Sunday, July 17, 2011

2 From 2 for the green machine

After the great win by elia viviani in arono on Friday the team was again full of optimism for another win for simone ponzi yesterday in the second race of the arona racing weekend. After taking his first victory as a professional 2 weeks ago in Slovenia, simone was full of confidence and so were the team that he could get the job done. Therefore the battle plan was set by our director Mario scirea in the team meeting before the start and each of the 8 riders new exactly what was expected. I had my usual role of control the size of the break getting away and ensuring nothing too dangerous got up the rd. The 1st 50km was pretty much downhill to the lakeside town of arona on the shores of lago maggorie were we would begin 8 laps of a very challenging 15km circuit containing 4 small 1-2km climbs each lap. Due to so many people wanting to get away it was a very fast start and predicably all together after 50km when we reached the circuits. This was were we kicked into gear. After benefiting from the work of the team the day before, our two sprinters in jacabo and elia went straight to the front to set a pace that discouraged attacks. Sure enough 2 brave soles slipped away but that was it so objective one complete. For 4 laps our fastmen became super domestics and buried themselves to control the race and I found myself in the unique position of not working immediately and was moved back in the working order to later in the race so I was pretty excited about that. When the boys finally had given there all they swung off and instead of me taking up the work as planned Lampre decided to flex their muscles and take control of the peleton and I got shuffled back into the bunch. Having not really had much time in the bunch lately due to spending so much time working on my suntan up front the previous few races, I actually felt quite claustrophobic to all of a sudden having everyone bumping into me again, back to the real world of cycling I guess. I quickly got over this and started to switch into another unique opportunity of saving my energy for when it was required later in the race than I had anticipated being used when the race got under way. Not being very patient this again took a little while for me to accept but then once i relaxed and accepted i had to sit in the bunch i actually quit enjoyed it. For the next few laps lampre continued to work away and with 1 lap remaining I realised there was only 20 riders left in the front of the race, 3 of which from liquigas-cannondale and realised it was finally time for me to get to the front and with the nod of the head from team captain for the day simone Ponzi I ripped out a turn which like all great captains he launched an attack forming a selection of only 4 riders with 6km to go. From this point I just played policeman in the remainder of the peleton ensuring no other riders got across to make simone’s job any more difficult in the arrival. Simoni inturn delt with the other 3 riders very easily in the sprint to take his second win in as many races. All in all another very enjoyable day and for me made more enjoyable due to completely different role I played than the day before. It is always a nice feeling to be in the small group at the end of a hard race and then to also be able to help my team mate from that position is always a little more special than the mindless hrs of controlling a peleton for a sprint. For me it was a double victory as not only did simone win the race but I managed not crash! Finally after crashing in 3 consecutive races I had managed to keep my bike upright and although this should just be norm I was super duper excited to finally finish a race with all my skin intact. Another exciting part of the weekend was the arrival of my dad and his wife kellee and her 2 children haylee and ryan. Like the day dad arrived last year at the tour of Austria and my teammate Leonardo Bertagnoli won the stage, he arrived on Friday to see elia win the sprint. So to then have the team take the win again yesterday so his presence seems to have a bit of a patch of good fortune for my cycling team so it is obviously great having him here!!!!

Facts for the stage
Time: 4hrs 10min
Speed: 41.5kmph
Distance: 173km
Watts average: 290
Heart Rate: 151
Energy: 4350kcal
Elevation Gain: 2250

So after my little mid year break I have suffered through the week to get going again and after 2 hard days of racing the cobwebs are gone and its full gas form here to the end of the season.

cjw