Monday, April 28, 2014

Turkey Stage 2

It appeared that the fun in the sun had come to an abrupt end this morning. We woke up to grey skies and as soon as we began our 6km trundle down to the start area the heavens opened and we got soaked to the proverbial you know what!! And we hadn't even started the race yet! We quickly signed on and retreated to the van and for the first time in my professional cycling career did a full change of cloths before the race began. Now toasty and warm and ready for a fresh attack on the inclement weather conditions the weather gods decided to smile upon us and when the flag dropped it warm barmy and sunny once again much to everybodies relief. So off we went for stage 2 and on paper looked like it would be a carbon copy of 24hrs earlier and end in a bunch sprint. That suited us just fine and after refining our final 10km execution the cannondale pro clan started stage 2 full of optimism for another great result from elia.

As expected all went to the script from km 0. A small break was set free and the teams of the sprinters quickly gained and maintained tight control on how much rope the escapees would be given. The break never got far away so was nice and calm and relaxed in the group, everybody seemed content for another nice gentle day enjoying the turkish coastline. Our boys like yesterday assembled around elia and we're always alert and ready for any sudden changes in conditions but for the most part it was a very chatty peleton today as everybody caught up with there buddies in the bunch.

Off course I took the opportunity to have a chat with some of my fellow colleges, today most commonly Adam Hanson. Adam is perhaps the most interesting and intelligent cyclist in the peleton. He has a degree in computer programming and as a result is a genius with technology. Most of you who follow the sport would also be aware of the custom shoes adam makes for himself made of carbon fiber. He has 7 pairs here in turkey and plans on wearing a different pair each day. I guess he has probably made 21 pairs for the upcoming giro!! Each sporting a different design, wouldn't put anything by Adam! Yesterday we briefly chatted about him doing up one of his Ferrari's and he said he was making many parts himself. I was quite intrigued by this so asked him a bit of a rundown on how he makes not only his shoes but car parts and no doubt anything else carbon fiber with his bare hands. As always it was an incredibly enlightening conversation and suffice to say I am much more knowledgeable on moulds, silicon, vacuum packs, air pockets, and the different types of sheets of carbon fiber available than I was before the start of stage 2 this morning. I make sure I really pay attention when adam is explaining somthing as he is one of those unique guys who really enjoys sharing his knowledge with you and also likes broadening your knowledge base on the given topic of conversation. We also discussed some intricacies of what he has discovered during his time spent performing his "hobby" or "passion" as he calls it. Discoveries which when he explained to me I feel have the potential to change the direction of certain cycling parifanallia quite substantially in the future!! That's all I will say on the matter as the things he discussed are truly ground breaking discovies so watch his brand hanseno very closely in the future should he decide to commercialize any of these ideas. Anyways was great to catch up with the crocodile man adam Hanson today during the stage.

Back to the race and not a lot to report really. Was basically a carbon copy of yesterday however unfortunately elia got a little out maneuvered in the final scrappy run to the line and finished 7th. Senior Sagan Juraj did a great job helping shut down the early break in the final 15km and like yesterday the remaining 6 of us were on the front at 10km to go. Today we reshuffled the order a little with krizek and I, not intentionally but I just happened to be behind formula 1 formolo when he finished winding up the pace with 5km to go. Elia had again simply asked that we get his leadout man motorbike marongoni as close to 2km to go as possible and from there he would be fine. So kept the big dog rolling for a couple of kms before krisek took over around 3km to go. Marongoni then took his turn and at 1km Elia was right where he wanted to be like yesterday but unfortunately it was all a little scrappy and the result was not what Elia had been planning on. Despite this all the guys did exactly what was asked of them and was certainly even more organized than yesterday so I was really pleased to see the improvement in the cannondale clan from this perspective atleast. It's important when you have one of the fastest sprinters in the world on your team that no matter what team elia is racing with can do the basics in positioning him for a chance to have a crack at the sprint. We don't feel we have the firepower to do a full on lead out train train but certainly a team capable of contributing and see improvement daily in this area is very encouraging for the remainder of the season.

Tomorrow will see a big change in the landscape of the race. We will leave the beauty of the coastline and head inland to the turkish mountains. Tomorrow on paper at least is certainly the queens stage of this year's race and should have the greatest impact on the final general classification. I personally am very excited about tomorrow, it's one of those rare days that basically only goes uphill so after my stint in tenerife climbing up and down the volcano I am looking forward to seeing where all that work has put my climbing condition. So bring on stage 3, I am sure my favourite team mate will be right up the front aswell so will be exciting to also see what his young and enthusiastic legs do to the peleton!

Cjw