Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Plages Vendéennes - Fougeré

The good weather stayed through to the 3rd race of the Plages Venéennes, which was held in Fougeré and although I was having troubles keeping my bike straight because I was shivering so much in the neutral zone, I quickly got rid of a few layers of clothing as the racing commenced. 

The course was something in between the first 2 Plages Vendéennes, not tough but not pancake-flat either. We still managed a pretty impressive 43km/h over the 147km. 

The first 34 km lap of 4 was terribly fast. Surprisingly I managed to stay at the front and keep a good position. However as the second lap started, things went backwards (not literally) and I was in a bad spot for a while. Unfortunately that was when the split happened, where almost 30 odd riders split off the front of the peloton. We had 3 riders in there so we didn't have to panic, but it wasn't optimal either as some other teams had double the numbers in the same group. 

So in the peloton we sat behind the chasing team and it was not easy on the wheels, but not terribly hard either. 

On the last lap (last big lap, we had another 7km circuit to finish) things changed though. Attacks went off like fireworks and although the team covered every move well in the beginning, my teammates were starting to fade a bit and I was left to chase down all of the moves. 
I managed to get into the 25 rider move that finally latched off the front and was just sitting on, trying not to miss a split as the cooperation was not the best (as you can imagine). 

On the 7 km circuit 3 riders broke away and another 4 rider group formed around me in pursuit of the escaping 3. We came close to reeling them in but unfortunately never managed to.
In the sprint to the line 2 riders passed me, as I was forced to lead them into the last 500m.

Upfront Benjamin Le Montagner managed a solid 5th place and would've probably faired better if we hadn't been outnumbered by the other teams. 

I finished in 23rd. It's not a great result but it is better than the placings I had in the first two races. Also except for missing the big move, I was quite happy how I faired and managed to read the race. Improvements are definitely visible. Next time I'll focus on not missing the big move. 

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