Saturday, September 22, 2012

China 2 stage 5

Bombed out big time today. I had been so so confident going into todays 18km individual TT and this in the end proved to be my downfall. I ultimately finished 5th on the day and dropped to 4th on GC and am very very disappointed in wasting such a golden opportunity.

I had everything mapped out and plan in place to ride the exact time and speed I felt would be enough to win the stage and the race. In the end it would have been more than enough but unfortunately it was not me who performed it. Stefan shumacher defended his lead by proving he was the strongest man in the race of truth and winning todays TT.

For me all went perfect in my preperation and I arrived on the start line supremely confident. My warmup which I have completed so many times before went perfect and I was ready to rock and role. I started great and it all felt so easy. I was immediately a couple of kmph above the speed I planned and was having to hold back my enthusiasm to keep a lit on blowing my engine. I could immediately see that I was gaining quickly on the 2 riders ahead of me and assumed I was most likely putting time into my greatest rival shumacher in the process. In the absence of race radios our team director and I had devised a plan using the car horn to keep me updated on shumacher relative to me. Pretty simle, 1 honk was I was pulling away and 2 honks he was closing. Just as I started to settle into a perfect rythm and confident I was flying into the race lead I got a 2 honk when I had been exppecting 1. This immediately changed my mindset and confidence and while I could still clearly see I was closing on the 2 riders ahead of me to the tune of taking 20seconds out of them in the first 8km, shumacher was not following my script and was surprisingly closing. This was where the wheels feel completely off. Instead of relaxing into my comfortable fast rhythm I was now on edge and pushing the fraction harder than I knew or wanted to and was no longer racing my race. The 2 honks continued and I started to concede that if he was closing I had to except he was stronger and simply start to conserve in a bid to hold my own position of 2nd on GC. This seemed a relatively easy task considering I had taken 20-25 seconds out of the 2 riders directly behind me within the first 10km.

By half way I was completely puzzled and no longer racing my own race. I knew I was going quick but was demoralized that shumacher was apparently closing in on me. With the u turn it gave me a chance to see for myself exactly how close to me he was. To my surprize I was 15 seconds ahead by my rough calculation however It was a pretty accurate calculation give or take a few seconds. So now I was really confused and could understand why chris kept telling me I was down when I was clearly up at that stage. After this the wheels continued to fall off as the fatigue of pushing slightly harder than I knew I was capable of in the first half was beginning to take its tole. It not easy pushing a rd bike at 50kmph on the flat rd and 15min into the race I had averaged around 450 watts so I was certainly at my limit of capacity for an effort like this and to be able to pull it off I not only needed my body to be in perfect shape but most importantly my head which had gone from concentrating on what I was doing to thinking about everything else around me that I had stupidly allowed myself to worry about.

I pushed on and started rapidly loosing power and speed. I was now down around 46kmph and nudging closer to 45's and 44's instead of the 50's I knew I had to maintain to win. Still I maintained a big advantage over the riders ahead of me while chris kept honking his horn 2 times to remind me shumacher was coming. This was starting to really bug me as I had seen with my own eyes that it was not the case however as I was starting to suffer I assumed now he most probably was closing fast. At 5km to go I had my expert teammate in timing joris balit from switzerland!! To do some time checks and let me know where I was at at what I believed would be the most crucial part of the TT, the final 5km run to the line. I knew joris would be spot on with his time checks so I was confident I could believe in time check. As I passed he let me know I was 15 seconds up which I knew was about the amount of time I was ahead of the riders ahead so figured he was just telling me that but it turns out he was telling me I still had 15 seconds on shumacher which he had calculated with the use of a friend a km down the rd helping out. Talk about swiss precision!! As expected joris had not let me down but by this point I had well and truly let myself down and joris said he could see it in my face. He could not understand why I looked so defeated and did all he could to enthuse me as I went past but it was 2 late. He had seen me pedaling so perfectly as it felt in the first half when I passed him but now where I needed to hit the turbo I was dropping the anchor and visibly coming to a grinding holt.

At this point with 5km to go I was fastest by 15 seconds and in the virtual lead of the tour by 10seconds but I had already lost the race to what turned out to be my biggest rival, myself. If I had been more alert and focused on joris's time check which I knew I could trust and realized I was infact in this position as planned who knows how I would have approached that final 5km. I am pretty sure knowing your winning the tour would have a bit of a mental impact on you and boost which at this moment I desperately needed. In this case however there was to be no miracle. The wheels had well and truly fallen off. I continued to loose power and lose speed coming to the realization that I pushed to my limit and believing i was being still beaten by a stronger rider and was in survival mode. Even though it was not actually the situation and I was actually still on track to achieve exactly what I had set out to do 5km before this thought was long gone. As I slowed my rivals all sped up as I knew I needed to do to win the race. In the all 3 riders, the 2 infront and schumacher behind would take between 25-45 seconds out of me in the final few km and I was all of a sudden dropping completely off the podium into 4th and had blown a golden opportunity.

I reflected a lot and knew it was all my own undoing. I had made the fatal error of taking the focus of myself when I knew all was going perfectly with myself but allowed the honking of a horn to completely change my focus in the race. In chris's defense he said they found it difficult to take time splits of trees looking a minute behind them in the rear view mirror. He said they were doing there best but not really sure exactly what was going on. In reality it was dum of me to even suggest using such system and even dumber allowing it to dictate how I raced considering I felt I had a full proof plan anyway. I was confident I could win the race and did not need any more information than that. I needed to simply execute what I knew I was capable and when things got tuff which they do for eveyone use some mental strength to stay within my own body and push through and execute my plan. I have blown a great opportunity to win a race in the circumstances I always dreamed I could win one. Start the final day TT in a perfect position and ride into the jersey. It was my first chance to make the dream come true and I let it slip. I simply choked in every sense of the world.

It is days like today that remind you how important it is to be not only be physically at your peak but mentally aswell. Whenever I have done my best races or sporting performances it has always been after using a sports psychologist which are hugely under rated or arriving at an event with a clear mental plan and not allowing any outside distractions to waver me from my path. Today this focus alluded me and the result was disastrous, it brings me to the very simple conclusion. No matter how good I think I am or confident in my condition I have to ensure I am 100% mentally on the money as well. I am not and have never been the athlete that can rock up to any old event and use natural talent to dominate a field. The simply explanation is because I don't have any natural talent. I have only ever performed at the highest level and achieved my best performances when I have perfectly prepared for an event, both physical and mental. I don't have a switch I can flick. Any results I will ever garner will come from a specific period of training and preparation and its as simple as that. I am sad it taken another spectacular failure on my behalf to reinforce a fact that I certainly knew deep down but just another little reminder that we are always learning! Its ok to make mistakes, we all do!! The most important thing is what you learn from it and do differently in the future to ensure it does not happen again.

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Friday, September 21, 2012

China 2 stage 4

Same same but different was the order of today. Same race plan as previous days with same expected outcomes. And as it has often turned out in this race that is exactly what transpired. A break got away a little earlier than normal which gobbled up all the intermediate sprints preventing our "sprint machine" anwa manan from adding to his tally of points in the sprint competition. The stage was by far the slowest and easiest of the tour which meant a more chaotic sprint than normal was on the cards. This is a by product of a peleton full of fresh legs and all of sudden every tom dick and charlie fancy them as a sprinter and riders go absolutely everywhere. Its at these moments I simply take no risks and sit up and ensure I don't lose time and maintain my position on GC. The crazy sprint rendered me useless in aiding our "sprint machine" and "bundy bullet" in the final km however the craziness of it all meant that after a few more riders than they were comfortable with bumping into and off them they also aborted the mission and were simply happy to finish the stage with all skin intact. With that anwa lost his blue jersey however in his true flare and exuberant nature declared it "no problem mate" in his finest aussie accent and plans to have it back by the time the race wraps up on sunday.

So the day has finally arrived that I have been waiting for with anxious anticipation. A 18.2km test against the clock which will most likely decide the winner of the tour of china 2. I feel good and have had the luxury of saving as much energy as possible for the race of truth so will see what happens.

Time for a little shut eye

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

China 2 stage 3

Stage 3 of china is done and dusted and by dusted I mean that quite literally dusted!! Head to toe in fact. I can not remember ever having not only my hair turned a light grey brown but also my feet. Yes the dust here or whatever they have in the air has a unique ability to not only get all over you but also infiltrate your shoes and socks!!

Back to the racing and we had again some simple objectives for what has been a very simple race thus far. Firstly was to set up our "speed machine" from malaysia anwa manan for the intermediate sprints should the group be together. Anwa Is perhaps my favorite team mate I have ever had, just having him around cheers everybody up. While he could be describe as a little lazy by many I beg to differ!! He is just a true blue through and through sprinter. He want waste a single lick of energy he does not need to such as you will often need to knock on his door for about 10minutes until you either wake him up or he has decided that you must really need him so he will raise himself from his royal rest and greet you at the door!! He is without a doubt a great character and one guy I love racing with! In malaysia anwa is a serious sporting star thanks to being the only malaysian to ever win a stage of there national tour, le tour de lankawi which he achieved in 2010. Why is this significant well I will explain. He is the regarded as the fastest and greatest rider from malaysia. Here in the tour of china there is also his old team from malaysia whom are determined at every turn to try and steel the kings thrown. Where he goes they follow!! Look in tour of china 1, one day anwa 4, another malaysian 5, anwa 30 another malaysian 31st and so it goes through out each stage it is so funny to watch!!

