Saturday, April 30, 2011

Stage 7 turkey

It has been a pretty quiet stage here today in the tour of turkey. After the past 5 consecutive difficult days everybody in the bunch was pretty keen for an easy day. Garmin and lampre had a brief show of strength to try and split up the peleton but unfortunately there was not enough wind and they abandond the raid and attempt to retake the leaders jersey. I surprizingly felt pretty good today after my blow up yesterday so was pleased i was able to recover from such a difficult stage. Looking ahead to tomorrows stage it should be more of the same with a bunch sprint but as i have seen in the previous days things can change pretty quick so will certainly need to be alert. Looking forward to a good days racing to end a great week traveling along the turkish coast on a bicycle.

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Friday, April 29, 2011

Stage 6 turkey

After the highs of stage 5 everything came crashing down yesterday. Along with the race leader thomas peterson i cracked big time on the final major climb of the tour under the pressure of attacks from the french fdj team. I had been optimistic about my chances on the climb of defending my position but early in the stage i was feeling like the energy levels where not quite right and although i tried to force down the carbs for fuel as soon as it was time to push i was in serious difficulty and by the top of the climb i was only seeing white and grey and no colour so the classic signs of a serious blow up. I recovered a little along with peterson the race leader and along with my very trusty and faithful team mate francesco belloti and another garmin rider we tried to bridge to the lead group which was now 30 riders so was always going to be difficult to peg back firstly without tom and i offering much fire power and with the 3rd 4th and 5th riders on gc all dropping us on the climb they had bridged to the days main breakaway of 20riders and they had alot of horse power. We pushed hard all for the final 40km but in the end lost 2min and tom and i slipped to 4th and 5th respectively. I have to complement the other riders for seeing us in difficulty and tightening the rachet and they certainly showed they were much stronger and smarter than us on the day. So my first opportunity to defend a gc position did not really go according to plan but we all have bad days on the bike and unfortunately for me i had mine when i really needed to be the strongest i have ever been. Knowing i have not done the work required to be in that condition gives me some confidence that i will certainly gain good condition as was the only target i had for the race but still i am dissapointed and realise that perhaps my relaxed attitude toward the race perhaps finally caught me out yesterday. Nutrition and eating enough and the right things is usually a good aspect of my preperation and racing so i need to go back and have a good look at this and try and ensure next time i find myself in a good situation in a race i dont waste that opportunity. Still two days to go and no doubt there is still more fireworks to come so will keep the head down and see what i can do.

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Stage 5 turkey

Today was another interesting day at the tour of turkey. After yesterdays difficult stage i was hoping that we would have a tired peleton and potentially an opportunity to spend some time in a breakaway to work on my flat land training. Fortunately for me a break formed on the first climb which was 15km long and at the top 10 of us had a gap of 2min. In the group was garmins thomas peterson, myself, one astana, team type 1 and an fdj rider who were high on gc. Therefore peterson was the virtual leader with me second. The next obstacle was to get the riders whom were 45min down after yesterdays stage to work with us for the next 200km. This is where i found my seat racing experience from rowing coming in handy. Like today, in the seat racing you have many different people with diferent motive and everybody is keen to get them selves the best outcome. I figured the only way to ensure co operation was promise that peterson and i would not contest the final sprint and work for the others as we were only interested on the gc and time. In all honesty had we contested it we would not have won most likely as there were some fast finishes in the group but certainly taking 2 riders out of the equation seemed to satisfy the other guys and we worked perfectly together all day. It is a bit like in a crew in a rowing race riding in the break, you need to encourage each other, stick together when its tuff and when you start to get the advantage on the peleton everybody enjoys the adrenaline of winning the days battle to survive to the finish. It was really a great day and group to ride for and we all seemed to co operate very well so was a great experience for me to have this with so many different teams, nationalities and objectives and at the end everybody seemed happy with the days racing, guys get beaten and we all accept that but the nicest part for me was the comraderie in our group for the entire 6hrs and in the end we enjoyed a 12min advantage on the peleton. Tom is 1st on gc with me second at 27sec and only 2sec behind me is the russian efimpkin whom is very strong so i will have my work cut out to control him. Anyway as i said before i am here to train so will try and practice my ability to defend my position on gc. Fingers crossed for a good next few days.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Stage 4 turkey

Todays stage was a real tuffy. My role for the day was to be in the main breakaway as on paper it looked to be the most difficult stage of the race and a chance a small group would arrive at the finish. A small group of 40riders made up the front group in the finish but what happened the 210km before was certainly a real exciting race.

