For the 3rd stage of the tour of poland we finally got to race on polish soil! Was a pretty long journey on the menu today, 226km with 15km of neutral transfer before km 0 so by days end we had logged almost 250km once the ride to start and bus after the finish were factored in. After the 2 days in high mountains today was for the sprinters and while it was rarely flat it was certainly not an overly challenging terrain so gave me a good chance to get a little much needed race rhythm into my holiday legs!! The tour of poland is always full of surprises and hidden difficulties and today was no different with an annoying light drizzle peppering us all day. It was annoying as it was not heavy enough to be called rain but not light enough not to wear a rain jacket so was just uncomfortable. Also there was just enough to make the road wet and not soaked which always seems to be more dangerous than if its just pouring down.
In any case the race went to script with a small break skipping clear early and building up a healthy lead until a chase was organised behind. I felt better as the day went on, nothing like 5hrs of motor pace to snap some life back into the pins and by the time we entered the 6km finish circuits we were to complete 3 times I was ready to lay down some watts and help our captain daniele ratto to a good sprint result. With 18km to go the break still had over 2minutes so when I heard this I immediately went to the front and started pulling full full gas. At this point if the gap does not start to drop quickly the break gets a sniff and you can't let that happen! I felt great at the head of the field and enjoyed committing all my horses to the chase to see how quickly I could pull the peleton along. There something cool about going absolutely full gas at the head of the field and when no one wants to swap with you you know you are doing a decent job of it so I loved the chance to pull as long and hard as I could in those final 18km. It was great training and these first few days of racing have been great for my confidence in light of hitting my straps for the tour of spain. With a lap to go the break was back to 20sec and I was cooked but knew it would all come back together. Unfortunately ratto got a bit caught out inb the sprint but it was great to see thor win if ratto could not. He is a lovely bloke and always has time for a chat so always nice to see the good guys of the bunch getting up for the win. Not only that but to see steele van hoff finish 2nd was also awesome, he is an adopted tasmanian and I have had the honour of spending many hrs training down in southern tassie with him. Its always a case of pinching yourself thinking in january we were chasing andrew christie johnson behind his scooter back into richmond before having a sprint to the bakery! Now we are here in europe racing amongst the worlds best and that sprint of steeles that if have seen so many times in training is now going head to head with the worlds best, pretty cool I reckon! It won't be long until he scores a big big win!
Tomorrow we have pretty the same in store as today so looking forward to a little more motor pace and hopfully some full gas work in the final km's to keep the shock and awe tactic pumping through my pins which are still stuck in holiday mode! Getting there!
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