian sprinter Yauheni Hutarovich. So far I haven’t quite had the legs I wished to help him out more, but things feel like they are getting better each day so hopefully we will be able to pick a victory before the weeks out.
Tomorrow the organisers have treated us to a stage being shortened by 40km, though it is still 200km and there is rain on the horizon which won’t be much fun. But hey thats bike racing isn’t it.
Will be back again soon
Here’s a little pic of Hutarovich looking like hes just won the race, though really he just got so excited he was going to be in a photo he through he bike in the air in the middle of an intersection in Warsaw riding home from the prologue.
1. Mum ignoring Chinese Security to wave the NZ flag in Beijing. 2. The boys with the Oakley Team at Oakley House, Beijing. 3. Julian Dean and I getting a bit of culture at the Forbidden City. 4. Time to chill in Albi at a cafe. 5. Market shopping in France for some good steak. 6. Mum at her best, still pinning on my numbers for Post Tour Crit. in Quillan as I sign autographs.
7.Carlos “so Tim, do you think you’re up to helping me in the mountains at the Tour next year?” Tim “For sure Carlos, can’t you see I’m a mountain goat?”. 8. Crit action in Quillan. 9. Stuey and I hanging at a local tourist spot, Cordes s-Ciel. 10. Time to show the old man a few of the Albi roads. 11. The FDJ crew on the start line at the Eneco Tour. 12. Day 5 fatigue kicking in.
13. Stage debrief with Sarah and Stuey. 14. Catching up with Loags and Stuey before stage. 15. Taking a moment in the sun with friends before it gets serious. 16. Now its serious! Me working on the front of the peloton to catch break. 17. TT time. 18. An interesting TT along a typical Belgium canal.
And now here I sit at work completing the other tasks involved in the life of a professional cyclist……..
Well I’m back again, as per the norm for the last couple months a little over due. Life has thrown up a lot of interesting new challenges for me lately, I have dealt with some of these well and some not so well. Beijing came and went that quick that now it doesn’t even feel like it actually happened, as it was only within days of it that I was getting swamped by kids after autographs at a post tour crit, before finding myself strung out in the gutter getting buffeted by cross winds in Belgium almost all in the same breath.
The seven days I spent in the so called “Olympic bubble” were pretty cool, and I really enjoyed the New Zealand company again after already 6months in Europe this year. The race was a different story, and the best description I can think of is ‘silent murder’. As the peloton battled it out up the 12km climb 7 times with virtually no noise except for the huffing and puffing of the other riders, as the determined Chinese security managed to keep all but 13 spectators off the the course, including my parents who had made the journey to try and see their son compete at the Olympics. Well, not to be.
Though after returning to my European base here in Albi my parents did get to see me race, well sort of as I lined up in a post tour criterium in Quillan along with the Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre. It was a good night out for all, to get so close to the riders they saw battling it out in this years tour.
Tour of Benelux was up next for me, and after a solid opening prologue things were looking good for me. Though with one moment of bad placing before a cross wind section I was unaware of, my GC hopes were over. I battled on through the race looking for breakaway opportunities though not to any avail as the sprinter’s teams kept a good wrap on things all week.
So back home to Albi finally to get some well needed recovery in, and boy has the body appreciated it. While the body has been getting some rest, my head has been spinning a little as it is that time of year, contract time! A done deal for some but a real headache for a lot of others, and this year in particular. As sponsors are coming and going in and out of the sport like its a chess game, there is a feeling of uncertainty hanging over a lot of riders and teams heads at the moment. So talk is rampant, but the aim is still to keep the mind on the job of turning the pedals as best I can. Tour of Poland is my next call of duty, so I will be putting all efforts into turning the pedals with real conviction during my time there.
After these words I will be back on soon to give you all a little visual image of my past months adventures.
Thanks for reading
Sorry it’s taken me a few days to get onto writing here at the Olympics, it’s been pretty full on since arrival and now we are all go tomorrow as the road race kicks of at 11.
So far the build up has gone really well, and the team is in good spirits ahead of tomorrow. We have ridden over the course a couple of times and it is sure going to be a tough race, with a 10km climb every lap and combined with the heat and humidity it won’t be an easy task.
Well sorry its so brief but I am going to get myself into bed and put my feet up as I will be needing all the energy I can gather to do my job for Julian and New Zealand.
A few pics below from the last couple days. 3rd pic is me just getting in a little practice, not sure ill get to do it again on saturday…
It’s been a couple of weeks now since the Olympic Road team was finally named, for me it always give me great pride to be named in a New Zealand team, when you think about pulling on the silver fern and lining up ready to do service for your country.
Firstly I would like to thank everyone who has emailed txt and left comments on the site, it is always nice to have that support. I will do everything in my power represent you and the rest of the country proudly.
The Olympics road race brings an interesting challenge for everyone as the strong countries are limited to a max of 5 riders so, controlling the course isn’t to easy. But with the sounds of this course, I’m sure the strongest will prevail.
Now I have two preparation races before leaving for
Will be back soon
From L-R: FDJ team cars lined up, the winding road of the Col du Tourmalet, the remnants of peloton approaches the summit, Tourmalet summit, the grupetto arrives (I don’t always look this happy after a mountain stage honest), the view from our hotel at the Luchon ski station.
(Photos courtesy of personal photographer for the race, Sally Gardner. Cheers Sally)