Sunday, September 11, 2011

Stage 5 padania

the final stage of padania went nice and smoothly and successfully for our team liquigas cannondale. By days end Elia finished another very close 2nd in the bunch sprint, Ivan wrapped up the overall victory for the tour and elia won the points classification so was a great 5 days of racing for our team and most significantly our two leaders Ivan Basso and Elia Viviani. The day went along pretty calmly. A breakaway of 2 got away early and built up a big lead of 7min untill we started to real them in with about 100km to go. I traded some work on the from with longo and vanotti so was also a bit easier day for me than the previous days were i spent alot of time alone on the front. With 30km to go the race was back together so then we really whipped up the pace to discourage and further attacks and with 10km my time in the sun on the front of the peleton came to an end for the tour and i retreated to the saftey of the back of the bunch for an enjoyably fast ride to the finish as our strong men, bodnar, oss, basso, sabatini and finally elia took over to set up the sprint. So all in all the days work went off without a hitch and we all had a nice end to a great 5 days racing. It was a particularly enjoyable race for me as it was first opportunity to race a small stage race with our team leaders in fine form and me also feeling good and being in the condition required to contribute so from this point of view i was really happy to be appart of the sort of race i had always hoped to be with liquigas and its big leaders like Ivan and Elia. To see ivan win was certainly a special moment for me as being so close to him throughout the year on and off the bike and training and racing i had seen him have a few tuff months but he never diverted from his work ethic and finally this week in padania it was rewarded. He truly showed his true class with this win in padania and i hope it gives him the confidence that he was missing at times this year to keep up with these great performances. For Elia well he is a young kid going places very very fast as per his charactoristic as a sprinter and the cycling world will be hearing alot about him in the years to come. It would come as no surprize then to know that it is very very enjoyable working for these guys and knowing that a long day on the front will usually result in a great performance by one of these guys makes the pain and fatique pretty much dissapear. It was certainly a great 5 days with a great bunch of guys.

Time 4hrs 10min
40kmph average
265watt average
140 heart rate average
3600kj burnt
1500m altitude gain

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Friday, September 9, 2011

Stage 4 padania

It has been another great day for liquigas cannondale here at the tour of padania on stage 4 with an emphatic victory by our team caption, Ivan basso. Today was the only mt top finish so therefore was always going to shape the GC and it was Ivan who proved to be the strongest of the mountain goats. By virtue of his 52second victory he also takes the overall GC lead so we have the jersey to defend again for the second time this week and on the final stage 5 tomorrow as we head from trento to venice, the scenic way i am told.

For me it was a pretty quiet day, my role was to stay with ivan aslong as i could on the climbs but after the previous days on the front i was well aware i was not going to be climbing with the best of them today. Elia viviani showed his versitility and was present in the days breakaway and although it was swept up on the first of the 2 major climbs for the day elia survived in the front along with danial oss and myself to occompany Ivan to the base of the final climb. I made sure he had plenty of fresh fluids for the final climb and once it kicked up with just inside 10km to go my time at the front came to an end and Ivan was alone but fortunately in quite a small group and as he proved very capable of looking after himself. Soon after he shredded the field to just 5 and from there one by one they dropped off his wheel until he was alone for final 5km. I was aware he was infront when i hit 7km to go so started saving my biscuits for anticipating him taking the jersey and just after passing the 3km to go sign i was told of his victory so was a very enjoyable final part of the climb in anticpation of defending his lead tomorrow which i am pretty confident will require me to spend some more time on the front. So all in all was a great day, i would have loved to help him more in the final climb but after the previous days work on the front my climbing musles simply desserted me so i just had to contribute in any way i could and fortunately i was of some help. Best on groud was certainly elia for his ride in the break, survival in the front group till the final climb, winning the days intermediate sprint and extending his points jersey lead and doing all this after alread winning one stage and finishing 2nd in 2 others so definately hats off to him. Time for some rest, cant wait for the final stage tomorrow and finally getting the opportunity to defend the lead of my great friend, team mate and training partner mr Ivan Basso.

