Stage 1 TDU
Stage 1 of tour down under is in the books for 2013 and with it the 1st official world tour race day of the cannondale pro cycling team. Without a specific sprinter we had planned for a reasonably quiet day with the main objective to avoid trouble and not lose any time ahead of the GC battle later in the week. All seemed to be going perfect. The course was a real real ripper! It had enough twists and turns and ups and downs in it to make you sea sick!! This would normally make for a stress full day but not when your riding with the cannondale boys. As usual the squad stuck together like glue in the peleton ensuring a safe and relaxed as possible ride in the bunch. With all seeming to go to plan I was happily rolling along close to the front of the bunch when out of nowhere my front wheel was clipped and while I stayed upright half of my spokes where ripped out. This happened with about 8km to go and while going downhill at about 80kmph. This presented a few little problems for me. 1st I needed to change my wheel, but first I had to get to the back of the peleton to do it. With the wheel starting to collapse it became a tricky situation of slowing down, falling out the back of the bunch, ensuring I don't bring any riders down as they pass me, and trying to do all this before my wheel completely collapses.
This all worked out fortunately and I pulled it up and assumed the neutral service car would pull up along side me and I would be underway in no time. This did not happen which meant waiting on the side of the Rd for the team car which was last inline and in turn the race was disappearing up the Rd. I tried not to panic and got underway and felt confident I. The knowledge that I had teammates waiting for me to bring me back. Alan marrangoni and then Brian vanborg rode like motor bikes to get me back on but the all seemed against us. The group kept splitting on the rolling rds and eventually a large group was dropped out of the bunch and the cars were blocked with a few kms to go. At this point the race is going full gas a the front so it was game over for me and consequently I lost a bucket load of time and failed to achieve the only objective I had for the day which was not to lose time. I certainly think the circumstances worked against me but also I was perhaps a little anxious and over zealous in my initial desperation to rejoin the race which burnt me up a little quicker than I would have liked. Having said that if I had been patient the group would have been split by the time got back through the cars so the result would most likely have been the same. It is actually the 1st I have had a mechanical in such a situation and as a worker normally it does not matter as gc is not my role. At this years tdu GC was my role so it really stings and hurts when this sort of misfortune hits but no use crying over spilt milk!!
The good news for the day is that our other climbers all stayed up front and as a result will carry the flag for GC. Stefano agostini, our little pocket rocket showed that 8 months without racing is no drama for him. He blew out the cobwebs today with a very promising 19th place which is an ominous sign for the upcoming stages which will surely be better suite to his powerful little frame. I feel terrible that 2 riders sacrificed themselves for me and in the end I ruined there day aswell as my own. I am sure I will get a chance to help them out again during the season. I am sure that as the race goes on our boys will get strong and stinger by the day so I am now looking forward to helping them out in anyway I can. As the stage went on I could see all the guys looking stronger and stronger and have no doubt that will continue thoughout the week so despite me letting the team down all is still on track for a positive start to the 2013 season for cannondale pro cycling.
The great thing about the 1st Race day of the season is that there are plenty more to come!!! So time to through caution to the wind and Onwards and upwards!
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