So back to the race and having anwa fighting for the blue sprinting jersey which he now leads has many benefits. Firstly it gets our super hero up on the stage every day and him a chance to try his charm on the podium girls. Secondly by him going for all the intermediate sprints also means taking time bonus's. This is where it has an extra benefit for us as with me 2nd on GC we don't really want anybody putting any time into me before the penultimate day TT. So with anwa sprinting away that means all his little buddies from malaysia also are going hell for leather for the intermediate sprints and swallow up all the time bonus's!! Its great, anwa is the star and maintains his malaysian superiority and I can stay in 2nd on GC!

Our other plan today was to set anwa up for the sprint at the finish which finished 4th in, oh and you guessed it a malaysian safely tucked onto his wheel in 5th!! but after winning an intermediate sprint he took the lead in the points classification so great day all round. I remain in 2nd so another rd stage tomorrow where I expect much of the same and the race of truth arrives on saturday with the 20km individual TT which will most likely decide the winner of the 2012 Tour of China 2.

this race has also been containing a much more challenging component than the race itself, that been long driving transfers before and after stages and also on designated days of racing which we have had 2 off this week. On both occasions spending 7hrs in the car. And that is where I wright from at this moment, a 250km transfer which we have been informed will take 4hrs despite the fact we have a full police escort and 6 lane wide HWY all to ourselves. Like everything here in china, it makes EVERYTHING EXCESSIVE. Anyways best get back to work directing our mechanic risto whom is driving of picking our way through the convoy so we win the race after the race!! The one to the best spot in the bike mechanics work area!!

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Sunday, September 16, 2012


The chinese bob sleigh team!!
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Today my time was 7:40 not 6:40!! Oops if only
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My Dad

Other exciting news from the wurf cycling stable is that my dad today raced the world masters qualification event on the great ocean rd in victoria. In his age category which I regret to inform I have no idea what it was!! He placed a steller 16th out of 300 placing him easily inside the top 10% required in his category to qualify for 2013 world masters rd race in a yet to be announced location. Dad is very similar to me in his approach to cycling, a well suited engine which unfortunately gets used perhaps a little to much in training and consequently turning up to races and not seeing the same results as on the training track!! Fortunately this week which is coincidental as I experienced this aslo, we both came down with the flu and have had to go easy easy to be right for our respective events held today. Surprize surprize we both rocked up fresh as daisies and both performed at a level that is probably our better race performance we have ever done. Could be a good lesson in that!!

Anyway I am very proud of dad's achievement although it comes as no surprize he is going so well so soon after taking up cycling. Firstly he is fiercely competitive with his daily routine consisting of training before cross referencing his session with mine to see where he is at!! This is followed hrs of research on diet, equipment, race courses, training and often uncovering any information on my fellow competitors which he may deem to be usefull info for me. So not only is he a die hard for his own success but like he as always been he a great support and continued driver behind ensuring I get the most out of myself and keeping me armed with as much info and knowledge as possible to achieve it. Unfortunately he lives in queensland while I spend my time in tasmania so we can't train together but that is probably lucky as I am sure we would destroy each other constantly pushing ourselves that little bit further!! He is the perfect training buddy and dude to have in your corner so I am real pleased he has taken an interest in the sport I love and also now enjoying the success's of all his hard work and unrivaled dedication. He is an endless support in so many ways and it is great sharing the journey 1st hand with him.

I am sure with dads qualification for the world masters that his training and daily research will go to a whole new level as he looks to uncover all the 1%'s possible. I am just very fortunate that he does all this hard work for me and look forward to learning daily what he uncovers. Great stuff dad, look forward to seeing you take on the world in 2013. Now I need to get my backside into gear and get back on that national team to maintain the family standard!! Pressure is on!!

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china 2 stage 1

The 2nd part of our adventures in china kicked of today with The Tour of China 2. The race was not due to begin until the 18th however yesterday afternoon race organisers decided that 4 days between the races was to much rest and figured it would be a great idea to hold a 6.2km prologue today to kick things of before we have another day off tomorrow to drive 600km and continue the race as planned on the 18th from where ever it is we end up after the rd trip tomorrow!

To be honest i am glad they did through in this extra day as 6.2km of a dead flat circuit and 1 corner, i.e. a turn around so we could go back the way we went out, was about as perfect a stage as possible for me. Perfect in as much as it was not techniqual and also the effort is about as close as it is ever going to be to do the 2km rowing ergometer test i used to love so much from my days in the national rowing team. I have done so many of these efforts that at one time in my youth, dad would make me complete this test every 2nd day for about 2 years!! surfice to say i was pretty confident i would do a solid ride as possible, i was pretty much on auto pilot. This experience however proved to be my downfall as on the rowing machine the fear is always going out to hard and blowing up. When you run out of power on a rowing machine you litterally stop counting down the meters as there is no other element than yourself to keep the machine cranking. For this reason i had over the years of many failed perfromances on the machine developed a full proof strategy in my final years in rowing which rarely saw me fail to attain a PB.

This approach was starting pretty solid for about 100m and pulling 1:28 per 500m splits for this time before i would gradually let the pace rise to my cruising speed of 1:33-1:34 by the time i had rowed 300m. from there i would hold this split easily at first before it would start to get harder to maintain in the final 1000m. From here i would really grit my teeth and fight to hold more 1:33's the 1:34's until i got to the final 300m where i would start to go hell for leather counting it down in 10 stroke increments with the aim of again pulling 1:28's in the final 100m. If all goes to the script as it usually did i would finish up with 6:11-6:12 and be either at the top or very close to it depending on how hard my mate mighty mike mc bryde decided pull on the handle.

Back to today and this full proof plan i felt like i was armed with all the knowledge and perfect plan i could have. Again this proved to be a backfire. I had decided that i could average between 460-480 watts depending on how well my legs felt and needed to be at this pace after my initial 10second accelleration up to speed. This was error 1!! after 10seconds i was only at 51kmph which ended up being merely 1kmph slower than i averaged for the entire effort. Once in my crove hovering around 450 watts i felt great and wanted to push hard but kept saying hold back hold back!! mistake number 2!! at the turnaround at halfway i was barely puffing and thought perfect as i had decided from 3km i would start to build gradually to the line. This was mistake 3, i built nice and gradually very carefull not to push to hard and explode and i did this. With 1km to go i was touching on 480-500 watts and still feeling fresh as i began to wind to the line and finished with a perfect average power as predicted bang on 475 watts. Where i had gone horibly wrong was not thinking like a cyclist and realising it is much easier to push a little harder and reach a higher speed where it is then easy to maintain with less power by tapping out a rythm to hold the speed. It is much had to increase speed with a steady power and you simply get bogged on where you have accellerated to. So while i did exactly as planned i also lost the race bace 3seconds to stefan schumacher and finished in 2nd place again, just like in tour of japan prologue behind my team mate will clark. I am sertain that had i have used a cycling brain as apposed to my useless rowing one when racing a bike, i could have ridden my bike much quicker. Anyway i did not and basically playing it safe meant i was never racing to win but simply not to lose. In the end i was the only loser!!

Fortunately we have an individual Time Trial of 18kn on the second last day so i have the chance to make a mends and this time race like a man and see what happens. Will certainly approach the stage with the attitude that it is better to fly and die than never fly at all!! Will see what happens on saturday!


Distance/Time: 6.2km/6'40"
Speed ave: 49.5kmph
Watts Ave/Max: 478/890watts
Heart Rate Ave/Max: 188/201
Cadance Ave: 100


Wednesday, September 12, 2012


A classic example of our team director showing his competitive spirit in the race to the hotel for the best bike washing position!
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China 1 stage 5

Yet another day of chaos here in the tour of china. With a 6 lane rectangle pancake flat wet rd circuit of 11km x 10 laps there was always 3 things certain!! Ridiculously fast speed, massive crashes, and a crazy chaotic bunch sprint.

All duly transpired which was good on one hand for us as our plan remained unchanged with setting up the sprint for the bundy bullet aaron kemps, and defend the "great chinese rider" jersey for xu gang. Unfortunately the bundy bullet hit the deck in a big pile with 25km remaining which also stopped me in my tracks, fortunately I remained of the tarmac!! On a positive I spent nearly half the race riding full bannanas on the front to keep the field together so was happy to have finished a stage feeling like I had been run over by a truck which is a feeling I actually enjoy. The post race coke always taste's so much better when you have ridden yourself into the ground!! The crash took the edge of aaron so he did not get involved in the chaotic bunch sprint but xu gang successfully defended his "great chinese rider" jersey so that was a big objective met. After the race was stage 2 which involved a 300km transfer to the start city for tomorrow's final stage. These are always a bit of a hoot as its the team managers turn to race each other up the hwy in a bid to get to the hotel 1st so respective team mechanics can get the best possy to work on the bikes!! Yes everything associated with a bike race is a RACE!! That's what happen when the ex bike riders become staff members you end up with a big big group of competitive dudes. So the jostling for position on the hwy at 150kmph was that terrifying that I put on the neck pillow on and went to sleep with the hope that I would wake up safely at the hotel. Arrived safely and found my room which seemed to be a bit stuffy, like it was not use much. I pulled back the curtains and low and behold a bat flew out!! That is unique!! I can honestly say I have never had a bat hide out in my hotel room curtain in all my world travels!!