SRM data
Time 4hrs 45min
Speed 40kmph average
Power 264watt average
Altitude gain 2000m
Heart rate 147average
Energy burnt 4700kj

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Stage 3 padania

Another day in tour of padania and another day of italian controversy. This time it is was not protestors but instead paolo bettini decided to flex his italian national team selectors musles and have the stage lengthened by 40km to try and make it more similar to world championship length to guage his chargers. I was surprized he did not also any non italian to sit patiently behind this most important race within a race and let the italian superstars do there thing in piece. Nope it was business as usual for us internationals and with the leaders jersey to defend i knew it was going to be a tuffy for me. Sure enough as soon a the flag dropped it was on for young and old and trying to control the makeup of the break meant we average 52kmph for the first 1hr of racing before it finally went clear. I was happy with the 7 escapees appart from my good mate and fellow tasmanian and hence big rival for the tassie cup being in the break in wez sulzberger so now not only did i have the incentive to chase to protect elias jersey but also to make sure wez did not gain any time on me. Ultimately we pulled them back and we were both spat out the back of the peleton with 10km to ride to the finish so that objective was completed. As for defending elias jersey and doing my main job it was pretty similar to stage 1 but this time i was on the front for 201km before i started to role back into the field. Once the break went i rode alone for 20km or so to ensure there lead did not balloon to much before longo came to help me until just over half way when a couple of other teams sent some guys up to help and make the chase a little easier in the run into the circuits. Ultimately the race was all together with 15km to go and my work was done and the rest of my team mates took over delivering elia to another fine 2nd place but unfortunately behind sacha modelo by a tyre width and hence loosing the leaders jersey to the colnago rider. Tomorrow's stage features a mountain top finish so i will be interested to see how my pins pull up as our focus will shift to Ivan basso being the team GC man. Time for so well earnt sleep i think because today was potentially the longest in distance to intensity ratio i have done on the front of the peleton and i am a little tired.

SRM Data
46kmph av speed
282 watt average
150 heart rate average
5000kj burnt

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Second stage panadia

It was Win win win today for our fast man elia viviani in the 2nd stage of padania. After his fine 2nd yesterday he got the better of his previous days nemisis sasha modelo in a fast drag race into the out skirts of milan. Elia with his win takes over the overall race lead and therefore responsibility will be on us to control tomorrow.

As far as work goes we actually did very little today. We had the luxury of recovering a little after the hard day on monday and waited until 10km to go to hit the front. First up was me and it was my job the keep the pace high and get our other 7men as close to the line as possible before they had to begin the lead out, 4km later with 6km to go i swung off and the boys took over with 1st basso followed by longo, bodnar, vanotti, sabatini and finally a perfect lead into the line from oss saw elia win comfortably and not only that but oss was 4th accross the line. I roled in safely at the back of the bunch enjoying the usual excitment that come with a team mates win and excited about the opportunity to defend his lead tomorrow.

Time for bed cause i cant wait to get up tomorrow and get some more sun tanning time on the front of the bunch and doing all i can to keep elia in the race lead.

Race SRM stats
4hrs 40min
200 watt average
1100 watt max
130 av heart rate
4000kj burnt
1000m elevation gain

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Stage 1 padania

Today i was back at work in the tour of padania in northern italy. A race of significants of sorts in that it is a political statement of north v's south of italy with the north wanting the region recognized as seperate from the south. In light of this and the fact that italians seem to enjoy there controversy we had one road block of pro padanian region protestors and as i was riding on the front at the time working on pulling back the days early break i was in no mood to stop and listen to there gripe and just plowed on through giving one dude who got a little close to me a good old fashioned rugby style palm off in the process, i do apologise to the said man if i caused any injury to you however in my opinion there is now place for such behavior of protestors in the sporting arena. So this was certainly a first for me experienceing this type of rd block and i am sure it wont be the last this week infortinately so my aussie football argy bargy skills will likely be required again!!!

So with this north v's south significants of the race it is only fitting that the race is also the next edition of an even greater north v's south rivalry, that being for the Tassie Cup and north of the state aka being matt goss and wez sulzberger and south being my goodself set to do battle over the 5 stages of padania. I dont want to be a winger but i certainly have the odds stacked against me, not only are these two guys that far ahead of me in class, skill and power on a bike but also there is 2 of them and they are on the same team, the aussie national team as they build toward the world championships. I have another big dissadvantage in that i am merely a dish pig in my team and as such my role is the long hrs on the front of the peleton controling the break for out team leaders which for this race are elia viviani and Ivan basso. Anyway no excuses and i will do my utmost to uphold some honour for the south and vow to fight the boys for the cup in any way i can all the way to the finish in venice on saturday.

