26 September 2008

World Champs Time Trial Race Report, Elite Men, Varese 25.09.2008

That didn't go according to plan...
I have a hand full of valid excuses lined up, but at the end of the day I gave it what I had yesterday and came home empty handed. I was disappointed with my final position, but even more so with the way I felt during the ride. Going over the top of rollers I never felt able to get the right gear rolling to take advantage of the downhills.
On a more positive note that does mean that I can do better and that yesterday was not my best day on the bike (who's surprised, first TT in a year... kind of to be expected).
My big goal of not being passed was sadly smashed to smithereens about three kilometers from the line when Janez zoomed past me at what seemed like the speed of light. Being overtaken by someone who has worn the Gold Jersey at the Vuelta Espania is not something to be embarrassed about, but its still never a fun feeling. It just proves what you already know, you aint going fast enough..
So in the end I finished 51st out of 57, way down from my so called 'ranking' of 32nd.
As I finished the race I was stopped by a very friendly and very pregnant lady who turned out to be Hedwig Krรถner from Cyclingnews.com
Shocked as I was, I nearly fell off my bike... I was rude enough to let all the questioning be one sided but never the less was very pleased to be interviewed. Even if I felt my performance on the day did not warrant it (had I mentioned my 132 Europe Tour points it might have been a different matter..).
So this morning I awoke to this nice little surprise http://www.cyclingnews.com/news.php?id=news/2008/sep08/sep26news2
Thanks Hedwig! I really appreciate that and hope to see you at many more races in the future!
Of course Mariano Botta (La Rgione Ticino) and Pierre Carrey were also there, so I felt like quite the celebrity talking to Journo's after the race. Now I just have to get my TTing to correspond with the big talk :)
Meanwhile back at the ranch Bert Grabsch took the win 5minutes 39 faster than me. Svein Tuft the tough Canadian took a well deserved (but surprising) second place and Dave Z got the Bronze. My man Janez nabbed eighth.

25 September 2008

World Champs Time Trial, Elite Men, Varese 25.09.2008

So, Today is the day...
I would like to say that the weather is 'nice' but after using that word to death in my last post I think I'll refrain from that this time and instead say that the weather is fabulous right now. Sun is shining and although it is chilly thanks to the new snow on the nearby mountains it will be perfect by the time I roll off the start ramp at 13h52.
I am nr 32 of 58 riders, which means that there are 26 riders starting in front of me and 31, everyone at 2 minute intervals. I'll take my mid pack ranking as a compliment, thank you very much! Fredrik Ericsson from Sweden is my carrot while I will have little Felix Cardenas of Barloworld/Colombia starting behind me and Janez Brajkovic Astana/Slovenia behind him . That simplifies my first goal of not being passed by anyone during the race, unlike last year...
Final preperation is just about to kick off with a nice bowl of pasta at 9am. This should be fun!
Hold thimbs

13 September 2008


This is Lago di Varese, and the bike that will be taking me around it on 25 September.
One or two minor adjustments and the bike will be ready.          Will I though?

The long wait

Trofeo Morucci was my last race for a while as there is a gaping hole of 18 days without racing between it and the World TimeTrial Champs. Gaps in racing are fine when the form is off or when rest is needed, but when you're flying (and bored) and there are no races around to do, then it is just plain irritating.
On the bright side I do have a lot of time to play around on the TT bike and get myself ready for the sixty minute suffer fest. I'd still rather be racing though...
During the week we took a drive across the border to go and check out the Varese TT course. A mere 60km from here, it still takes an hour in the car thanks to the small roads one has to take. Much better by bike ;)
As for the course. I made the mistake of giving Colombo the map and not paying enough attention myself (not that it would have really helped) so we got lost a few times during the first few km's and completely left out the last 5km as we had run out of time and Davide was waiting for us back at the car. We did however get to see the main descent, the long loop around the lake and the main drag/climb back into town.
What do I think?
I think its going to hurt.
Then again, I didn't really need a degree in rocket science to figure that out.
The course is quite nice. I think that TV viewers should enjoy it as the course is nice and open and there are some nice views, especially along the lake. There are a few nice bumps along the way that'll get the blood flowing and a few corners on the descent that will need some more detailed inspection but in general the roads are quite big and open. Flowing is a nice word to describe it. The last 10km will really really hurt though. After 35km of being on the rivet the route climbs up a wide road winding ever so slightly. Nothing steep, but rather long. That's where the big time differences will appear.
After last years embarrassing ride I am heading in this year without too many expectations. Just that I have to reduce that huuuge 6minute deficit that I was left with last year.

09 September 2008

47th Trofeo Salvatore Morucci 07.09.2008

This weekend we only had to do a 650km drive in order to get to San Martino al Cimino, just north of Rome, for the relatively short 136km Trofeo Morucci. Last years race was a fun affair where I ended up being dropped on the steep inclines heading towards the line, finishing sixth in my last road race of my Euro season. With better form and more motivation this time round I was keen on making amends.
Hanging around the start area it became obvious that the turnout was rather disapointing and that there were only four teams that were seemed really threatening. With just about the whole Russian National team, Aran/Cantina-Tollo's Fabio Taborre and Anton Sintsov of Calzaturieri Montegranaro having recently won big races it would never be a walk in the park, even if there were just 90 starters. Aussie, Pat Shaw also pitched up for the fun so at least I got a few words of English in for a change!
Like last year a break got away pretty quickly and I found myself up front with Konrad and 15 others, all working together harmoniously (amazing). Half way into the race we hit the first of three climbs, this one also going past the finish line and up some pretty nasty bits with cobbles and several walls. Our group started splintering slowly but surely and by the time we got to the top I found myself in front in a group of four. From there on it was pretty straight forward. Ride hard, force the pace on the second long climb, outfox Taborre to win the KOM and get to the base of the final 3km climb.
Long before we reached the final climb it became obvious that the fourth rider was just hanging on for dear life. Taborre seemed fresh as a daisy and I could not tell how the Russian, Kochetkov, was feeling (how unusual). As we hit the climb Kochetkov went and I was on his wheel. Taborre jumped next and I was there again pretty quickly. Almost immediately he went again and this time Kochetkov was dislodged (the other guy was long gone by then). I pushed the pace to distance the Russian but worked a bit to hard as we were on a wall and as I told Taborre to go through he jumped and immediately got a gap.
Try as I might there was no closing that gap, so all I could do was go as hard as possible for the last kilometer and sprint up the brutally steep finish to grab a very nice second place.
This gives me my sixth result in the top five out of my last ten races. Not too shabby me thinks.
Next up... Worlds TT... And now I have to make sure that I don't make a fool of myself like I did last year...

04 September 2008

Brief update

After going AWOL on my blog for a while I decided it was about time to peek back in and get some updates posted. There was a brief upset with the link from DC.com to the blog but thanks to Carinus that was quickly put right again.
As for actual news from my side, after a lot of fabulous one day races in August I ended up getting sick right before Giro Valle d'Aosta, my seasons goal... I just had a nasty cold and cough. But with all of my power gone and only 36 hours before the start we made the decision to give Lukas my spot and I took a step back. Irritating to say the least but there was nothing else to do.
Needless to say I was healthy pretty soon so Konrad and I set about putting in some good riding to get over the pain of being left behind and making hay while the sun shines!
Now the hay making is over as the bad Cape Town weather has spread to this part of the world and we have a wet week ahead of us.
That's broken up by a little trip to Rome for Trofeo Morucci on Sunday. Got sixth last year and loved the course. Interesting times!