The adventure continues!!

Race data
Distance: 115km
Time: 2hrs 18min
Speed: 51kmph
Heart rate ave/max: 150/195bpm
Power ave/max: 310/943 watts
Energy burnt: 2427kcal

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

China 1 stage 4

It was a slippery dippery day here at the tour of china. As I have mentioned before the Rds are not the cleanest in the world with oil, dust, rocks and any other type of general waste that spills from what would be described as poorly serviced vehicles!! Basically it is a film of filth that combined with a light shower of rain becomes an ice skating ring.

On a positive we had a basic plan for the day to keep the peleton together for bunch sprint hoping our bundy bullet could pulverize the other opposition in the bunch gallop. A nice little break went and I planted myself on the front with a few riders from other teams to keep all under control and most importantly keep every body at a safe speed around the slippery corners. All went according to plan and with 5km to the finish the field was all together and the bunch sprint was set up. Only problem we had was now negotiating the final series of corners in the final 2km. Aaron was in perfect shape however once we hit the corners our japanese kamikaze's decided it was crash or win and hit the corners at full speed. Not surprisingly the results were mixed for them with half crashing but half surviving and ultimately winning the stage as crashes and confusion meant they were alone ahead with a pile of chaos behind so congratulations to them, take the risk and be rewarded for it. Our boys were not so aggressive and consequently a few fell while the rest of us were happy to get to the finish and live to fights another day with all our skin intact. Once again never a dull moment racing in china!!!


Distance: 100km
Time: 2hrs 5min
Speed ave: 49kmph
Power ave/max: 285/1070 watts
Heart rate ave/max: 125/185bpm
Energy burnt: 2000kcal

Sunday, September 9, 2012

China 1 stage 3

Stage 3 is in the books and ultimately was to the script. A small climb midway dropped a few out the back but still the stage ended in a big dangerous group sprint. The most excitement for me happened on the drive to the start as our mini van fell behind the police escort. Our chinese driver put all his local driving skills into action leaving one thumb permanently planted on the horn using the other fingers for steering and one to change gears. We spent about 20min driving between the footpath, medium strip, bike lane and occasionally ventured into a regular lane!! In the end I could not look, light colors where ignored and after the mad chase we regained contact with the race convoy and my heart rate was able to drop below 200 finally. Funnily enough it never even got that high in the race!!

As for the race no break ever went. I did my best to form a small selection on the climb attacking what felt like 1000 times but could never break the clutches of the field. There was always s head wind and this meant someone could always chase and give others a draft before they then chased and so on and so on for all those on the wheel behind. It just was not happening for me today. To rub insult into injury when I finally broke clear and got a reasonable gap, perhaps 20 seconds, the helicopter decided he should get a close up and got lower and lower until just hovering infront of me which not only almost blew me into the nearest rice paddock but also back to the chasing bunch and instantly my lead was gone and the bunch sprint eventually transpired. There were a few to many crazies in the group for me so I just sat safely out of trouble and happy to wait for another day to go for glory.

Our chinese strongman xu gang retained his lead in the "great chinese rider" competition so all good. The "bundy bullet" our spinter aaron had an easy day in the back groups and will have fresh legs for the next sprint stage we tackle so all in all still going well for the champion system boys here in tour of china 1.

Power data again was high and I am really happy with how I am feeling so will keep attacking!!

Distance 124km
Time: 2hrs 40min, 45kmph average
Average/max power: 322/1062watts
Heart rate average/max: 147/188Bpm
Energy burnt: 3000kcal

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Saturday, September 8, 2012

China 1 stage 2

another good day here in china for the champ systems lads. The "bundy bullet" (aka aaron kemps from bundaberg QLD) bolted to a great 2nd place in the bunch gallop and our chinese strong man Xu gang maintained his lead in the "great chinese rider competition". Yes that's right, it is not simply the best chinese rider but the GREAT chinese rider!! Never a dull moment in the chinese races.

The race itself went as expected and finished in a bunch sprint. Was 10 x 10km laps and our mission was simply to be involved in any breakaways and ensure the bundy bullet and xu gang were safe and sound in the bunch to save the little legs for when the heat was on in the final km. It was pissing with rain and with the chinese rds not renowned for there cleanliness meant that is was as slippery as a ky jelly and filthy as a pig in mud. Must admit it did not smell much better either. I don't like being in the peleton when its raining, to nervous and dangerous so I did what I always do and attacked as much as possible and fought for the front spots at the odd occasion that I was stuck in the bunch. There were about 300hundred breakaway attempts but none got more than a few seconds away so the constant intensity meant we did the 100km in exactly 2hrs so was short and very sharp. The bundy bullet then came ever so close to the big win so we will all be extra motivated to help him get there in the upcoming stages and of course maintain a strong defense of the "Great Chinese Rider" jersey with xu gang.

Race data again promising and backed up how I feel, very good!!

Distance: 100km
Time: 2hrs
Speed ave: 50kmph
Average/Max power: 347/1044watts (a result of my ants in my pants attacking all day)
Average/Max Heart Rate: 150/195
Energy burnt: 2332Kcal


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Friday, September 7, 2012

Tour of china 1 Day 1

Back in china!! And like most of the chinese races it will be another novel adventure. It had been planned to be a 16 day tour however international cycling regulations have meant that the event has been broken down to wait for it!!! Tour of china 1 and Tour of china 2!! The courses of each race have changed about 300 times in the past week so taking it day by day could not be a more fitting way of approaching the event. Roughly it has been broken into two 6-7 days tours with a couple of rest/travel days in between. On the paper we have at the moment it would seem it is as flat as pancake with china 1 characterized by a team time trial and china 2 set to be decided in a penultimate day individual TT. Suffice to say I will be focusing all my efforts on the 2nd tour and specifically the TT.

Being a race in china it will be a very important appointment for our champion system outfit. Following the strong team showing in qinghai lake we are determined to continue the momentum and ideally see if we can finally crack a big win for the season. Certainly plenty of enthusiasm within the 6 dudes we have assembled here.

So stage 1 of china 1 kicked off today with the Team TT and we had a modest showing finishing 5th on the stage. I love these events as it is as close to a rowing race that you can get on a bike. You all start together and you winning time is given by the 5th rider across the finish line. So basically if you ride as an individual and blow your team mates up the result will be terrible. The idea is to stay as smooth as possible and keep everybody together for as long as possible. I have always been a bit of a talker and not surprisingly in my rowing days I would often do the race calls and make the odd encouragement call. I have adopted the same role in the team TT's so as each rider swings off the front having done there turn and is floating back beside the group for a short breather is give them a quick encouragement and pat on the back just as a reminder that we are all in this together and hopfully, all be it for a brief second take there mind of the pain of the effort. It is an event that I really get excited about, I love any excuse to chat!!

By far it was the best TTT we have done this year as far as pacing and working together goes so I was very pleased with that. Our fast man and rd captain aaron kemps did an awesome job setting the pace and our chinese strongman xu gang and myself did our bit to pull as long as possible to give the rest of the guys as fresh as possible. It was the most un technical course I have ever completed, 10km out, around a traffic island and 10km back. Tailwind out and you guessed it block headwind back so was pretty straight forward. The plan was to go out smooth with the wind and then on the return leg xu gang and I would pull longer and harder as the others had a better recovery sitting on the wheel into the wind. We were doing 57-60kmph with wind and on the way back 46-47kmph into the wind. I was doing between 500-550 watts during my pulls to maintain this speed on the way back which indicates how solid the head breeze was. All in all we paced it great and had plenty in the tank for the return into the wind so a good start for the champ system lads as we kick of our september adventure in china.

So onto my data for the day and I am pretty pleased with it and have some added motivation for the race ahead after analyzing it.

TTT data
Distance: 20km
Time: 23:55
Speed Av: 50.3kmph
Av/Max heart rate: 174/195
Av/max power: 407/1050watts
1min power: 540watts (average length of my turn on the front of our team champion system chew chew train!!)
Av Cadence: 100RPM
Energy burnt: 580KCal

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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Qinghai wrap up

The tour of qinghai lake came to a reasonably successful end for us champion system boys this week. Starting the final stage in 3rd place, we had a very simple objective, to pinch some bonus seconds in the intermediate sprints to move at the very least into 2nd. Fortunately for me my team mates believed in me more than i believed in myself and after missing all the points in the first sprint finishing 4th despite a perfect lead out by my boys, I asked them not to work for me for the second and final intermediate of the 2012 tour as I has no confidence in my ability to take the seconds required to move up and was afraid my rivals might pinch time and move ahead of me. 