Now finally to the race and it was a pretty run of the mill day for me. Being my first day back after the broken rib i was hoping it would pan out as i did all and i could get the rythm back into my pins. An early break went of 3 guys and after the gap got to 9min after 30km of the 170km stage i starting riding alone on the front and it was a bit bathurst style for the 1st couple of hours with my first stint being 30km solo to get the break back to 6min and then arrived the help of a teammate where we shared more managable 10min stints till the first climb at 100km gone. We were controling the race for an anticipated sprint finish for our inform sprinters elia viviani and danial oss. Once we hit the hills i started to feel good and top of the final hill with 40km to ride the gap was back to 3min and nice and manageable for a fast decent and run into the finish. I pulled on the front until about 5km from the line when i just could not maintain the ever increasing pace no more so after 150km working on my suntan either on the front or second wheel behind my teammates in either paolo longo and alessandro vanotti, i enjoy a nice casual run into the finish while ivan basso, bodnar, oss and sabatini delivered elia to a very close 2nd place behind sacha modolo of colnago.

So all in all was a good day, i am happy with my condition post the fracture, i seem to be able work as i did before i had the lay off so happy the hrs on the ergo trainer achieved somthing. I am looking forward to tomorrow where i hope we can deliver elia a little better and perhaps help him to a victory. As for the initial day of the tassie cup i have no idea where the other two finished as i was a little in my own world following the work on the front, i will certainly check the classification tomorrow and see where it all stands, nothing quite like a bit of north v south rivalry!


SRM Data
4hrs 20min
40kmph average
272 Watt Average
149 Heart Rate Average
4300Kj Burnt
1900m Elevation Gain
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Friday, September 2, 2011

Gold for australia

Today i had the honour of watching the australian mens lightweight 4- win the rowing world championship for 2011. It was certainly a surreal feeling watching what i would say was one of the finest techniqual display of rowing i have ever seen. At no point in the race were they frazzled and they clearly had a plan and stuck to there guns, easy and quickly into a sustainable rythm out of the start loseing a little ground but staying intouch, working through the middle of the race were the fast starting crews started to suffer, and the clinically sinking the boot in with 1/4 of the race to go and breaking the spirits and any chance of the other crews coming back at them. Having had the honour of rowing with each of these 4 fine athletes, sam beltz, todd skipworth, ben cureton, and anthony edwards i realise it was the perfection in performance we have discussed on many occassion while training together and also since i have been out of the sport but very much staying close to all the lads. From last years worlds were they were second they showed that they had the best "easy speed" of all the crews in the world through the middle and a slight lack of conditioning probably cost them gold. Under the watchfull eye of there man of very few words coach brett crow they have stuck to there guns of there idea of executing the perfect race plan and with another 12months of very hard training under there belt's it was clearly evident that easy speed was still far superior and they also had the conditioning to really sink the boot in when it mattered most. It was certainly a amazing victory for a perfect planning and execution of there preperation.

Its also worth noting that unsurprizingly these are 4 far from run of the mill athletes. Anthony edwards is an olympic silver and bronze medalist and multiple colour world championship medalist. Ben cureton also an olympic silver medalist and along with todd skipworth qualified and competed and completed the hawaii ironman in 2009 so a pair of seriously gifted athlete's. In the same year todd also won the olympic distance age group 19-24 triathlon australian championship to further underline his sporting proess. The last but by no means least samual beltz is the power man of the crew and has the australian record and is very close to the world record on the rowing machine for the benchmark 2000m test. While he chooses to focus all his efforts on just rowing unlike the ben and todd, he is certainly one of the most gifted athletes i have been fortunate enough to grow up with and whether it be ping pong, beer pong, rowing or cricket he is always a tuff man to beat and usually for me unbeatable.

Yep was certainly a special 5min 55seconds watching my great mates put in one of the finest displays of team work and spectacular rowing and in the words of the italian commentators the boys were simply "tecniche perfetto, grande atleti, grande vincitore, bravo ragazzi" perfct technique, grand athletes, grand victory, and finally jolly great job.

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