After I recovered from the flu I caught at GP Lugano, a solid 30 hour training week followed before we were on the road again heading towards Cesenatico, Italy. There the team finally would be all together, we would receive our new team bikes and have a few good days of training together before 6 of us would start the Coppi e Bartali stage race.
I enjoyed getting to know all the team and do some rides together with them in the beautiful area that Cesenatico lies in. The sensations were good too and I couldn't wait to race Coppi e Bartali.
|The picturesque scenery on our training ride|
|The new bikes being built up|
Unfortunately disaster struck the morning of the first stage, when I spent a lot longer on the toilet than I would've liked to and just felt completely empty.
The stage went as expected, I was always lacking energy to move up or just about do anything, so at the back was where I stayed.
The third time over a very steep 1km climb was too much for me and I got dropped, rode to the finish on my own and thought about how I was supposed to do a Team Time Trial in this condition in the afternoon.
The TTT wasn't a regular one though, as the teams were split into 2 teams of 4, so you had a strong team that would go for the GC and possibly the win in the stage and you had a weaker team that would just ride to finish.. at least in our case. We had a dream team A on paper before Coppi e Bartali, with some super TT talents and I was super proud to be in the A team. Unfortunately it all went against us. The TT bikes arrived a bit late so we didn't have much time to play around with the position too much, one rider got sick and was out in the first stage and for myself I got downgraded to team B as I wasn't of much use anymore either.
So I got on my regular bike and finished the TTT with my 2 other teammates in last place as expected.
|Struggling to hold on at the back|
The starting circuit of stage 2 was absolutely crazy, so it got neutralized. Unfortunately I was still at the back when the race started and had a tough time moving up as the peloton was strung out almost immediately as Team Sky was setting the tempo upfront.
Still I could've been in a worse position. Then a crash... I was going too fast to brake quick enough so went down with a few others, but luckily landed on some soft grass. Immediately I jumped back onto the bike and could just catch the last guy of the peloton. Which was a teammate. Now I was in the worst position... It was still all strung out and being the last guy in the row really hurts. My teammate thought so too, a gap opened and we were both off the back.
Both of us still tried to get back on with the cars for quite a while but just went backwards all the time so at some point we had to pull out.
A scary ride in the broomwagon later we arrived at the finish in time to watch the others fight it out for the victory. Definitely not the way I hoped it would end for me...