4hr Race. Yesterday was the Teams Time Trial (TTT) a 33km shot through northern Italy where teams departed five minutes apart and raced the clock up the road. The order of starting was based on the overall standing of the best three riders from each team, with the slowest team going first, and the team of the race leader going last (regardless of how their team was faring).
My job for the day was to check the time splits of our boys relative to the teams who had ridden before them. There was only one official time split provided by the race, and we wanted to make sure our boys got as much info as possible. I thus had to drive up the road behind one of the earlier teams and then start the clock.
The guys I was following (AG2R) ended up slowest on the day, although considering they rode through a hailstorm, it isn’t really all that surprising.
The weather was to play a huge role in everyone’s day. Basically for the first half of the day, the wind was a tailwind early, and then it died out late. It was also wet and at times even hailing, which slows the boys down a lot. At the end of the day it was dry, and the wind was a strong tailwind for the second half of the race, with a bit of a crosswind for the first part.
Unfortunately for us, it looked like we got the worst of both worlds, with the crosswind and rainy start, followed by a no tailwind end. Bugger! So we ended up in eighth place, a long way below where we would be expected to come (the bookies had us as favourites). A disappointing day, but there’s really not a lot you can do about some stuff!
Today was a flat (ish) stage from Cuneo to Novi Ligure. We’d put yesterday’s disappointment behind us and were fired up to give our sprinter, Tyler, another shot at a win.
My non-physio job was again recon — this time making sure the final corner wasn’t too wet, which would affect the boys’ final sprint timing. All went to plan, until the final 10km, when the break of three blokes managed to stay away from a peloton roaring down the road after them.
The race book gives a profile of each stage, and the final 20km looked like it was relatively flat today, so the calculations had been done, and the boys knew the break couldn’t be more than a minute up the road with 10km to go.
All was well, except the seven hills in the final 20km that weren’t mentioned in the race book! Oops.
Couple this with a VERY favourable tailwind for the escapees, and it suddenly was a lot less certain that the break would be caught. At the end of the day, the break were riding the final 500m when the peloton rounded the final corner and bore down on them.
Tyler won the bunch sprint (respect!) but was four freakin seconds short of catching the break. Four. Seconds. Bloody hell! Talk about frustrating!
The funny thing is, for the first time I wanted the break to be caught! Normally in that situation you love to see the little guys win out against the throng, but not when it’s my team leading the charge!!
Tomorrow is billed as a moderately hilly day. Who knows what it will actually be like! Hopefully we can do some damage tomorrow.