Archive for July, 2008
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)
Summer has finally arrived! After months of sketchy weather here in Europe as the seasons changed and couldn’t decide what they wanted to do, we have finally got the first real heat or as they call it in French ‘chaleur’ of the year. I definitely welcomed it with open arms as I was over training in my rain jacket, though as the sun really wound up just the day before the 4day Tour Route du Sud it made for some testing conditions to a race with an already testing parcour.
The motivation was high and I was confident in my form that I could really do something during the four days, though I wouldn’t really have too many opportunities due to a mountain time trial, and an epic day in the pyrenees which would really decide the race.
So day 1, first substantial break goes and I made sure I was there, and for a good 30km I thought we would be the days main break. Though it soon became clear to me one of the Italian teams in the race had missed it and they weren’t happy about it so our gap soon diminished, and once again a bombardment of attacks began. Until finally a group of 17 went clear with all team represented and that was that, boof race over thanks for coming. The peloton rolled in 35mins down and thought about the days to come.
Day 2, a 20km mountain time trial, oh yes what a treat! Having had a bit of practice at these at the Giro last I wasn’t too fazed about the day, get from A to B at a good pace but always keep the rev counter out of the red zone and I will be fine, and I did just that finishing 5mins down on the winner.
The Tours most decisive day would be an immensely difficult 185km jaunt from Pierrefitte Nestalas to Luchon Superbagneres via four cols arriving at the Superbagneres ski station at 1800m. With the summit of the most difficult of them all the Col du Tourmalet coming after only 29km of racing it was going to make for a very long day as it wasn’t just the altitude that was rising, the mercury was already above 30degress at 11am on the start line.
Just to give you an idea of this day here’s some stats from my Polar Heartrate monitor. 6hrs 40mins, 185km, 28kph, 4850m of ascension, and 7390 calories (thats the equivalent of 3days calories for a normal male) So you can see this was a big day! I did surprise myself a little and my director too, as the head of the peloton reached the summit of the Tourmalet after the leaders team had set a very hi tempo there was only around 20-25guys left in the group and here I was turning my legs on the back of the bunch as many others suffered long in the distance behind me. It was another little confidence boost for me, and a real sign the Giro had done what I wanted it to do. However not to get too excited, I did end the day in grupetto we around 75% of the field but I did it with a lot more ease than in the past, and with the final day in mind that suited me a lot more.
With another scorcher forecast where it would reach 37degrees in the finish town Castres, it would play into the hands of the smart riders who would always be thinking about hydration. At the end of the day the smartest and strongest rider was my team and room mate Jussi Veikkanen who took the victory in a two up sprint ahead of Nicholas Jalabert. It was a great end to the tour for us and a mid season campaign that had included Tour de Romandie and the Giro with virtually all the same riders.
I ended the tour feeling disappointed not to get a result but happy with the progression I made in the mountains and feeling ready for a good end of season, though not before a well needed week off which I spent half of at the beach to recharge the batteries and let the body recover after what has been a very busy first half of the year.
Next up is a two week stint at altitude in the Pyrenees where I will be staying with triathlete Kris Gemmel, where I hope to build a really good base for the end of season. Then racing begins again with the Tour de Region Wallonie and Classic San Sebastian at the end of the month.
Until next time.
(Pictures coming soon!)