Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tour of Wellington

Stage 1
This was a short and quick 7km teams time trial, in which you just have to ride flat out to stay with in reach of the other top teams.

The Subway Avanti Team plan was to go out of the blocks and hold nothing back to go for the win. Jason Allen was pulling some massive turns, like he would when riding the track. The rest of us were just doing our best to come over the top of him and keep the speed high. In the process 'no calves' Eric hurt himself like he's never hurt before and made himself sick at the finish! 

We were only one second off the pace, finishing 2nd on the stage. A good result as it meant we didn't have to ride on the front for the next stage (no jersey to defend), saving energy, and then try to take yellow in a bunch kick.

Stage 2
From the start it was full gas with attacks everywhere... left, right and even up the middle of the bunch. Nothing stuck and the bunch stayed together right up until the 90km mark. 

There we came to a 7km climb, which was my chance to get away. As I was about to attack to ride up to a small selection, a spoke went in the back wheel... that was my race done and dusted. 

By the time i got a wheel change and started to chase, the time gaps had blown out big time, so I ended up riding to the finish in the laughing bunch and losing 7 minutes. Gutted.

Stage 3
The queen stage of the tour. We had Eric sitting 4th on GC, so had to make sure he had a nice easy ride to the bottom of the last climb, and try have someone up in the break so we didn't have to do any chasing. 

As it worked out the stage was once again full gas with attacking for the first 30km. The bunch let a break go, and lucky for me, I made the break. Had spent most of my energy getting into the early moves on the stage, but I rolled around with the break, getting a maximum gap of 3 mins, before the peloton slowly pulled us back on the 2nd to last climb. 

Made it over the top with the GC leaders, and did some domestique duties, going back to the team car to get bottles for the lads. Got dropped on the last climb, Eric held on to his 4th place on GC.

Stage 4
This was the last road stage and my final chance to get into an early move and hope like hell it makes it to the finish. The break had gone and I was still sitting in the bunch, bugger. Launched myself across the gap, but this took some doing – I was in 'no mans land' for a few minutes and what seemed like a lot of kilometres. 

Eventually made it across and lead out my team mate James for the 3 KOM sprints (he won 2 out of the 3). The peloton didn't want this break to surive either and we were caught on the run into the finish about 10km out. Stage came down to a bunch kick.

Stage 5
Masterton Criterium. Nothing to report here, apart from the crazy heat hitting Masterton streets. Apparently race director, Jorge Sandoval is planning on axing this crit for next year. Thanks Jorge!

Stage 6
The ITT around the bays. This was it, my last chance of a good result on the tour, so I didn't hold back anything here. I know this road very well, riding on it 3 times a week and knew deep down that I could pull out a special ride. 

Pre-rode the course before the start of the event and decided the strategy was to ride more conservatively to the turn at halfway and then red-line it all the way back to the finish. 

Put my game face on at the start line and launched into the ride. Set the benchmark time, which would only get beaten by the top two guys on GC in the tour (Vennell and McDonald). Was a long and nervous wait, but was super happy with 3rd place on the stage, 5 seconds behind winner Jeremy Vennell.

Stage 7
Lambton Quay criterium. Emptied myself on the opening part of the stage, riding on the front for a good 15 minutes to string out the peloton as much as possible and try to set up one of my Subway Avanti team mates to get away. Gordy went off the front by himself, got caught and then battled it out at the finish, taking second on the stage.

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