As usual the Swiss have some pretty crazy ideas, like holding the first National race of the season at over 1000 meters. Fortunately it was a lovely day so there were no weather issues, but there was still a LOT of snow all over the place, as can be seen in the pictures. The race was another Handicap race over 120km where the amateur bunch was let off 8 minutes ahead of our elite bunch. As we had riders in both groups we were not allowed to chase but thanks to the other teams we caught the amateurs on lap four of eight.
Soon after that I went away in a break of six riders and always hovered around one minute ahead of the bunch. Leading up the 3km climb/drag towards the finish for the bell I put in an acceleration and the size of the break was halved. 15km to go, three riders and a raging pack behind. The gap started coming down and we steamed ahead as fast as possible. As we hit the final ascent for the last time, 3km to go, the bunch was hovering at thirty seconds.
I immediately attacked and the UCI Academy rider with us was left behind. With 'ou toppie' Elminger, a masters world champion riding for the Continental team Steg-Computers hanging on my wheel I put in all I had. Not willing to give him a free ride I put in three accelerations, eventually getting rid of him and setting off solo.
With 1500meters to go I came out of the woods, with the finish in sight, but that is where the headwind hit me. I could see the bunch coming closer, bit by bit.
300meters to go I glanced back on final time, and thought that I had it.
Less than 100meters from the line they all came rushing past me... I was spent and could just roll across the line in 22nd place. It's been a while since I needed a little bit of privacy and a quiet corner after a race...
By the time that I got back to the team car I had calmed down enough to be very pleased by the news that our Goat (Matteo Montanari) had actually won the sprint! Not too shabby for the little guy!