Saturday, 31 March 2018

2018 So far

Mallorca training in the cold
So 2018 training started in Mallorca. I had 4.5 weeks there before coming home for a few days before heading to the Philippines to start the season off. Unfortunately this race got postponed due to the volcano erupting. Which then meant 2 weeks training at home before flying to Taiwan. Once in Taiwan the team were there for 2.5 weeks of training and acclimatizing before Tour de Taiwan. The training was going great right up till the race and all my data was improved from 2017. So I was looking forward to racing and putting my training to use. It had felt like so long since my last race in September and I was more the keen to be back racing properly.
Cap Formentor route
Training in Taiwan

Tour de Taiwan stage 1 was a flat city circuit of 88km passing the Taipei 101 building and Taipei city hall every lap. The stage was very controlled from the start with a break of 3 getting away from the start. The break was eventually caught with 8km to go. The teams goal was to look after our sprinters and let them both got for a result. Roy was able to manage 7th on the stage. The teams first top 10 of 2018 in a UCI 2.1 race.
Tour de Taiwan Press confrence
Stage 2 was 119km finishing at the top of a 1st cat climb with 2, 2nd cat climbs within the last 40km of the stage. The stage was on from the start and we covered over 50km in the first hour. eventually just after an hour the break went with Roy in it, he was able to take the sprint points and move up the points classification. After the first climb the peleton got sent the wrong way by the race, we got put back onto the correct route and carried on racing. I managed to make the front selection over the 2nd climb and thought I was in with the chance of a decent result only for the race to be stop for the earlier confusion of getting sent the wrong way. This meant the whole race was back together with only 18km to go. The break got the time gap they had when the peleton were sent the wrong way. After over 10 minutes of waiting around the race finally resumed and was full gas all the way to the finish. What I thought was going to be a decent result turned into nothing.
Riding as a unit from stage one. 
Stage 3 the goal was to try get Roy closer to the points jersey and maybe even into it if all went well. the stage once again started very fast on rolling roads. As the big teams were trying to let the break go Roy managed to get away and ride across to the break. We kept feeding him information to what was going on and what he should do. He managed to take maximum point and was virtual points jersey on the road and we then told him to take it easy and if he made it over the main climbs before the peleton caught him maybe he would have a chance of the final sprint. Unfortunately he was caught and drop before all the hard climbs were over. He then was taking risks on the descents to try stay in contact with the race. The risks didn't pay off and instead they resulted in him crashing hard on the descent and also crashing out of the race completely. What was looking like an amazing result by the end of the tour for the team was gone.
On the attack!
Stage 4 was 168km with a 3rd cat climb in the first 50km and a 1st cat climb topping out only 15km from the finish line. The team plan was to get someone in the break. Sam and I were in a couple of breaks that looked promising but other teams had different plans. The break went just after the first climb and we all missed it. We chilled in the bunch the rest of the stage and tried to do a decent ride on the final climb. I made the second bunch on the road.
The final stage was a flat 200km day with a slight cross wind. It was virtually an out and back course with 3 finishing laps of 13km. Another real fast start to the stage with us trying for the break but with the pace close to 60kph it was hard to get away and when away it was full gas to get no where. eventually all the big teams had enough and spread across the road and eased the race up and allowed 5 guys to get away. Our job now was to look after Jacob for the final sprint. I was on bottle duties for the final 100km after riding in the wind at the front of our line before that. Once on the final circuits Rob did a great job of looking after Jacob in the first 20. In the final ks Rob made sure Jacob was always in the top 15. After a great team effort in the stage Jacob managed to finish off the job with an excellent 4th place and the teams best result to date. This result also made what became a bad race after losing Roy a success again.
Next up will be Tour du Maroc. A great race which I really enjoy as it's a 10 day race covering nearly 1600km. After a great sprint in the final stage Jacob will be going into this race with the belief he can do well and the team spirits are high ready to keep the ball rolling for more results. I'm also hoping for some results in the race as a previous stage winner.
Now I've been home for nearly 2 weeks, I'm ready to get out to Morocco for the race and the warm weather. This rain and cold weather isn't very enjoyable for training.
Team training and stage reccy.

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