Monday, 16 February 2015

Plages Vendéennes - Fontenay le Comte

The second race of the Plages Vendéennes was a little different than the one in Soullans. The course was tough. Lots of small but hard hills and in between no real time to recover.

Motivated to make it a better race than the first one I was right in the mix on the first lap. Maybe a little too active. The first lap was incredibly fast and I was in the red most of the time.
The beginning of the second lap wasn't much better, but I manged to get a small breather a few times. After a nice hand-sling from my teammate up a climb I found myself in a breakaway with 6 other riders. The pressure was on and never recovered fully. The peloton was never far back and on the third lap two other riders managed to jump across, unfortunately none of my teammates.

As we finished the long laps and came onto the short circuit (8 times 8km) the gap got bigger and I was told by my DS (director sportif) not to roll through anymore because the team was chasing behind. This obviously made the other riders in the break mad and I softly rolled through once or twice just to calm them down, which then again wasn't taken so well by the DS as I was not supposed to roll through.

Even though I was sitting on the wheels the whole time, I was feeling terrible and even got dropped shortly when one of the riders attacked up a climb with 5 laps to go. I was hoping so bad this break would get caught.
At some point it seemed like it would; the gap was down to 45 seconds, but with 2 laps to go it was back up to the usual 1min30 mark.

Just over one lap to go, the Norwegian (who went on to win the race) put in a massive attack on a climb and I responded too quickly, trying to close down the gap to the leading 3 riders as fast as possible. I ran out of steam a few meters too early and couldn't follow the accelerations as the others came around me.
That was that. It was a tough mental blow.

As the peloton caught me, attempts to help my team chase failed miserably and a few kilometers later the peloton spat me out too. It didn't help the mood that the blue train that looked so strong on the front a few moments ago, slowly trickled backwards through the riders on the next climb, most of them getting dropped alongside me. 

The break never got caught by the peloton and took up the first 8 positions.
I was deeply disappointed. Not only did I mess up my own chance of a good result, but I let my team down too. Not a great feeling.

But that's how it goes. I'll be up for another run on Tuesday. Let's hope it's a better one.

A tough first lap

Start of the 7-man break


On the run-in to the finish. Lots of spectators

One of the many roundabouts

Starting to hurt


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