Monday, 20 March 2017

Racing officially begins!!!

After a short week at home after winter training in Spain it was time to head to Rhodes, to meet my new team for 2017 and start the racing properly. I arrive in Rhodes 5 days before the first race Rhodes GP UCI 1.2, this gave the team time to get to know each other and get the bikes sorted.
The first 5 days were really good getting to know my new team mates, we were able to do some good rides and also some good beach time in. We even found a great cafe for cakes which is always a massive morale boost.
Rhodes Grand Prix was 191km and was 1 full lap of the island. The weather was perfect for the race with clear skies and 20 degrees (ideal for tanning). The start of the race was flat out until a break eventually formed, well 2 riders so the bunch just sat up and was fairly chilled till the bottom of the main climb of the race. the pace was on up the climb with attacks all the way up and speeds of 50kph getting touched on the easier gradients. I was able to stay in contact with the main bunch of around 70 riders over the top. Once it flattened out the race became constant attacks for the final 50km. With 25km to go I got away in a break of 2 for 10km before a group of 8 came across to us. The group worked well together until 5km to go and riders started to look at each other and the gap started coming down quickly. So I tried a few attacks to try get a smaller group away and working again. Unfortunately that failed and we were caught within 3km to go and that was my race done and it was over to my team mates for the sprint. A bad crash involving 2 police motor bikes took out the teams sprinter, lucky he wasn't badly injured and will be back racing soon.
The next race we did was Tour of Rhodes which was 5 days after Rhodes GP. After an easy day the team rode stage 1's route to get a good training ride in and also to get us familiar with it. Good job we did that as the next few days before the race it just rained and rained.
For stage 1 of tour of Rhodes the weather didn't change with rain forecast for the day. The race started in the dry and had a flat 35km before the first big climb of the day. Luck wasn't on my side this day with 2 punctures in the first 30km and team car 26 it made for a very hard run in to the bottom of the climb. I manage to hold on up the climb and make the second group on the road and finish in that group. This meant out of the general classification and hopefully a chance to make the breaks.
Stage 2 started in heavy rain and had a climb after only 20km so the plan was to get in the break. I tried a few time to get in the break but failed. Also I had started to feel sick during the stage and was sick a few times later in the stage. After a bad stage of just surviving I got back to the hotel where the sickness really started and ended the race for me as much as I wanted to start stage 3 I was too ill to do so.
After Rhodes I had a short stay at home where I raced a national B road race in Scotland. The race was hard with it been short at only 100km. It was mainly attacks from start to finish, I missed the winning 2 man move but was able to get away in a move of 3 and sprint for 3rd. This was good for morale, before heading to Taiwan to compete in the Tour of Taiwan. I leave on 20th to arrive early to meet team sponsors, go to Taiwan bike show and have team press conferences. The race will start 26th March and is 5 stages long.

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