With 3 climbs in the first 20km and in driving rain the bunch splitting to pieces was a certainty. I simply tried to stay as close to the front as possible for the first two short climbs and decents and save as much energy as possible for the longer 3rd climb. On this climb astana forced a pretty tuff pace so sat in behind thinking that behind the group was shrinking, sure enough at the top the group was about 50 strong and this was the peleton for the next 180km. Following the climb attacks went continuously for the next 80km untill finally i broke free with 7 other riders to form a breakaway. At one point we got out to two min but with the rain wind and hard bumby rds we could not break the bunch chasing and were gobbled up 20km from the finish setting up the bunch sprint. Here i led out my team mate francesco belloti whom also made the front group and although he finished 13th which propelled him to 4th on gc he was later penalised 20sec for taking a drink energy gel inside 20km to go so in the end was not as great a day for our team as i could have been. He should have just asked me for a gel as every 5km while i was in the break our director sportif kept handing me gels and food from the car encouraging me to eat more due to the hard stage and as a result i had about 15gels in my pocket by the finish!

All in all i was happy with my performance, i had an objective and got most of the way to accomplishing it. Unfortunately i dont feel as powerfull as i would like on the flat rds in comparison to the long climbs but i guess this is a reflection on my limited racing thus for this season, this should all change over the coming weeks as i race, recover and i hope get stronger and hopfully can start to feel how i want to feel in the races. I will get there.

Tomorrow is another long one so i hope it is as hard as it was today, i seem to enjoy these days more than the regulation sprint days as they are a bit more exciting and you need to stay on your toes. All in all an exciting day in turkey

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Stage 3 tour of turkey

Today started in a bit of an unique way for me with a swimm at the beach. Our hotel was right on the beach so i thought why not sample the turkish water. It certainly woke me up, i doubt the temperature was much north of 15degrees but was certainly good for the recovery of my legs and they felt great for the start of the race. As for the race it was a much more straight forward stage, a small group got away after just 30km and the group was happy to have an easy day after yesterdays blow out. The race was expected to split up on the final small climb just 10km from the finish and it was true to form. A flurry of attacks were fired by the climbers and the group got smaller and smaller. I just followed the moves and made sure not significant group got away without me in it. By the top there was a group of about 20 of us but with still 5km to the finish and such a fast decent another 40 or so rejoinded us on the way down. When we hit the final 3km in the town of marmaris we were greeted with a technical brick surface series of corners and curves so i not wanting to take any risks just stayed safe at the back of the group. Unfortunately my relaxed approach to the crazy finish cost me 6sec from the winner as a gap was let go in the final few hundred meters and unfortunately i was on the wrong side of it. Anyways luckily my team mate and gc leader for the race francesco belloti was on the good side of it so one of us is toward the top of the gc. The next few days look much more selective so i will certainly make sure i am a little more aggressive in the finale's. Good news for the day was my great mate and fellow tasmanian wez sulzberger was 3rd, the tight twisty finish with a small group perfectly suited to the 2007 world u23 silver medalist so i am very pleased for him. He also takes over the lead in the "tassie cup" so i have my work cut out for me. You certainly need to be in good shape to contend for the tassie cup these days, hopfully in the not to distant future the depth of talent of riders from the apple isle means we are filling up podium at races all over europe.

Anyway was almost a good day, good little reminder not to ever relax in these type of finales, unfortunately i still seem to make the odd stupid mistake but they seem to be becoming less frequent so thats good news and a positive for me. Looking forward to the very difficult on paper atleast stage tomorrow and seeing what transpires.

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Stage 2 turkey

Today off course was anzac day so was a special feeling to be an aussie in turkey for such a historic day. It is impossible not to be moved by the bravery of our troops in all the world wars allowing us to enjoy the freedom and opportunities we have today. In honor of this i was determined to be appart of the action today, it was a very hard start with wind, rough rds and roleing hills so i saw the opportunity to enter the breakaway. Unfortunately many had the same idea and after 6 of us enjoyed a 1min lead we were joint by another 10 and 16 of us set of after about 30km of racing. With a few major sprint teams not represented in the break they were chasing us hard and we were going full tilt to try and break them, we did not and eventually a group of around 50 formed with all the top sprinters and the remainder of the peleton splitered over 4 groups trailing behind. With lotto, lampre, and garmin at full force in the break they continued to drive the pace, i was on my limit simply trying to hold the wheel let along help force the pace. It remained like this for the next 50km and although at one point our lead got out to 1min a furious and tenacious chase by the spider tech team from canada and by all reports pretty much single handedly driven by svein tuft brought our group back and at that point the group now contained about 80 dudes and a cease fire was called allowing the remaining 3 groups splintered back down the rd to also rejoin and we had 100km of easy roleing to prepare for a group sprint. Certainly had tuft not pulled with the stregth of about 30men our group would have been long gone but he is a seriously incredibly strong dude and i hope his team brought him a beer or two tonight for that effort to neautralise the split. For the 1st 1hr and 30min of racing i had averaged 180heart rate and with at least half of that not doing any work on the front it certainly gave me a good reminder of how to suffer in races after 4 weeks training at home, i was in a serious amount of discomfort!! Anyway from my perspective that was actually the exciting part of the race and it actually had no impact on the final outcome of the day although i did find it a little easier to stay at the front and out of trouble in the sprint so may have indicated that the bunch was carrying a bit of fatique from the first 2hrs racing. It was certainly very contrasting half's of the race with the being unbelievable painfull and the second a gentle role along the turkish coastline which was fortunate for me as it gave me the opportunity to re charge my batteries for the 4 difficult days ahead.

