It seems a good kick up the backside does me wonders in a bike race. After almost single handedly ruining the race for my team yesterday I woke up this morning determined to show them I was sorry and that I wanted to be apart of the action. Yesterday I had tried to be cagey and save energy in the group which when racing in aus doesn't always work. Infact whenever I have performed well in aus I have always adopted the attack is the best form of defence policy! So today that was my plan, don't miss a dangerous breakaway!
As expected from the gun riders shot out of the bunch like fire cracker's. Most significantly the 2 simons, clarke and gerrans were very active so I was pretty sure it was a day for the breakaway. So I joined in and was immediately in a dangerous move. Nobody seemed to want to work with me so we of course got brought back, no worries will keep trying. At this point our kiwi climbing ace george bennett came to me and said greenedge are wanting a guy up there and then sending gerrans of clarke accross. George's tactical nous is pretty impressive so I always trust his advice so I stayed alert for this. The attacks kept going and the ferocity with which garmin chased got less and less so the rubber band was stretching!!
I was now super alert to georges advice and then I saw the move going. Mitch docker from greenedge attacked and I immediately got boivin to chase after him so we were in the same boat. They were now up the road and then sure enough simon clarke bolted from the pack and I was hot on his heels. George had read it perfectly. The group swelled a little and we were now setting sail to a 3minute lead and while this is not much I knew that there was a very good chance the peleton would not see us again all day.
Up in the break we worked OK. Docker and Boivin did the bulk of the work and I kept rolling through regularly with a handfull of others. Quite a few spent the day sitting on but that didn't bother me, both jack haig and simon clarke were chipping in and they were the riders I knew would play a big part in the race on mt alexander. As we approached this pivotal kom 50km from the finish we still had a minute and I knew we had a big big chance now. My plan all day was pretty simple, get to the 5km moderate to hard climb with some sort of advantage and then open the throttle. That was if anybody did make it accross to us then I would only be strong riders and that would increase our chances of the breakaway making it to the finish. So onto the final 3km and the hard part of mt alexander!
I immediately took the head of the field. Boivin had burried himself for me and it was now time for me to show him why. I quickly checked my srm which had ticked over the 3hr mark and my average power was only 240watts. Beauty in thought to myself, I did this power for almost 14hrs last thursday so I was as fresh as a daisy! It was time to open the throttle. I set a tempo to thin out the group and wait for simon clarke and jack haig to attack. Sure enough it came a couple of km's from the top so I just upped the anti a bit to ride back to them. The group was now down to 5 so I though bugger you lot if your going to attack me and slow down I will keep the pace going and keep some sting in your legs. Soon it was down to 4 and 200m from the top they attacked again for the kom points and I figured I am doing 430-450watts they are not going to far so I will just stay in my comfort zone and save my legs to ride them back across the top. Simon knew what I was up to and over the top he told the boys to wait which made it even easier for me to get back on, thanks pal!! As soon as I got back on I went straight back to the front and drilled it on the false flat accross the top of the mountain. This is always a spot where everyone is looking for a breather and I knew we could take some quick time out of what was left of the peleton. The tempo also dislodged another from the group and it w as finally the riders I had expected, Clarke, haig and Me! Onto the decent!!
Jack haig is a local bendigo boy and this next decent we needed to drop like stones. We had opened the gap from 38seconds on the climb to 1min over the top so we needed to keep it rolling. Jack being local took the bull by the horns on the decent and simon and I literally put our lives in his hands! We flew down this twisty narrow road having no idea where we were going except following the boy in blue ahead of us. Finally with a sigh of relief we hit the bottom. It was time for the hardest 35km 3man TTT we had ever ridden.
When we heard garmin had only 3 riders left to chase it was music to our ears, it was now man against man, 3 on 3, perfect. This inspired us and we really dropped the hammer! We were working extremely well together doing even pulls and to give you an idea I was pulling at between 400-460 watts for 20 second periods so I knew while kept this up behind they needed 600 watts to close us down and for anybody that's not easy. At 15km we 1:30sec and if you follow the great phil liggits's tried and trusted formula around 1min per 10km is about the most a peleton can chase down on the run to the line. Under normal circumstances we were still no more than an even chance but in reality we had a greater than normal chance as it was not an entire peleton chasing us and merely a few guys. At 10km to we knew we had it. 19 year old jack haig had ridden himself into the ground to make this break work and was now having to stay in the wheels. This did not bother simon and I as we knew he had committed and without him we would not have survived. Jack haig is going to be a big player in the peleton in years to come so remember that name.
Inside 10km to go and we knew we were home and hosed. We agreed to work full gas together until the final couple of hundred meters and the best sprinter would win. Simon and I charged on and jack hung on for grim death. At 200m to go Simon kicked like and absolute Mule and I had no chance of going after him let alone trying to sprint past him. Simon really deserved the win today and I am very pleased for him and even happier the responsibility is on him and his team to control the bike race for tomorrow.
So what a day. It was capped of with second most aggressive rider award after the one I won at TDU. This one was a little more special as its sponsored by Subaru and as a Subaru ambassador I was happy to win the prize they sponsor. I earnt my first podium place for Cannondale since I joined the team in 2011 so again that's a nice little box to tick off. Just need to knuckle down now and see if I can finish one better in the future!
Today's race data:
Ave Power: 303 watts
Ave heart rate: 160BPM
Max Power: 1060watts
Max Heart Rate: 194BPM
Kcal Burnt: 4350
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device