Tour de Taiwan wrapped up today for 2012 and for me, all be it a little biased was the most exciting day of the race. I started the day with 3 objectives, 1stly was to do everything possible to assist our Malaysian pocket rocket anwa in the predicted bunch sprint, 2nd ensure our Malaysian missile finishes in a good position and maintains his position on gc and 3rdly cause myself as much pain and suffering in the process of achieving the aforementioned goals. To do this I figured forcing a break, hopefully with Adiq in it would be a good idea and hope that some riders ahead of him miss it. Therefore I was launching of the front from the get go and our boys were on there toes, we were in every move and covered 50km in the first hr of racing. At this point a Nast false flat into appeared I front of us and symboled the most difficult terrain of the stage thus far. Having averaged 170 heart rate for the 1st hr is was already on suffer st but saw an opportunity to launch at a place I felt not to many would be to keen to follow and if they did I hoped it would be those equally determined as me to make the race as hard as possible. So off I went and I felt great, sure enough it did force a break, a little smaller than I had hoped, only 4 riders but most importantly it had a good chemistry. We had the points classification leader in lee Rogers whom had been in the break every day this week and was desperate to wrap up the competition so dedicated to driving, vladamire gustov of Saxobank whom is one of the peletons greatest domestics as has had ridden about 40 grand tours and along with the likes of Stuy o Grady, Matt heyman and Jens voight are the riders I aspire to ride like. Having him there was a true honour for me and with him being on 50sec down on gc he had a lot of motivation to ride. We did unfortunately have a hong kong rider whom did not wan to work with us but we did not care and the 3 of us set about trying to break the bunch. We gave it a good nudge and our lead fluctuated between 30-90seconds all day and my heart rate between 170-180 all day so it felt great to be reminding myself of how enjoyable it is to push yourself and suffer in this sport and a good reminder to myself of why I love it so much. After 80 working on our suntans and cardio vascular systems to the max we surrounded with 5pm to with now the sprinters teams sniffing the bunch sprint. It was frustrating and to be honest we could have hurried ourselves a little more and maby just maby survived but most likely survived but more than likely not. Known this and as we have the mentality of a domestic our focus had switched to our sprinters and once we retreated to the bunch it was focus on the them. So after 1km to catch my breath after probably the most painful attempt at holding off the bunch I have ever had, I rounded up anwa and was drilling it down the side of the bunch to drop him off in a prime posi. Unfortunately just as he found his little spot his front tyre decided it no longer wished to be inflated and he was out of the sprint. Now I switched my focus to Adiq and made sure he was up front and out of trouble before going back to see if I could find anwa but of course due to his flat which at this point I was u aware of he was out the back. So my last km of the tour de Taiwan was spent patrolling the back of the field feeling I had certainly inflicted enough pain on myself for the day and that my body was finally ready for Europe. In fact I was in such a state of not feeling overly well that I spotted the golden arches soon after the finish, rode straight through the front door and demanded the coolest iciest thick shape they could produce uses the nicest manners I was capable off. I think the state of me helped a lot as I received the most beautifully chilled thick chocolate milkshake ever created and my body instantly praised me from within. Adiq meanwhile was living up to his malaysian missile status and earnt a seriously classy 3rd in the very tired bunch sprint so again it was great that in one was the miles off the front had zapped a bit of the zing out of the pure sprinters and Adiq was able to demonstrate that his certainly a very all round capable rider and I am looking forward to seeing big big thing from him in the future.
For me it was great 1st race with the champion systems team and the chance to work with the asian riders was more enjoyably than I could have imagined, from where we were at the start of the week to how we worked I the past couple of days where we actually started to execute race plans was a really enjoyable experience. It's certain going to be a great season and exciting to see the program developed.
Now I am in hong kong en route to Europe. One great thin about doing such a massive number on myself today is that i will sleep like a log so I can't wait to get on that plane and quite literally pass out.