The Classic Loire Atlantique is a hard race in the french region Bretagne. The circuit is to be done 11 times so we end up with 184 Kilometers. It features tough but short climbs which the region is famouse for. It is also a Coup de France race.
For more infos click here!
The three days of Westflaanderen will be a tough challenge for me. Physically and mentally. Since it features this short Prolouge, side wind borders and uncomfortable temperatures. Nevertheless I'm really motivated! The shape is not to bad how I saw during Le Samyn on Wednesday and weather conditions are increasing during the weekend.
This homepage will from now on be a little bit less often updated, since my race calender grew and I started to realize that I – most of the time – write the same stuff over and over. Well, thats how cycling is, the races often follow a certain pattern and writing just to honor the completeness is not worth it. I will pic the in my oppinion interesting races or race periods and write summaries about them. Starting with my stay in Australia.
Now, since the three weeks are over and I finally got home after 2 days of travelling, I’m home with a backpack full of motivation.
When I thought about the TDU before I always had this immagination of me walking out of a city into a desert by night. No points for orientation, no knowledge where I am after leaving the by me well known city and nobody who can tell me what would be best to do.
But now I feel like at least night is over in the desert and I’m able to figure out some points to orientate myself.
Pretty poetic, ok. But I think you know what I’m trying to say. I kind of know where I am in this peloton and what I could achieve. And this is what arises my motivation.
The 10 days of training before the race weren’t that good for me but I know the reason and it was simply the jetlag. Fortunately I addapted just in time to the timedifference and saturday the 19. was actually the first day I felt strong again. The city Criterium on sunday therrefore was also going pretty well. I was able to always stay in the first 40 positions and tried to help our sprinter Yauheni long as possible.
The first stage of the Tour Down Under went also pretty usual without any big surprises. Mybe, the fact that André Greipel won the bunch sprint was a bit of a surprise...
But than the second stage came. I already pointed out this stage, when I first saw the stages months ago. It was a really short one with just 116K’s and featured a really steep final climb, after which seven K’s of downhill straight to the finishline followed.
My eager was even enhanced when we did the climb the weeks before in training.
The approach of the climb tough was just crazy. We had to go down a valley close to a bending river. It was lots of position fighting before and after we reached the left hand turn from witch on, the ascent started, I was well placed at around position 30. The thought of just following the fastest guys long as possible arose and I tried as long as I could. Reaching the top of the climb at around position 10 to 15.
I was really happy and knew that since it was just a downhill to do, me, my teammates Mika and Blel and the rest of the groupe would finishing up in the top 20. After reaching the top of the climb, my legs were as heavy as two elephants and I wasn’t able to continue turnining them. I let some guys including teammate Mika pass in the first few meters of the descent and tried to gain momentum again.
But suddenly I saw the guys in front of me breaking and slipping away in a tight corner. I couldn’t do any breaking and crashed right into them.
Unfortunately people behind us had the same destiny and ran right into us lying on the ground...
It was really sad for me but it also gave me the confidence I needed so badly. I am capable to ride also in front of this peloton!
The next stage was just really bad luck when my chain dropped just at the beginning of the „hot phase“ of the race. I wasn’t able to lift it up while riding and had to stop just on the foot of a little hill. The riders in the peloton used this little hill for attacking and was standing there trying to get my chain on again. When I finally made it, I was in the convoy at car position 16. It took me one hell of a lap to finally get in to the peloton again just to get dropped by riders attacking again when we came to the finishline for the final lap. I just used the energy the other spent now, the lap before...
The following stage was again won by André Greipel whos train is just impressive.
Stage 5 should be the last interesting stage of the TDU at least when it comes to general classification. The circuit with the 3,5K long Old Willung climb and the finish on top was also the years before the crucial stage. I felt not two good but still wanted to do my best for my leader Mika Cherel.
I was able to stay with the peloton after we climbed the first time and for the second time, I tried to pilote Mika to a good position. Unfortunately I didn’t do a too good job and he also didn’t have his best day.
The last stage was again a city circuit which was again won by the Gorilla. This time our launch for Yauheni worked out pretty well just untill two laps to go. The boys told me that after my rolley at the front of the peloton, they lost eachother and couldn’t pilote Yauheni perfectly. Still he came in ninth and honoured our work afterwards.
All in all the stay in Australia was a great adventure for me and I’d love to come back for the next year. This chapter is not closed yet!
The Tour de Med will be the first race in Europe. It is held in France in febuary. Therefore we can either be lucky with the weather or not. Most likely spoiled by the weather in Australia we could have hard times in France.
The stages in the Tour de Med are also not too long, just the last one will finish after 192km. It also features a mountain ITT of 24 kilometers. This should definately show me where I'm situated in the Pro peloton :)
Just saw, that I'll also meet my former team colleagues Bob and Alex there. See you guys!