Thankfully my team mates told me to grow some testicles and have a go. They immediately went to work controlling the race for the next 30km before the sprint and with 3pm to go I again found myself behind my dedicated team mates drumming out a tempo that made it difficult for me to even hold the wheel. One by on the Chinese boys rode themselves inside out before my final man, will Clarke was the only one left in front of me with 1km to go before the most important intermediate sprint of my professional career. All the time our Rd captain aaron kemps and jian kun (nicknamed johy Quinn for the race) on my wheel protecting me from my rivals falling into my slipstream and I certainly heard plenty of foul language in both English and Spanish and Iranian coming from behind which gave me confidence, these guys were certainly ruffling the feathers of those chasing exactly what were chasing!!! So back to the final km and will took a quick look back at me and with my new found confidence I told him to let rip. Let rip he did cranking the pace up to almost 70kmph and in the process splitting 2 of us of the front of the peleton, myself and another rider along for the ride out of gc who just piped me in a photo finish for 1st however it was not a problem as the 2 seconds for 2nd place gave me enough to move into 2nd on gc. So 2 got me to 2!!! Back to will whom had pulled me to with 400m of the line had gone that had that when he finished his lead out he immediately went backwards through the peleton and was struggling to maintain contact within the safety of the follows cars by the time I crossed the intermediate sprint line. This really typified team work for me, he had dug so deep he did not have another gram of effort left in his body following his amazing effort to literally turn the race around for us with his lead out. I certainly owe him one big amount of help in an upcoming race in the future.

No heroics were performed in the final dash for the stage victory however it was widely spoken within the bunch that m champion system legendary team mates had done a faster lead out for the sprints than any of the sprinters teams could manage for the actual sprint!!! With my boys all in suffer street like will fighting just to make it the final 15km to the finish, replicating the lead out was not in the question and not to mention my inability to sprint against any riders with just the slightest sprint on them. 

Alas we were simply happy to have achieved exactly what we set out to do at the start of the day and achieve a great result for not only champion systems, but for the team work involved in obtaining the result. Everybody completely sacrificed themselves for me these 2 weeks and as a result we grew as a team together. We all had specific areas we could contribute and every rider took responsibility in those circumstances to perform there role and did not miss a beat the whole race. As a result of this collective contribution I was able to maintain a good gc position that we could all be excited to be apart off. 

As for the race itself it was quite an amazing adventure. The longest stage race ever held in Asia and hens earning the nickname of Asia's grand tour. 13 days, 2000km without any time trials!! average elevation of 3100m,  and an average race speed of 45kmph made it a real great event to be apart of. Having to face the environmental factors is hard enough at in excess of 3000m altitude however to attempt to contain the Iranians and columbians whom had all grown up living such environments took the torture to a whole new level. In any case we all survived and had the privilege of being apart of such a unique race which seeing the level of organization and determination of the local people to make it bigger and better in the future, many many professional cyclists will have the opportunity to experience it all in the years to come


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Qinghai stage 6

Racing above the clouds was the order of the day for stage 6. 2 mountain passes, 1st of which topped out at 3500m and the second and potentially decisive at 3900m with only a 15km plunge to the line to follow. Still struggling a lot from my diarrhea and tumbling tummy I had one simple objective not to lose anytime. My team mates did a great job keeping the race under control and the pace steady enabling me to save as much energy as possible. It was not until the final few km of the final climb that I had to make some efforts keeping the columbians and Iranians in check but even then still had my super stay team mate pengda(aka Kung Fu panda) to keep me in the front group. Over the climb we were safely in the front group of 15 or so guys and lacking any extra punch I was happy to have stayed at the head of the race. The group swelled a bit on the decent and a bigger group sprinted for the stage and I was quite relieved rolled across the line safely with my gc aspirations still intact. It is a pretty strange feeling racing up that high, you literally have no oxygen so I think I can say I know how 100m sprinters feel who old there breath in the mad dash!! Thing was felt like I had to do it for about 10minutes and must admit the thought of passing out whilst riding a bike had never crossed my mind until yesterday!! Fortunately the decent was pretty straight, any corners and there is a very high probability that i would have completely missed them. Still was a great day and satisfying day to see just what the human body could handle. It is one thing to push yourself to the limit which all athletes can experience but through in onto of that such extreme climate conditions and it is interesting to see just how the system will react. Anyways like so much of this year it has been a great adventure and I am sure plenty more still to come in the final 7 stages still to race here in Qinghai lake.

Time for the circuit race in then Switzerland of china!! Photos and more on that in a later blog


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Qinghai lake stage 5

Minimal action today, was a long 205km at an average elevation of 3300m. Again the breathing was the greatest obstacle and the thin air kept the pace very high, 45kmph average. Finished in the inevitable bunch sprint, I kept myself up front and out of the crashes, team did a great job looking after me and ensuring I have as much energy for tomorrows stage which tops out at 3900m 15km from the finish!! Of to bed in the clouds!!

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Monday, July 2, 2012

Qinghai lake stage 4

3800m of elevation we reached today!!! I have only ever been that high on an aeroplane in the past, let alone racing at it on a push bike!! To make the experience all the more in humane I did it whilst under the onslaught of the columbians and iranian's whom make it look like there racing at sea level!! Anyway survived the climb and without to much damage. The local hero and my team mate lui biao did an awesome job setting tempo for me to keep the field as bike as possible and the rock spiders in check. Once down on the flat it was more my terrain, all bit it still at 3400m!! But was blowing it back side of and with some enthusiastic men whom had a bit of size to them in the group in the gutter it went and 27 of us were able to pull away and take some more time but most importantly put 3minutes into the columbians who find that sort of effort a little tuff so good day for me and the team. I now sit 3rd, 12 seconds behind the leader so all ok, still 8 long and difficult days to go.

150km, 3hrs 30min, 42kmph, heart rate- 131 average, 176 max, power- 216 average, 1048 max, 3751 max elevation.

Jolly jolly tiredddddd

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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Qinghai lake stage 3

Today was quite difficult, in a nut shell, woke up this morning with Diarria, suffered through the first 100km, then went through torture and we climbed to 3500m elevation trying to maintain contact with the columbians and iranian's, finished in front group of 12 with my super star team mate pengda who saved my back side bigggggg time!!!! Oh and the Iranians and columbians, was pretty funny actually in the wind as every body wanted sit behind me as I was twice the size of them, not much protection for me unfortunately making the day all the more torturous but also satisfying in the end to still be at the head of the race.

Time 3hrs 30, 150km
Heart rate- 147 average, 185 max
Watts- 250 average, 1117 max
2000 calories burnt and max elevation of 3500m!!!!!

Need a big sleep


Saturday, June 30, 2012

Qinghai lake stage 2

Hi Sharon

 For today's tweet

Stage 2 Qinghai lake

Today was a little more of a soften up for the bunch however in the end it came down to a large group sprint. Today we started to climb in elevation topping out at 2900m so was interesting to see and gauge who the brave ones will be as the race heads for the sky!! As expected the columbians showed there hand but fortunately the climbs were neither steep enough or long enough for them to do damage. In the next 3 days we race at an average elevation of 3300m so they will certainly have plenty of chances to drop us beachside boys over the next few days, certainly going to be an interesting battle. In the end we were able to control the climb to ensure our sprinter Aaron was over in the front group however unfortunately in a ultra fast 60+km/h downhill sprint we were unable to assist him much and finished just outside the top 10. He will have plenty more chances but for the next few days i will be a case of keeping every possible orifus in your body open to get in as much oxygen as possible to keep the pins spinning as we head toward everist!!! Feeling good and looking forward to the unknown!!

Today's stats
Distance 122km
Time 2hrs 42min, 45kmph average
Heat rate, average 138, max 183
Power watts average 236, max 1064
Calories burnt 1500


Friday, June 29, 2012

Day 1 qinghai lake

Tour of Qinghai lake kicked of today in the highland city of xining. As expected the race finished in a bunch sprint giving the peleton a good little, not hard, not to easy day, ahead of 2 weeks racing. We went into the stage with the objective of giving our sprinter aaron kemps the best shot at victory and in the end he was 6th across the line. Prior to expected sprint finish there was the usual barrage of attacks which ultimately saw around 8 riders break clear including or local hero Liu biao. Having him up the Rd meant we could all take it easy in the bunch and wait for the finish so was great to have him up there. 

Being at 2400m elevation the lungs don't function as well as they do at sea level so the opportunity to spend as little energy as possible when possible will be a crucial ingredient in achieving success over such a long race. Heading into the final 5km we all moved to the front to help keep Aaron is as good a position as possible which is a great sign for the race ahead as we seemed to be working really well as a group. 

So a good first day with the local cycling super star of xining lui biao up in the breakaway and getting plenty of attention and Aaron showing that he will be one of the faster men in the sprint finishes as the race progresses so plenty of optimism for the 12 days of racing ahead for team champion system.

Power meter data
Distance 96km
Race time 2hrs 4min
Av speed 47kmph
Average heart rate 134
Max heart rate 186 (felt like 286!!!)
Average power 225 watts
Max power 932 watts
Calories burnt 945

New horizons

In 2012 I am a member of the Champion System Pro Cycling Team, registered in Hong Kong and the 1st professional continental registered team from Asia. The UCI has a clear goal  of globalizing the sport and with that the team is new frontier in this evolution of cycling and when the opportunity came up to be apart of it I jumped straight into it. Through the vision of Luis Shih, champion system owner and massive supporter of cycling throughout the world, and the guidance of the vastly experienced Ed Beamon, the team was launched in January and began it's journey into the world of professional cycling. 

