April 26, 2008
Stage 3 Washington to Gainesville – 174 kilometres
Well, well, what a day! Rolling out from Washington we were greeted once again with clear skies, 174 kilometres of rolling terrain and a nasty fast and furious first hour! Once again with the yellow jersey still within reach of the entire field it showed, as 47 kilometres were completed in the first hour! The entire squad was taking turns at getting in moves. Unfortunately, what eventually slowed the pace was a nasty crash involving three riders; the problem was as we came speeding off a descent we hit a bridge, which had a nasty two-inch groove right down the middle (commonly know in Belgium as death ridge!) A few guys got caught in it and three went down, including my old buddy Ben Day. He got up along with another lad, but Timmy Duggan was a bit worse for wear with a broken collar bone, broken scapula and some serious brain hemorrhaging. Never a good thing to see and feel really bad for Tim, a great guy and great rider.
Just as this was happening four riders were clear, so as the field shut down due to the accident the break pulled away. This often happens when a bad accident occurs (mainly in the States ) to show some respect and sportsmanship to the guys that crashed and give them a chance to get back up and get back into the field.
Moises ended up being in the break which stayed clear through the three points sprints of the day. Moises picked up some valuable bonus seconds on route before Toyota and CSC began to reel them back in. The pins were starting to feel the distance and the rolling terrain a bit. I saw the 10 kilometres to go sign and thought 'you beauty, I'll be safe now.' How wrong I was, the two finishing laps contained some narrow roads, tight corners and some little sharp pinches. Definitely didn't see that in the brochure! Ended up losing a few seconds on the line but not much I could do about it. High Road took the stage and the yellow with Greg Henderson. Nice work!
Next up The Team Time Trial on the Atlanta Racing Circuit.
Stage 4, Teams TT 16 kilometres
Race tracks never seem that lumpy when ya see them on TV or play them in games but as we discovered they are. Four laps around a four-kilometre circuit and it was either up or down. We got there early so we could get some practice in around the circuit and get used to riding as a team all lined out. The TT was old school as well, no TT bikes, no disc wheels and no aero bars, but with helmets. The practice session went well and the race plan was to limit our losses as best we could to the faster squads. Other than that there was no real game plan, just ride as hard as we could, making sure to keep the team intact and come home strong. As Fabio was our smallest guy by far and not the easiest sit in the world we decided to but him on the back for lap 2 and 3, then roll him through again on the last one. Plan worked well plus Fabs 'the lil bugger' was tearin' legs off! He's really showing that having Type 1 diabetes doesn't slow ya down at all.
At the end of the day, we came home in 12th but only 56 secs down on the winners. Not bad for a bunch of misfits!
Next up a nasty 214 kilometres stage with three KOMs. Legs are getting pretty tired now but I'm sure I'm not the only one!
Till next time,