On Friday the 3rd of June Peter Georgi, Etienne, Mark Cox, Matt and Myself travelled the long trip up to Scotland for a hard weekend up North.
Stage 1 was a rolling course with a flat sprint finish, 40 miles, Stage 2 a little rolling too with a 10 minute climb at the end, 36 miles, stage 3 rolling again with 3 4-5 minute climbs in and some tough twisty lanes on the final shorter circuit to make up for the climbs, 60 miles.
Stage one I made 2 efforts to get away but both were chased down, it was a fairly basic stage with the break going but the final rider getting caught with 4km to go to end with a bunch sprint, myself and other team mate Matt rolled through in the bunch, sadly Etienne was shoved onto into the grass verge and flipped over his bars onto some grass inside the final 1.5km, the 3km rule was on his side and he also had a bunch time.
Stage two, a very interesting stage. I sat in for the first half of the race to conserve energy and suss out the race kind of thing. Peter Kibble followed an attack from a rider, knowing Rob Scott and Will Roberts were up the road I thought I’d best bridge too, with Petes team mate Matt Walls on the front blocking I instantly put out a max kick and then the break was formed. With the other rider unable to work after the 10 mins and not being able to come through very often myself and Pete were left to do the work ourselves. With 20 minutes to go Etienne my team mate managed to bridge across and as the bunch had now gotten to 30 seconds he helped keep the pace high in the headwind section as we worked hard to bring out the time a little more as it was only 4km from the climb! Once on the climb Etienne was setting the pace on the front whilst I marked Pete as he was now inbetween the two of us, we caught Will.R and now with only 6 mins to go of the climb and stage we had to catch Rob, my legs werent 100% as were Petes im guessing as over the course of the stage we had a lot of work to do in 40 minutes up the road to catch Rob and Will, so with 250m to go we caught Rob who had been out for over an hour and a half and must of been destroyed, having sat onto us until the final corner I then saw the line, I didnt think the line was that early and to my mistake I came from 3rd wheel, Etienne got a gap over me in the last 150 and I sprinted so so hard to try to pass him but it was only good enough for half a wheel length! A great 1-2 for us two though and now being 1-2 on GC we had a lot of defending for the final stage on day 2!
Stage three was a tough stage mentally and physically, so many attacks were being thrown out so early so frequently and we just couldnt jump on them all else we’d of probably lost out worse being too tired for the final climbs, so we let the break form, over the first climb we heard 3 mins 30, so myself and Etienne (in the leaders jersey) had to do some chasing. Over climb 2 of 3 of the day I sat at a 2 minute pace over 400w on the climb, I rarely ride to power in a race as unless your alone its fairly pointless, but I did and it worked, sitting at my pace in a cross tailwind on the climb i dropped the group down to a nice size of 10 or so riders with Etienne taking over the less steep part of the climb, a group of 20 managed to catch us as we were working at a pace we knew we could hold for the rest of the race and they were desperately working to catch us, which they did within 10 minutes. Skipping to the final lap we now had about 10 of us working and we got some really good through and off going, the maximum gap got up to 3 minutes 56 or so and we now had the split up break in sight, with a group of 7 just up ahead the team cars pulled out of the way and we stormed past them picking up my team mate Matt Cox who was unable to make the first group on the road as his rear mech cable had snapped! He added to the fire power rather a lot as he got into the break to sit on, which knowing what we know now and his gear gable snapping worked perfectly for the relatively flat run in to the finish, with only 4 riders left up the road Matt really had the hammer down helping to protect myself and Etienne who more so were on the lookout for any final jumps as there were 2 possible riders who could try to attack us. Matt helped diminish our group further, sending riders out of the back as the pace through the seriously technical section set by myself then further driven on by Matt helped tire the race. We caught the 4 with 4 Km to go and Matt then sat on the front for 2Km before 800m to go where his hard efforts left us pretty much with just the sprint, myself feeling tired as heck from helping drive really deep in the final 20km constant felt it in the sprint coming in at 22nd place.
Once I got home I received an apology saying I should of been in the leaders jersey on the final stage, causing me to ride the final stage differently I was gutted to think I could have won the race overall! A learning curve also, I thought that a big race would have gotten it right but in future I need to check things over for myself.
Overall I was still pleased to have kept my 2nd on GC overall.
Thanks to Epic Cycle coaching
Stealth secret training
Pete Georgi and Mark Cox, Thanks all!