The identity of the team is most definitely international. We have a very significant Asian influence in terms of riders, staff and sponsors. A very anglo Americans/Aussie theme stemming from the management, riders and sponsors from the region and of course strong European ties with riders and our central service course in Belgium which is the infrastructure hub of the team to deploy us all over the world. Nationalities that make up the team include, Chinese, Malaysian, hong kong, estonian, german, Swiss, new Zealand, Spain, Belgium, american, and Australian. This mix of personalities and structure of our race program where we have strong representation in professional races in Asia, Europe, and America all season long demonstrates our very international culture. 

A program of this scale has certainly been done to some level in the past however perhaps not to the extent which Champion System will embark on in 2012. The logistical issues faced by management headed by Ed Beamon are certainly never ending and a very demanding part of keeping the program running. Similarly the riders on the team are faced with new challenges of trying to maintain competitiveness across all continents with the added stain of travel. Fortunately we are a very international team with most of the riders used to traveling long distances to ply there trade so we have some experience to deal with the continent hopping. With the major races now on around the globe you need to very quickly find ways to manage the travel to the best of your ability as there are no head starts or time bonus's given to you for spending more time than your competitors traveling around the globe. I have found that the mental approach to the travel is very important when spending time so much time on plane's, and going through time zone changes. Personally I often look forward to boarding the plane so I can catch up on the latest movies, a good book, and most importantly some forced rest which professional cyclists often find difficult to do when the bike is readily available! Not much training can be done from 30000 feet so may as well make the most of the down time.

Team Champion System's commitment to the emergence of Asian cycling is very significant. Until now Asian riders have been faced with so many barriers to entering the world of professional cycling outside of Asia. Participation of the sport in the region is immense and vast, however travel restrictions have meant that often the athletes from the region cannot travel to freely compete wherever they choose around the world like us anglo's and Europeans are able to do. That's where team champion system is a unique opportunity for riders from the Asian region that are fortunate to be apart of the 1st professional team to compete from the region. With the team they are able to race all over the world and gain the experience much more easily than they have been able to in the past. Ed and his management team take the responsibility to ensure all the correct visa and travel permits are in place so these athletes can focus solely on there preparation and racing across the globe. 

With the uci spreading it's wings all over the world but predominately in china, it appears that emergence of team champion system has come at a crucial time for the Asian riders to make themselves more prominent in the international peleton. Having so many high level races also in there own region means they can now compete in the comfort of there home environment against some of the best riders in the world and then in turn take this experience with them all over the globe and improve there skills and competitiveness even more. Not only is the globalizing of the sport great for the athletes with which home countries the events are staged, it also open the eyes of the world to the beautiful sport of road cycling which popularity seems to be spreading like a plaige. Like running, almost everybody can ride a bike and as such the sport offers a unique feature in that those watching can appreciate just how incredibly gifted, and to many of the observers how super human the top athletes within the sport truly are. 

Of course the world economy has to have an effect on the development of professional sport as it is the commodity that keeps it all moving forward. In light of this it is also no surprise that the uci are reaching further afield to region's previously only touched on by road cycling. On the flip side, the sport has to provide a product that is entertaining and marketable and good for the image for those investing in it. I feel that due to the incredible growth of the sport particularly over the last few years the collective personal involved from sponsors, host cities, riders, staff and admin are doing a great job in providing a show at all corners of the globe. For me it  is an amazing and exciting opportunity to apart of the road show as it roles on.

This week with the start of the Tour of Qinghai lake marks the first of a string of important races in china which team champion system will compete over the coming months. What an amazing event, 14 days, all stages held between 1500-3800m in altitude, and all on the fringe of the Tibetan plateau. I am just wondering how long it will be before the organizers have a summit finish on base camp at everist!! That would be something. So for the team it is a great opportunity for the Chinese riders to compete in front of there home crowd and give our Chinese sponsors the opportunity first hand to see what there generous investment has helped develop. The riders and staff are all very excited about the 2 weeks ahead.

The season is certainly a great journey into the unknown however upon reflection so is the evolution of professional cycling. Sure Le tour de France will always be the mecha of the sport that captivates the world and I continue to strive to one day be apart of it. However the globalization of the sport through the vision of the uci and the development of teams to give riders in these regions thanks to the investment of the likes of Luis shih is a exciting space to watch also. In reality it's all just the beginning of a very exciting future for all involved in the evolution of our wonderful sport.


Monday, June 25, 2012


Yesterdays was one of those days on a bike where there is endless drama. I am now in xining, the capital city of the qinghai region of china on the fringe of the tibetan plateau preparing for the tour of qinghai lake. The city is at 2400m altitude and the race will take us as high as 4000m so the need to arrive early and try to acclimatise as much as possible Is pretty important. Yesterday was to be my final hitout before the race begins with a 6hr easy spin with a little intensity to open up the lungs and legs. So to the drama!

It started out when I was pumping up my tyres and I managed to break the valve! Flat number one and delay to begining training as I headed out on the rd.

On the road and feeling really good, excited about my trip to qinghai lake 100km away when down when the same tyre about 45' into the ride. Another change and underway, still feeling great and assuming bad luck done with.

Next was a careless error when doing a u turn after taking a wrong turn, front wheel hit a small divide on the rd and I hit the deck!! No damage just pride. By this stage I could only laugh at what had transpired in the initial 1hr 45min of my ride, anyway I soldiered on. All went smoothly as I climbed up toward the lake and did a little interval around 3000m high to see how the lungs would react, certainly found out racing up there will be somthing I have never experienced before but that excites me. So just as I finish my interval it starts raining and gets a little cold so I do the sensible thing and turn around, I am now at 3200m altitude, an elevation I have not ridden a bike at before and figure I have shocked my system enough and being 80km from home and in foreign country turning around seems logical.

As I trundle back toward civilisation down goes flat number 3, I can't believe my luck and thanks my lucky stars that at least the rain has stopped. Quick change as I am getting pretty good at them now and 60km to get home, I am now out of spares so really preying I get most of the way home before testing the quality of my training rims!!

Just as I feel I have dodged the bullet and 15km from the closest bike shop down goes the rear wheel for flat number 4, I am relieved its the rear as at least I still have the front to ensure I can steer properly which is kind of paramount when dodging the chinese traffic!!

Clunk clunk clunk I go along the city streets with all the locals staring now more intensely than usual, not only is it strange to see a white man riding a bike but to be doing it on a flat tyre is even odder for them to witness. To make things even more amusing for them only 7km from the shop down goes the front to make it flat tyre number 5 and the epic day of misfortune is complete.

I limp into the bike shop after 5hrs on the rd and fortunately due to the state of my bike no need for any explanation, 2 flat tyres, one tyre destroyed and no more spares there was no need to try and exlain what I was there for. The local mechanics quickly rush to my aid like a ferrari formula 1 team as the photos shows and I am back on the rd in no time for the final 1hr of my adventure which quite incredibly heralded no more flat tyres or incidence.

After the ride I was a little tired after enduring a 6hr ride which took almost 8 so I went of to the blind massage joint that our team translator had told me about and I had visited the day before. The guys there are completely blind but give the most incredible massage to get me feeling like new again, infact the massage was so good my legs had completely forgotten the days ordeal, the only lasting memory will be the skill fullness with which I can now change a tyre on my bicycle!!

Still 17 more days in the region including the big race so and certain the unexpected adventure will continue!!


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Monday, May 28, 2012

Tour of japan wrap up

Down town tokyo was the scene for the final instalment of the tour of japan for 2012. A nice flat circuit race of 112km with plenty of big corners made for the ideal way to wrap up a seriously hard week of racing. The big bunch gallop is always a favourite for the crowds and the teams containing the sprinters certainly ensured that this was how the days winner would be decided. Our team was keen for a sprint as our malaysian missile adiq ottman was keen to bang handle bars with the fast men but we knew his best chance would be if we could somehow get some fatigue into the sprinters pins before the final dash for the line. Like every other day our plan was simple, be aggressive and look for any opportunity to break the race up. This was difficult with no breakaway attempt getting more than 6 seconds ahead of the charging peleton but we still launched of the front at any opportunity as we had done all week. Should no breaks survive and the bunch be gruppo compacto then our big strong man will clarke was to put in a bid for glory in the final 5km. My role was to have him up the front and adiq behind will so I could protect him from the wind to maximise his attack and adiq could be behind to ensure nobody could follow his wheel easily. We don't really need to worry to much about this as will clarke is one of the most explosive guys in the peleton and you basically need a nitro booster to attempt to follow but none the less better to make sure he gets away. So to the front I took them as the pace built for the final 5km and out of the corner of my eye all I saw was a flash!! He attacked so hard I had no idea what team outfit he was wearing and he instantly had a good gap. Unfortunately for wilba, larry lactic acid set in once he was with 2km from the line and he was caught. With this happening, myself along with adiq now on my wheel moved our way to front and adiq chose a wheel he wanted to follow. He picked the right one as the wheel he chose ended up winning. Once he was dropped of I went full gas to the front of the bunch to keep the pace as high as possible for the final km and keep at bay any will clarke style attacks from the opposition and wait and see where the malaysian missile would end up. With 500m to go I got swamped by the sprinter and there leadouts and in a tight very scrappy sprint adiq ended up with a great 4th place which is a excellent result considering he is not a pure sprinter so all good all round.

