The Tour of Utah has kicked off and we have just finished the third stage so heres the update of the race so far!
Stage 1 - Provo Provo 170km
With a 3 oclock start time and a damn hot day, forecasts for storms were on the way. The course was a big loop around Lake Utah which was pretty flat and unprotected so wind was on the cards! About 20km into the stage the perfect storm had arrived, not much rain but some serious winds, lightning and a hell of a lot of dust. With Campy Boras on the steed it was a real challenge staying on the road and upright. The cross winds were crazy and there was all kinds of crap flying across the road, I think I may have actually seen Toto??
The field was split to bits, the six Navigators were still up front but it wasnt long before the front group decided to call it Neutral till we rode into some pleasanter conditions. Once the weather cleared and we could see again, everyone looked like they had been working the local copper mines. (Utah actually has I think the biggest open cut copper mine in the world, it is one of only a couple of man made objects you can see from space!)
We cruised along for a bit longer before a couple of attacks started to go, with all of the bigger teams watching each other it wasnt long till the break blew right out to ten minutes. It was only a couple of riders who we figured wouldnt end up being a problem for the overall. But with about 50km to go a few teams started to roll through up at the front to make sure the break didnt get too far out. The break started to come back really fast as they had been out there for a long time and it would have been hard going with two guys.
Coming back into Provo we had a KOM to contend with, we were gonna try and light it up on the climb but I blinked and missed it? It was more or less a rise up through some housing estate. We had 3 laps of a 4km circuit once we hit town and the attacks started which pulled back the break on the last lap. Sizing up to be a bunch kick Sergey had slotted himself in behind a lead out train for another rider and smoked em taking the win and the first yellow jersey for the tour. Sergey is an incredible rider, he was under 23 world champion in 2003, he can climb, sprint and time trial. Its great having someone on the team that you can have complete faith in; it makes me have no problems working on the front!
After the stage riders were commenting that I must have loved the cross wind since I live in Belgium. But theres cross wind and then theres Cat 2 cyclone which I think we rode through!!
Stage 2 - Provo - Tooele, 150km
Another 3oclock start and some even hotter weather to contend with, it was a point to point stage which finished with 9 laps on a freshly made formula 1 race track. With the hot temps the field was content to cruise for a little bit until we hit some crosswinds. Some guys thought it would be good if they whacked it in the left hand gutter just long enough to cause a couple of crashes and some dangerous weaving in and out of parked cars and missing road shoulders. They only kept it up for a km or so which wasnt gonna rip the field apart so made no sense to cause so much danger. To settle things down the five of us road on the front with Sergey tucked in behind. This was pretty much how the race went till we hit the circuits. But while riding on the front through probably some of the harshest conditions and terrain to rival the middle of Aus all I could think about was no wonder the dinosaurs died out here!! At one point Phil asked me if I saw that hot girl, I said what girl mate, theres nothing out here but dirt, brown plants and tumble weeds must have been a mirage?
So we hit the finishing circuits which made it 30km to go, There were 2 riders who had been hovering out in front at about a minute for the last 40km and were slowly coming back with the all the attacks coming on the race track. A few moves went with no Navigators in it so Valeriy and I swapped off with all we had left to bring them back to a reasonable time gap. With 2 laps remaining they were reeled in. On the final lap the attacks were thick and fast, Chris Wherry from Toyota put in a massive attack, Jeff Louder and Sergey went after him and it was pretty much a drag race all the way to the finish with those guys finishing in that order. Sergey still ended up with the yellow, points and best young rider jersey. A tough day at the office and I felt a bit over done from the conditions.
Stage 3 - Heber 15km Time Trial
An eleven oclock start Wednesday which was a bit of a relief, an earlier morning but the stage would be over early and that meant we could kick back in the comfort of our nice hotel and get a good massage for the pins. So with a time trial you know the drill, 5...4...3...2...1 go! Full throttle all the way!! Once on my way it wasnt long before the effects of the previous stages efforts began to sink in! But I battled through it and ended up in 6th on the stage, the two Toyota GC lads smoked the course and finished 1st and 2nd. Sergey did a good ride to take 3rd. He had to hand over the leaders jersey to Chris Wherry but no probs, at least no work on the front for us now. The best time to get the yellow in this tour would be after the final stage, so well work on that plan I reckon!
Chadys current Pre Time Trial Warm up tunes:
- The Gift Seether
- Mama Kin Guns N Roses
- Girls Girls Girls Motely Crue
- Call me When your Sober Evanescence
- Wake me up When September Ends Green Day
- Rockstar Nickelback
- Shoot to Thrill ACDC
Theyll get ya going!!
Stay tuned for the next 3 stages, everyone keeps saying the tour hasnt even started so lets go!!