Ooh That’ll Hurt. Stage 2 of the Eneco Tour, and we shot southwards from northern Old Zeeland (I can’t help it) which is an amazing place — we were 6m below sea level and 100km inland on a bit of land that was ocean only 30yrs earlier! Incredible.
The stage was another flat one, so the boys knew that once again they would be doing most of the grunt work making sure that the stage’s breakaway riders didn’t get so far up the road that they took the lead from Svein.
In a similar vein to yesterday, they then had the majority of the lead work taken from them by the sprinters’ teams and just protected our man in to the finish.
The reports from the boys after the stage were pretty low-key — we’d controlled things well, with the main point of interest being the 7km tunnel that people were a little nervous leading in to, and so Trav Meyer (who was on the front at the time) had to keep dialling up the pace and hit slightly over 60km/hr in the middle of the race! It was with a tailwind, but still.
The other thing that was spoken about was the amount of road furniture on the Dutch lanes. Median strips, speed humps, little mini gutters so that the tramways were slightly higher than the roads, roundabouts, and parked cars.
Paradoxically, the Dutch roads are extremely cycle-friendly because they have nice smooth bike lanes usually on both sides of most roads.
Understandably, during the race the riders would become fed up with the stress of riding on the roads, and so would try and get across to the bike lanes for spells.
The problem with this was that the furniture, as well as parked cars, spectators and bollards was in much higher density there, and so even though they were pros, many misjudged their jumps and went down.
Jack Bobridge noted that one bloke hit a normal sized median strip, buckled his front wheel and went down hard. His statement “ooh that’ll hurt” said it all.
Once again, we were blessed with no crashes — mainly thanks to our boys riding on the front out of the all of the trouble. Svein rolled across the line and managed to maintain his hold on the leader’s jersey, so it was a good day all around.
I can only hope he holds on for longer so we can avoid the carnage behind for more days.