As always with these flat chaotic circuits I am always happy to finish with all my skin still intact and results wise finished 7th on GC, bit of a nothing result really however following my allergy attack on mt fuji it certainly could have been a lot worse and it is always nicer to be more toward the front than back. Our climber chris butler wound up 5th on GC after his sterling ride up mt fuji and the result I am most happy about is the fact that we finished 2nd on team GC, by far the best performance this year as a collective group. Nice we finally have some momentum and now important to keep the ball rolling. So with the race all done and dusted and bikes packed up we headed out for a meal with our major sponsor champion system in down town tokyo. It was about a japanesey as you could get as we gouged ourselves with sushi, pork, fish, and steak and of course a few or there great beers.

A great way to wrap up a great week doing a great race with a great bunch of blokes.

Time to head home to tassie and do some serious training!! Super duper motivated!!

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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Tour of japan stage 4

Today was an absolute dusy!! Not only did our 2 kings of chinese cycling, pengda and xu gang finish 2nd and 3rd respectively they achieved it on what can only be described as the most incredible racing circuit created for a bike race. Measuring 12km in length and climbing 400m in altitude each lap, it is not only never , and I repeat never flat but also you are never not turning a corner!! As nasty as it sounds it is a purpose built circuit for rd cycling apart of the japanese cycling school which also is the base of there world famous keiren school. This is basically where riders are like jockeys who race a series of races where they ride the same bike and wheels and even dress like a jockey. The big draw card of the sport is the millions of dollars which are gambled on the race annually. Amazingly all the corners were incredibly safe and the course flowed remarkably well. So not only did you have to deal with the fatigue but also fight dizziness and motion sickness as even after completing the course 12 times I still had no idea where I was going. Quite an incredible day of racing.

It unfolded nicely how we had planned, a break away went clear early with our powerhouse will clarke inside it providing a great chance for the stage win. The nippo team of the leader were forced to work to keep the time gap to break undercontrol and this gave the 5 of us the luxury of sitting in the bunch and saving our legs in the event will and his breakaway were caught. It was the slowest race I have ever done and in the end the average speed was only 31kmph, also we had climbed 4500m in 140km so it was obviously not the easiest day on the bike despite the slow speed. Non the less it felt easy for us as we could hide in the bunch and eat and drink as the calories were definitely going to be called upon in the final laps should the race light up. And this is what happened, with 3 laps or around 40km to travel the pace ramed up and the group got small but we were all still there. At this point I took the decision to work for adiq for the small bunch sprint should will be caught as he had the best chance of winning. With 15km to race will was caught and I immediately took up the pace making to deter anyone from trying to attack as per our plan. With about 10km to race will felt the pace was a little to solid and adiq was suffering a bit so I stopped riding and as I swung off my ever alert chinese team mate pengda had not heard will and assume I was finished and shot out of the bunch that quick that I could not even tell if it was one of our riders or not!! I had not seen him all day and after just 20km he had been dropped but being the incredible fighter he is he hung tuff and was now leading the race with 8km to travel. He was soon joined by a few more including our other chinese rider at the race xu gang and fivesome formed the group that would ultimately contest for the stage victory. Back in the bunch us five now played policemen and bullied anyone who attempted to ride across to ensure our men had there chance for glory. In the end they were outclassed by the most successfull and experience professional from the asia region, kam po wong, however mopping up 2nd and 3rd was still a great days work for the champion system team. Meanwhile in the bunch I again took to the front with 1km to go to lead out adiq as had been planned for the win however this time for 6th place which he easily took and with all 6 of our riders ultimately finishing in the top 20 it was a great days racing for our you team. Certainly the best team performance to date so great to see our constant improvement.

One more stage to go tomorrow on the streets of down town tokyo which will be awersome so we will be looking to set up our malaysian missile for the sprint which we are confident he can suck all there helmets of in!!

From tokyo


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Friday, May 25, 2012


Following our 2 days of racing here in japan we enjoyed yet another relaxing rest day as we drove to the site of our next stage, mt fuji. Today was the 3rd stage and it measured only 11km as it went straight up mt fuji. No gentle run in, not even a few circuits at the base to warm up the pins, simply line everybody up and straight into the the 10% slopes of japans most famous mountain.

I was really excited about todays stage, I had gently ridden up it yesterday and was optimistic that I could do a good job today. My lungs on the other hand had a different idea and as light rain started to fall I suffered an allergy attack and had the pleasure of hyper ventilating my way up the final 5km of the mountain. So a disaster day for me and frustrating due to these attacks being out of my control and always seeming to come when I am in a great position, anyways will get it sorted with all the required tests when back in aus next week.

At the start of the day we had very distinctive objective objectives, to get me on the podium and go for the win with chris and myself. The plan was simple, follow a solid tempo to the steepest section which began at 5km to go where at which point chris would attack and go for the stage win, hopfully put all the others in the red zone, and I could lock into my tt mode and grind up the hill and gradually ride away aswell. Chris did a great job doing his part and initially it looked to work perfectly and he put the 3rd and 4th placed riders in difficulty but unfortunately as I began my quest to overhaul them my lungs started using a mind of there own and it was all over. Chris was marked by the same 2 nippo team riders that had demolished me the day before and went onto finish a very brave 3rd and achieved a great result on the queens stage of the race.

Now its lights out time in a hotel with a difference. We are in a traditional style hotel so no shoes and we are sleeping on the floor so yet another cultural adventure for a day in which we climbed the countries famous landmark. Nothing like team bonding when all six of us are stacked into a room with merely enough room to role out our footons let alone swing a cat!!

All in all its been a great experience in japan and a look at tomorrows race map would indicate that another day of excruciating carnage is on the menu!!

As always, looking forward to it

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tour of japan stage 3

For the first time in the tour of japan we strung together 2 days of racing with stage 3 taking place on a 12km circuit which we completed 12 times. It included a 2km climb and was never flat so provided a great opportunity for the race to blow appart. Our plan was simple, make it as hard as we could and bank on our boys from champion system coming to the for in the closing laps of the race. Hard we made it, from lap 1 infact as the peleton immediately started to decimate. After just 3 laps there were only 40 riders left and after 5 laps only 30 riders. With 7 laps to go I decided that was still to many and attacked and soon the race was down to 13. With 2 laps to go the nippo team with 2 strong climbers forced the pace on the climb and blew that group appart, while initally I was able to follow I would lose contact and 4 were left in front with myself and another rider dangling behind at 30seconds. It stayed this way for the next lap and on the climb I was able to close a little but once the 4 hit the top for the final climb the 2 team mates took off again and put another 30seconds into us leaving me 1min behind and 2 other riders in the middle at 30seconds. The nippo team certainly have made a strong statement that they are here to dominate and in the past 2 days they have certainly put us all to the sword. After us it was a minute or so back to our breakaway companions and the damage continued further down with small groups all coming accross the line. On paper it looked like the 3rd hardest stage of the race so I am pretty fearfull of what the 2 hardest stages look like that we will tackle after another rest day tomorrow.

So was a day that we had a plan and stuck to it and in the end I did not quite have the endurance and explosive climbing power I expected. The next stage heads up mt fuji so I will be counting on my diesel style engine to help me out there. Certainly a backward step today but with so much hard km to come will keep forcing and fighting until we get to the finish in tokyo.

Will need a bucket of rice to refuel and a good long massage. After that I amy even have a japanese spa to get the muscles ready for the run to the finish!!

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tour of japan stage 2

Stage 2 of the tour of japan went of without to many fire works, that is untill we crossed the finish line but I will get to that in a minute. On paper it looked hardish but only if raced hard, it wasn't raced hard and as a consequence finished in a bunch sprint. This was exactly the outcome our team was trying to avoid as we were keep to retain the overall lead and perhaps even launch will to another stage win but it was not to be. Try as we might however with first will lighting up the only climb on the course on the second last lap before I made a bid to break things up on the final lap but with 4km run into the finish a large group reformed before the line and the argentine sprinters from the nippo team showed a clean pair of heels in the bunch gallop. With there win the also inherited the race lead relegating will to 2nd.

As for the fireworks, well as we crossed the line a heap were let off which startled me so much I stopped pedaling with 100m to go as I thought we were being shot at! The japanese sure know how to put on a show and as a result we all arrived at the finish safe and sound and ready to put on a show tomorrow. 12x12km laps await us tomorrow with a 2km climb every lap so we may very well get the harder day that I believe will suit my champion system men!!

Time for some shuteye

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Monday, May 21, 2012


Following yesterday's 2.6km prologue the organizers of the 2012 tour of japan decided we needed a day to recover so called a rest and travel day today for us to move to the town for stage 2. Not really, stage 1 was cancelled at the last minute and there was no time to organize and alternative race course so today was a freebie!

This gave myself and my fellow champion system co horts the opportunity the mingle with representatives from champion system here in japan and enjoy some sight seeing in the kyoto region. We visited a goodluck garden which we and counting on paying dividends for our time here in japan and then enjoyed a traditional tofu lunch in a traditional japanese style as you can see by the photo with us all seated on the floor for the meal. So a great way to enjoy a free day in japan before we drove to the town for the start of stage 2, Gifu, which is also the sight of the 2005 rowing world championships which I competed in. We did a quick lap of the 25km circuit we will tackle 7 times tomorrow before enjoying a massage and now the time has again come to sleep on my rice pillow.

