Thursday, 6 April 2017

Tour De Taiwan

After a very sort visit home I traveled to Taiwan to compete in the UCI 2.1 Tour de Taiwan. I arrived 5 days before the start to meet up with the team and meet sponsors and also visit the Taiwan bike expo. I received my new race bike upon arriving, this meant I could get use to it before the race started. The weather for the first 5 days was a bit hit and miss with rain and clouds, the temperatures were still high which meant it wasn't an issue training.
The team were invited to attend the press conference promoting the event as special guests. This was a great afternoon 2 days before the racing begun.
Stage 1 and the weather was set to be wet all day with cooler temperatures as well. The stage was short and not very technical, it was 8 laps of a 10km circuit passing the city hall and the foot of the Taipei 101 building. The stage was fast from the off, with attackes going and getting brought back quickly from start to finish. I managed to get in a few moves to get the team represented knowing they weren't going to stick. with 2 laps to go it was time to work for our sprinter for the finish. we got him placed in the top 15 for the last km but he unfortunately crashed with 500m to go. lucky he wasn't badly injured.
Stage 2 was 114km with a 2nd cat climb after 80km. I was trying to get in the break again early in the stage but wasn't able to get in one that stuck. Once on the climb it was a lot hard than the profile said, with the last 2km at 10% and steeper. I got over the climb just of the back of the 2nd group but once the road flattened out I was unable to catch the group. So I waited for the 3rd group on the road. during the race I thought the second group were the first group and that I was in the second group not the third. After the stage the teams plan was to get in the breaks for the rest of the stages. As we were all over a minute down on GC and the next 2 stages were mountain stages.
Stage 3 a 118km long day with a 1st cat mountain top finish. The team got a rider in the break so I had a relatively easy day just in  the bunch until the final 2 climbs (25km) where it was flat out till the finish.
Stage 4 was the start of the longer stages at 166km and a mountain top 15km before the finish. Once again I tried to get in the break but was unsuccessful and had another sitting in the bunch, saving myself for the final stage.
The 5th and final stage of Tour de Taiwan was 199km flat day. the team were very active to get in the break for the first hour. I got in a few moves which were brought back but eventually a break stuck and one of my team mates managed to get in to it. The stage was well controlled and the break was brought back with 3km to go. I managed to place myself in 10th wheel by the final kilometer, but once the sprint opened up I had nothing more to give due to spending so much getting into that position.
The race was a great experience and I learnt so much in such a short time. It was my first time racing at that leave and I'm happy with how it went.
With only 4 days at home between traveling home from Taiwan and leaving for Morocco I got as much training and rest in as possible.
The next race in Morocco is a UCI 2.2 over 10 days of racing covering around 1500km. With the longest stage at 191km and this stage includes the most climbs of the race as well. It should be fun and I'm really looking forward to racing it.

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