My first ever UCI stage race (Ster Van Zuid Limburg) could probably not of gone much worse, with stage one having mechanical issues and illness caused a 6 minute penalty to my TT time, the stomach cramps carried through to stage 2 also leaving me in the second group and not up there with the winners. After taking some anti diarrhea pills for stage 3 I felt well enough to race. After positioning myself well for this stage near the front all race for the first 50 minutes until the 3 climbs approached. Up the first climb I was in around 30th and went past many that were clearly struggling, climb 2 being a lot easier not many got dropped. Come the final climb I felt good and knew I was going to stay in the front group no matter what, my team mate Robin Blummel who won stage 2, was also in 3rd overall on GC and in the sprinters jersey, so I gave him a push and a big shove to keep us both in the race, as we turned the top right corner the leaders had around 4-5 seconds on us, so nothing hard to catch on a technical downhill. However I felt something quite odd, I looked down and my rear tire was semi flat so I thought hopefully its a slow puncture and can continue, then I felt the damn rim. I had to stop and saw the lead group of 20 ride away from me, seeing other stragglers pass while i waited for exactly a minute before a random bloke approached with a wheel and insisted he changed it, After 25 seconds of not being able to get the wheel into the frame I quickly got frustrated and undid the damn quick release and put the wheel in and rode off. All which seemed like forever I was on the side for 1 minute and 42 seconds after looking at the data. With the racing being nearly full gas everywhere I knew there was no way I could catch back 1 and a half minutes even to the second group. After riding the bad tire for only a few seconds I took the bottom corner easy and still it slid out a little but I luckily stayed on unlike my poor team mate Matt Cox whose front wheel was ridden into which was a shame as he had a great weekend until this point, riding strongly in the TT as the fastest road bike finisher by a long way! (Also going to these events and riding flat races arent completely my thing, however im still looking for a podium at one of these big races, especially if im lucky and get a hilly one) However learning so much over the weekend all about positioning in the UCI’s and how to race properly has benefited me so much, also knowing I’m a very strong rider in the top level is a great morale boost and hope to do well this weekend at the Totnes Vire stage race only 10 miles from my house!
Thanks ever so much to TWC Pijnenburg for hosting the weekend and making it a great one!
And to Mark Cox for booking hotels, ferry and driving not just loads of miles but lots of hours due to a 6 hour delay for the ferry covering 12 miles in that time. I really appreciate all of the help!
Be sure to check out my sponsors page, because without any of those I wouldn’t have been there that weekend, Thankyou!
Thanks to Epic Cycle coaching
Stealth secret training