Really looking forward to tomorrow, specially seen as though I am pretty much a local in the area following my time here on the lake in 2005!!! and expecting all the home town support that goes with it!

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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Stage 1 tour of japan

tour of japan for 2012 kicked off today and the champion system boys including my good self are here for the week long adventure. Expect the unexpected in asian based races and today was different. Different this time in a very positive way!! William clarke, fellow tasmanian, part time farmer and the rest of the time the nicest guy you would ever meet WON THE 1ST RACE OF THE season for our new team!!! The 2.6km prologue TT was a perfect hit out for the big powerhouse and he did not dissapoint romping home in 3min 18sec, a whole, wait for it, 1sec ahead of his team mate! Yours truly cameron james wurf!! We not only share the same team but also the same middle name being James which must have given us a good oman for todays stage.

Being 2.6km and 3min long it was pretty much full gas and whoever was committed the most on the corners, perhaps this is where wilba showed he had a bigger set of you know whats than me but i was happy with my cornering for the day and gave it all i had so no regrets. I was the last rider to start which is a position usually reserved for race favourites so i have no idea why they put me back there but fortunately i maintained some pride with my second place finish and kept suspence in the crowd which was what i might point out MASSIVE, i think half of osaka was crowded around the circuit today, easily 20000 people so a big thanks to all those that turned out to cheer us on. In my humble opinion i feel we put on a pretty good show.

So the leaders jersey for the 1st time this season is in our possession and we will be doing all we can to ensure it is still with the team when we finish up in tokyo city on sunday.

Time for a celebratory glass of champer's!!

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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Cinco de mayo! Gila crit

Today in cinco de mayo and if you are unaware of what it stands for it is simply the 5th of may in Spanish which is also the national day for Mexico. It is pretty cool then that I happen to be very close to Mexico and be in new Mexico for this occasion and I sent the day or more specifically the evening racing my bike. Tonight they had the criterium of the tour of the gila, a 70km street circuit for all the locals to come and enjoy on there national day of celebration. I have never done a race where I have been so distracted by the smell of food anywhere in the world. One one corner there was the taco and burrito stand and another the spit roast was churning over and on another the spare ribs were being dished out left right and centre. Surface to say I made the decision very early in the race that as soon as we were all done and dusted I was heading strait for the burrito stand to get in on the action, this corner smelt the best!!! The race for me was simply another good training run, just stayed up the front out of trouble and avoided any potential crashes so I was happy with the evenings events. The Americans are crit specialists as they race them week in week out so was good to see first hand how it's done. With a full lineup of 8 riders I look forward to helping set up one of our sprinters later in the year in one of these races because they are really fun. Really fast and always something happening, it is kind of like a road race version of a time trial. Tomorrow is the final stage and kindly nicknamed the gila monster so as I am feeling better and better each day I am looking forward to seeing what I and my lungs can handle on my final day racing at altitude. Time for some rest Cjw

Friday, May 4, 2012

gila stage 2 & 3

Ysterday the 2nd stage of the tour of the gila down here in new mexico went to script. The race has been going for 28years on the same course and to my knowledge the same thing happens on pretty much every stage every year. For stage 2 a field sprint is the choice for the finale and one of only 2 sprinting opportunities of the race so the sprinting teams dont want to miss the chance to strech there legs so to speak. I had heard that a strong wind in the final 10km can split things up a little so was excited and well positioned for such an event after it being my undoing on the previous day. Alas as we rounder the corner the flags were limb and the group promply followed the status quo with the sprinters lining up there men for much anticipated bunch gallop. I have pretty much written this race off to a good training week so made sure i did not got tangled up in any crazy moves and finished safly toward the front of the bunch. The stage won by the very organised bissal team whom like they did the day before lit it up at exactly the right moment and delived there fastman to the line so hats off to them. Today was a day i was really looking forward to being the time trial. I have been working much better on my TT bike this year and enjoy any opportunity to race against the clock in anger. After paying the price early in the race for going to hard and litteraly exploding and imploding at the same time, i made sure i just put in a good solid effort today and finished it off as strongly as i started. I achieved this and while i lost 1min to the eventual winner and was a medioca 12th place on the line i will take some positives away from it as i feel that it shows i am adapting to the racin g at altitude and also on a bad day i was not so far behind. It was a techniqual course not as far as corners go but as far as it was up and down and hard to judge gearing and where to put in the efforts. I had a plan and stuck to it and in some ways it was good and some it was not so good and also need to chose a little better the equipment next time to make use of the decents where i was touching 75kmph but could easily turn it into 80-85 with the right gearing on my bike. In any case it was ok and an improvment as far as performance and application from the previous days. I am now really starting to get excited about the days and races ahead which comes with being a little closer to the front than the back. Also i managed to not be overtaken by anyone which is always a nice feeling specially as i overtook a few guys along the way which is good for the confidence. Tomorrow sees us do a 65km critirium so will be a good fast motorpace session before the race wraps up on sunday with the gila monster which as the name suggests is quite a beast of a stage which will certainly show who is the strongest man in the race so i am looking forward to that one. cjw

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

gila stage 1

the first stage of the tour of the gila was yet another not so enjoyable day for me. The not so great days are becoming a little to common so i need to pull my finger out and start racing and not just riding. I felt very good going into the race today and had all the right feelings in my legs to finally break this far from impressive racing performance period. I light of feeling great i approached the stage with a positive outlook and an expectation that i would be at the front. The day was in reality the type of day i dispise most, first day of a tour with an entirely fresh peleton and a small breakaway forming very early meaning that the stage was ridden at a pedestrian pace. This all makes positioning and preparing for difficult sections all the more chaotic, specially when we only have 4 riders as appose to the 8 on apposing teams. Basically half the weight to throw around. Having dsaid that we and i should have been more than capable of being at the front when required and that was were i found myself today. After a 140km drag race we hit the final 10km climb and on what i knew to be the crucial crosswind section 4km from the top i was safely tucked in the leading group of about 8 riders and felt like all was going to plan. I had suffered hard to be there and knew at altitude i had to be carefull not to go too deep into the red as you cannot recover from it. It was too late for that as i had had to go deep just to make what i flet would be and turned out to be the decisive split and now just had to tuff it out for the final 4km. At this point things went wrong. As the lull hit our small group, two of my old team mates from local domestic team bissal hit the gas which sparked the action. This is also the moment i made my first error! instead of following these two guys i hesitated in the safety of our small group and left it for the united health care boys who had 2 riders to react which they did and ultimately won the stage. When they lifted the pace i was suddenly out of position a little bit as a few riders had closed the gap to our group during the lull and swamped. These guys quickly got dropped again but with me now behind them meant i was also dropped and now going full gas to close the small gap. At this point i went way over my limit at altitude and was intantly gasping with every open orifus for air and my body just would not give me any more turbo time. I started slipping back and with it the adrenaline of being at the front of the race and with this i kept falling further and further back till i realized the front was long gone and i would st up and relax and save my enery for the very hard 4 stages still to come. This is somthing i am not proud off as it is a race i want to be at the front and not be playing for the lottery of getting lucky in the stage. Unfortunately the domestic mentality of getting my leader to the front and then relaxing and saving energy is too deeply engrained in me and i need to shake it out as that is not so much my role on this team. Anyway today was a big missed opportuntity and i am the first to take responsibility for it. Somtimes you forget everybody is suffering and i have certainly had my fair share of days suffering beyond what i could imagine. On this occassion the united health and bissal boys really layed it down when it was a hard mans point to do it so i need to go and drink a big bucket of concrete and start getting back amongst the action!!! cjw

