Yesterday we did a 200km 1.2 race in Central France. I headed off, always keen to race in France but without any high expectations, we were racing Agritubel and a bunch of Conti teams after all, not to mention the 9+ hour drive the previous day and the less than ideal accomodation.
What a shocker....
I went in the first break after 4km, we were caught by another break and were 30 off the front. No harmony so off I went again with 10 others. Mid race we were caught again to form 30 riders off the front. No harmony once more so off I went with 4 others, taking ALL of the KOM points along the way. 40km from the end 6 riders caught us and Jaro and I formed part of the 11 man break. Once again no harmony so I put in a silly little attack which was brought back quickly. Jaro countered it and I found myself on the wheel of a AG2R (amateur team) rider who jumped after Jaro. I followed him and was about to drop off his wheel when I noticed that no one was chasing us.
We bridged across to Jaro and off we went. 25km from the finish Jaro asked me if I wanted to win, to which I responded YESSSS (of course!). End of discussions. From there on Jaro took monster turns and I could soft wheel my turns. 15km from the end we started attacking the Frenchie and it was not long before a move of mine stuck. Now I had the small problem that I had to TT to the line on my own, into a headwind at times and over a million little rollers. My gap initially increased but then slowly started shrinking, just as my energy started hitting negative figures..
The race ends with a 1.2km climb (apparently up to 7%)and then 300meters flat to the line. It felt as if I was standing still while going up there. I could not believe that the Frenchie (with Jaro sitting comfy on his wheel) did not catch me. Once I crested the top of the hill and had the line in sight I still could not believe that I was about to win the race... But seeing several motorbikes behind me let me know that I still had a reasonable gap.
I crossed the line giving the Namlish sign, but an absolutely dead man. Nothing left to give. Just over 20 second back Jaro came in behind the Frenchie, but he was to busy celebrating my win to really sprint for second place himself.
Now that is what you call a team mate!
Pics and more coming soon.