I am really enjoying racing here as the roads are quite dead and slow and rough in places and it reminds me of training in tassy. I was explaining to my massure that to achieve the same speed in training in tasmania as you do in italy you have to put our atleast 10% more power which is what make tassie perhaps the best place in the world to train. So for me i feel pretty comfortable litterly bumping along the turkish coastline.

So that was anzac day for me in turkey, i did have a crack at getting involved in the stage but was not to be for me today, certainly along with all the other aussie's in the bunch today we were pretty proud to be here and remember those brave men that gave there life's for our great country, Absolute hero's.

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Tour of turkey stage 1

This week i am racing the tour of turkey. The objective this week is simply to get some racing rythm into my system before the tour of california. Personally i could not think of anywhere better to train than down the south coast of turkey with each stage following the sea and from what i have hear some very impressive and beautiful sights. It wont be all relax as we have 2 very good sprinter on our team this week and i will be doing what i can to help fight the other sprinters in the race for the stage victories. Later in the race on paper stages 3, 4 and 6 appear to be more selective and if i feel good will see if i can finish further toward the front than the back.

Today was the first stage and took place in istanbul. Just 120km was on the menu this morning for a bit of a warm up for the peleton. It was a unique stage in that it began in europe and ended in asia and hense crossing two continents. The stage began with a flat fast run out of the european side of istanbul. After 10km we crossed Bosforus bridge which seperates europe and asia and completed 8 laps of a 12km circuit on asian soil to decide the race won by a young italian sensation spring giardini from the farnise neri team. Our boys jacabo and elia were in the fight for the sprint win so as the race goes on will certainly come more to the fore. For me it was a nice little warm up and did not suffer to bad so i hope a good sign that the work done with liquigas cannondale team trainer paolo slongo over the past few months is going to plan. Certainly looking forward to the longer and more difficult days which i enjoy a little more. Having enjoyed some of istanbuls finest cuisine its down the coast we head for the next 7 days, i have been told that the hotels are pretty top notch and some right on the beach so looking forward to the week ahead.

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Friday, April 22, 2011


Our team director and elvis look a like, stefano zanatta, dont step on my blue swayed shoes!
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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Motorpace matteo

Motor pace is a very important part of training regime as cyclists. I figure you may aswell travel in style. My chief motor pace extraordinare is matteo gavioli whom on the bike shop in the small town of gavirate that i spend my time while training in italy. He and his bmw R1100 set a perfect pace and wind block for me to get keep the race rythm flowing in my pins. The best part about matteo's bmw is the colour, it conveniently matches my liquigas cannondale team kit so we certainly look the part. Matteo is a proud smoker so in the summer when he can jet about in his open face bikkie helmet and hard rock cafe t shirt he puff away while i work away behind. Being the professional he is however he only smokes when the wind is in a favourable direction as to not choke me! It is certainly a sight to be hold. His favourite game is slowing down as we see the recreational cyclists around the lake and just as they think they will get a ride behind me accelerates nice and quick so they cant quick get and and destroys my legs in the process trying to keep up with him, luckily for me this sharp accelerated suffering provides good adaptation for the races so fun game for all! Matteo is a great friend and really looks after me here in italy, whatever i need, he knows somone to get it and i am real lucky to have him in my corner. His love for fine quisine has certainly opened my eyes to a level of italian food beyond explanation with words, simply incredible and to top it all off his wife stella is a master chef herself so i certainly owe them a great deal of gratitude for making my time in italy much more enlightening and enjoyable.

In this sport you seem to call upon alot of people for help with a wide range of things, massage, motor pace, bike maintenance, travel arrangments, heaps and heaps of things and without guys like matteo our lives as cyclists would be alot more difficult so a big big thankyou to matteo and his wife stella for looking out for me.