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Bould over

Following my little foray onto European soil next stop on the team champion road show is the USA for the SRAM tour of the gila in new Mexico. The race is quite unique in that it raced entirely at an altitude of above 1800m which greatly adds to the intrigue of the event. The try and better prepare myself for this added element of the the event I have arrived in America 1 week early to spend some time in boulder Colorado which is at a similar altitude for some specific training to simulate what I may!!! Experience in new Mexico. Boulder Colorado has been a destination that I have wanted to visit for some time. It is quite a mythical place within the cycling fraternity and not surprisingly home of not only many professional cyclists but athletes in general from all over the world. It did not take long for me to realize this as I saddled up on my first morning with former team mate and local bouldarian Timmy duggan. Simply there are healthy fit bods everywhere, on the Rd, footpath, pool and the surrounding parks and ovals. Not to mention the gyms that seems to be on every corner and I am going to take a wild stab in the dark and say that there would definately be more fitness centers per capita than any other town in the world. Once out of town and on the training rds it did not take long to realize why 1000's of road cyclists and triathletes have cosen these Rds for training over the years. The town sits at 1800m of altitude and if you look left or right, depending on which direction you are facing, it is pancake flat as far as the eye can see. If you look left or right again depending on which direction you are facing you will be confronted by the quite imposing Colorado Rockies and thus make it the perfect training ground for riding a bike. TT work and specific flat intervals can all be done without a drama and for those whom desire to go skyward there is simply a climb for all occasions. From the 30km 3% drags to the 10km 15% nose bleeder climbs for those looking to accumulate as much lactic acid as they can during there session. Timmy showed me all the main training routes and although I am sure there are many hidden treasures which I will hopefully uncover on another visit. He also took me on the Thursday night bunch ride, "the busstop ride" which leaves at 5pm from the traffic lights on the north hand edge of town. Timmy warned me that if you can show yourself to be the strongest in this bunch then there is a good chance that a big victory is just around the corner. I took his comment with a grain of salt but I certainly realized what he was talking about within the first 30min of the scheduled 2hr loop when I had left my lungs on the Rd some minutes previously and was now in the process of trying to convince my Brain to keep my legs turning to keep me in the group purely from the point of view that if dropped out of the group I had no idea where I was and certainly no energy to get myself home!! Fortunately m brain and heart and legs continued to turn over and purely out of pride I managed to keep myself at the front and even do a few very soft token turns on the front of the group, the whole time with my heart rate north of 180 beats per min an With the altitude thrown in and my arrival the day before I was learning a whole new level of suffering. I just kept telling myself not to forget it's how hard you can push yourself once your tired thats important! Lotto professional Greg Henderson was the main protagonist of the group ride and while many locals certainly pulled there weight also it will take a mighty strong and fast sprinter to knock off hendy once he rejoins the peleton in a couple of weeks as he builds toward the tour de France. So once the 2hrs of humiliation was over and i was roping home giving my body the much awaited opportunity to consume some oxygen that would actually reach my muscles and also try and find my lungs that had deserted me 2hrs earlier, I was definitely convinced that this was not only the hardest bunch ride I had ever done but perhaps harder than any race I have done in the past. Also was on my mind that i had now done 190km and 6hrs of riding for the day and i had only planned to do 4 so my stomach was in desperate need of filling. Fortunatly i was in the perfect city to meet this demand as i will touch on a little later. This altitude racing is certainly going to be be whole different type of suffering. So the training is fantastic in the boulder, that is no ground breaking news but what makes the town perhaps so great for athletes is the town and community itself. It has in place certain rules that prevent big chains from flooding the town and as result the city is filled with privately owned restaurantes and shops that cater for all walks of life. Being a town filled with such fit and healthy people the food options are often organic or at the very least super fresh. With all due respect to the rest of this monsterous country it is not a quality i have found in any other city or town. This also goes for the supermarkets so for the athlete desireing to be as healthy as possible and particularly for me that is all to often temped away from the healthy option, having delicious helathy nutritional options all around you maks it alot easier to give the body what it needs when training at a resonably intense level. All these ingredients certainly seemed to help me as i was there for 6 days and trained as if i would have if i had been at home in hobart for 6 months. It reminds you also what being in a such a positive environment can do for your moral and inturn your productivity. In this case i had just travel 14hrs on a plane from one continent being europe to another being america, also arrived at an altitude that would enable me to hit a golf ball 50m further (as a result of the thin air not my ability with a golf club), dealt with 8hrs of time zone change and i honestly felt like i went about my daily business as if none oif this had occured. So my time in boulder has now come to an end but for sure i will be back. I am now down in Silver City new Mexico preparing for the race that drew me to the continent in the first place. I have to say a big thanks to boulder for living up to all the hype and more and making it such an enjoyable few days. Certainly feeling as well prepared for the racing adventure that faces me this week down here in new mexico. In my time in boulder i have uncatorgoricaly come to the conclusion that it is the fittest per capita population in the world! I hope a little bit has rubbed of on me.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Trentino stage 4

Giro del trentino wrapped today with a quite panoramic stage which took us from the shores of largo d garda and to the summit of passo pordoi in the heart of the dolomites. I was super motivated for today as for a nice change I knew pretty much all of the route from my days on training camp with liquigas last season at san pelligrino. My plan was to go in the break which unfortunately was the plan of a lot of other riders aswell. That meant attack after attack after attack and after 80km of racing, 50km/ph average speed and having climbed 500m of altitude since the gun had gone off, 2 riders snuck of the front and a at this point decimated peleton happily took a nature break and a breather. The main field as so often happens on a balistic start like today reformed which makes everybody body wonder why we made it so hard for ourselves in the first place and the colnago team started tapping out there very gentlemanly tempo for the next 80km before we hit the vally rd before passo pordoi. So all was quite peacefull in the field until about 10km from the base of the final climb when liquigas swarmed onto the front and drilled. Not to worry I knew what they were up to and how they would do it and started to ease my way forward through what was now becoming a tired peleton. Unfortunately when people start to struggle they make small mistakes and on a harmless uphill dragging section of rd somone near the front clipped somone else's tyre and caused a massive pile up. With riders on the ground all around me I had not choice but to career straight into the carnage and hope for the best. This resulted in me stopping very suddenly, flying over the handle bars and proceeding to do a perfect summersalt quite conveniently onto another rider, landing squarely on my tailbone and head! I feared the worse as I flew throught he air but to my apsolute amazement I got up with nothing more than a groggy head, found my bike, even picked up my bottle which somehow came to rest between my legs, put my chain back on, and re mounted my bike. Only problem was by this stage the race was long gone up the rd and so close to the finish there is not charity wait for the crashers!!! Like there can be in other circumstances. So gruppeto for me today. I would have really liked to push hard on the final climb as I knew it so well and am interested to see my condition but adequate in cycling does not really permit you to attack the gruppeto when the race is already 5minutes up the rd. So non event day in the end. At the finish I was still a little dazed and when I reached into my pockets I realised my ventoline was in 100pieces. I have crashed a lot with that in my pocked and never broken one so maby it was the slight cushion I needed to avoid any serious injury. Regardless I am just happy to have got through this beautiful race, looking forward to some rest and then of to the USA where I will be racing the tour of gila. A lot of work in the bank so to speak now so am looking forward to seeing what I can do there.

First some sleep, a couple more days in gavirate then on the plane stateside monday morning.

The adventure roles on!

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Stage 3 trentino

Today we started with a clear objective, to defend the points jersey of our german sprinter mattias friedaman. We didn't, so that was very disappointing. The stage started with a threatening 7km climb which was going to make controlling who was in the break hard. For me the easiest way to control this is to sit on the front and ride at a tempo fast enought to try and dis courage to many dudes from attacking. This was working nicely and at the top 5 guys had about 5seconds on us so easy to pull back on the flat and launch mattias across. Unfortunately we set a little to higher pace and mattias has dropped from the field and we had to wait, In this time the group very quickly took 2min and no we had to chase it down with 70km to contest the intermediate sprints. So chase full gas we did with the 5 guys we had to work and got it down to 50 seconds but did not close it intime and the sprint and jersey was lost so big bugger but atleast we tried and failed as appose to not trying at all and in the process had covered the first 100km in 2hrs so we were not mucking around. Only problem was now we had 2 climbs to get our empty tanks over in the final 60km with the final climb of 10km averaging 15% so surfice to say there ended up being an equal amount of suffering for the remainder of the race all be it on a very empty tank. Oh the perks of the world of professional cycling!! Anyways one great thing about stage races is that until the final stage is run and won there is always another day to re focus on so that's what now excites me, more mountains and foul weather, they are even forcasting snow, can't wait to get soaking wet and get stuck into it, last chance to salvage somthing more than some great training km's from the 2012 giro del trentino.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Giro del trentino

Giro del trentino is underway for 2012 and myself and my champion system team are here in the beautiful trento region of italy ready to rock and role. Yesterday was what i like to call the men's 8+ which in cycling terms is a team time trial. The secret to these is very much like rowing, team work. That mean encouraging, looking out for each other and most importantly respecting each others strengths and weaknesses. Do all this and you produce a nice smooth team TT. We did just that. To be able to maintain a paceline, that being nice even pulls on the front and not having guys changing every 2 seconds which inturn illuminates recovery. We aimed for 8-10sec pulls, more if you were fresh and had the legs for it, which give the rider changing from front to the back plenty of time to get back in line, take some deep breaths and get ready to storm through again. The final catch is you need to finish with 5 guys so there enlies the importance of going the teams speed. I love these days so while my experience is limited I take on the role of back patter and doing what I can to keep spirits high, just like I enjoyed so much in rowing.

The result for us was a great ride, led from a technical stand point from our most experienced man in the area, craig lewis, we were smooth from the gun. We traded really good even pulls early on and in the final part those of us with a little more in the tank pulled for a little longer. We achieved our goal of not finishing last, we are not nieve and understand on the whole we are the weakest team here and also did not have all the neccessary equipment for a blistering TT. Our disk and super fast wheels which are crucial in such a discipline are locked in customs!! One of the bonus's of having stuff sent from china!! So we made do with what we and did a really good job and it was certainly the best display of team work within this team I have been appart of since we were in taiwan, I great day had by all.

As for today, well was a huge success with mattias freidaman, whom is our german sprinter shooting up the rd in the breakaway and taking the sprint jersey. The rest of the day for us climbers was not so great, we had hoped to set up chris butler, our demon climber for the stage but we got a bit out of sorts on the decent so nothing really happened! Anyway good news is we now have a jersey to defend so I can't wait for tomorrow.

Good night

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