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Thursday, April 14, 2011


My new golf putter with name on it!
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Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Today i spent 7hrs on my bicycle. My usual training partner, mr basso, was unable to attend the outing with me so it was a nice day of solitude, no ipod just me and the hills and lakes around northern italy. Well one hill. I rode to the alpi nigia which is a 12km climb averageing 10% which starts just accross the border along lago magorie in switzerland. You cross the border back into italy at the top and descend back down the opposite side. The climb is solid but the decent is just nasty. 30km long and has an additional 3km of climbing on the way down if that makes sense. Its down up down up down up up nose bleed steep down! Just relentless. At an easy tempo it takes 50min to climb and the same to decend which makes it quite a unique and challenging circuit which i completed 2 times. As you can see by the photo having the backdrop of lago magorie all day is not such a bad thing to take you mind of the suffering. Pretty spectacular place
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Sunday, April 10, 2011


My training partner today, luigi and his reliable rig jerry!
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Saturday, April 9, 2011

The elderly

In australia when our elderly citizens get on in age they have there licence revoked, here in italy they dont take away there licences instead they give them smaller cars assuming that the chaos they cause will be smaller also!! unfortunately even a smart car is bigger than a bike and i seem to often be taking evasive action to avoid the elder patrons of the rd here. Sure is a special place

Monday, April 4, 2011


Mcflurry, italian style
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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Cruisy Time

This past week has flown by, it seems like a lot longer than 7 days ago we were wrapping up catalyuna. The final stage was like all the others, pretty stressful. Rain and a crash 10km in split the peleton and with Basso in the second group I resumed my place on the front and helped the other teams in the same situation close the gap. This was neutralised pretty quick and we enjoyed a nice gentle role into the finish circuits in the down town of barcellona. We were smack bang in the centre, infact we did laps up and down the cities iconic la rumbla. Jess and I enjoyed a few days there in 2006 and it was the highlight of our holiday so although I did not get to have as good a look around as last time was cool to see it again. Last time I was particularly intrigued by the fact you could by an alligator, snake, and a monkey for a home pet at the markets there. Crazy place. The circuits were pretty crazy, they were 5 x 5km with a lot of corners. I assumed my position to what I though was safely mid field and where I could see and ensure I was ready to help my team mates where required. It occurred to while on the circuits that I was not having to fight for the wheel which is a rarity in the final 15km. Having not looked backed through fear of crashing into something I was unaware that the peleton had shrunk considerably from 150+ to 80 riders and I was roleing around with my Team mate Slyvester Smyd in the final 2 positions in the bunch. Anyway it meant after a pretty stressfull week I could enjoy a more relaxed finale to the tour and finished safely in the front group and surprisingly did not feel that tired. This was a good indication to me that the extra work done in training was paying off and the races were not taking so much out of as in previous years. Before I knew it I was in the airport downing a quiet beer and some tappas, could not leave spain without enjoying this speciality. The plane trip home was a bit of a whos who of the cycling world, I was perched next to my team mate Basso, also onboard was Cadel Evans, Michele Scarponi and Nicolas Roche, between those four there was enough horse power to power the airbus jet aircraft we were traveling on. All in all was a good educational week and nice to get my first small tour done in Europe for the season before heading home to get another good block of training done.
I recovered very quickly from catalyuna and after 2 days was keen to get back into it. With 4 weeks till my next race however common sense prevailed and a took a couple of extra easy days on the bike pretty much just cruising around with basso which was nice to do some riding without the stresses of specific training and racing. I also ordered my new golf clubs which I am super excited about arriving this week. I am going to need all the help I can get to keep my 10 handicap this season but I am sure my new titilist golf clubs with atleast give me no excuses on the equipment department. Cycling and golf certainly don’t seem to complement each other, i.e the only time I have to play is when I have easy days so walking around for 4hrs aint really resting but I am just addicted. Also I think its nice to have something else to focus on appart from the bike in a competitive sense, playing golf means my focus changes and I don’t dwell on the difficult times I have on the bike so i will keep enjoying my golf. On Thursday we had another round of climbing testing with our superstar team trainer Paolo Slongo where the sensations I was feeling in the race and post race were confirmed with a nice improvement in my condition. Back to work on Friday with 5hrs on the tt bike and yesterday I did 7hrs nice and relaxed exploring my favourite climbs in the varese region. I nice rest day today watching the moto Gp and a very exciting tour of flanders on the tele and I am ready to get back to work tomorrow.


I put my body through a bit of a challenge yesterday, both on and off the bike! Both were very enjoyable.
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