The numbers game

It was not a bad stage today, actually - pretty difficult in some places, though. Definitely the...

January 18 - Stage 2: Mannum - Hahndorf, 150km

It was not a bad stage today, actually - pretty difficult in some places, though. Definitely the first two hours was on like Donkey Kong!

The whole first two hours was pretty much on. I got into the first move of the day up the KOM; I think there was a good 15 of us - had a few good names with Cookie, Stuey and Gerro there as well. So I thought that looked good but they brought that back pretty quick. After that, once that next move went, I think the Australian team worked out it had that Chocolade Jacques rider in there, and once that came back, it all started back over again.

I was feeling okay, but it [the attacks] was catching up with me a bit. When we hit that second KOM, I didn't have good legs at all. I was up the front in the main bunch, just as we were about to catch the breakaway, but I didn't have the legs at all - I kind of just drifted back through the bunch. By that stage, once it went down the descent, the break had gone.

There was no surprise that I had bad legs today; just with the training I've done, it's not a surprise that I'll be up one day and down the next. Just depends on how I recover and how the race is run.

Once the [winning] break went, we had three guys in there, and after that, the peloton kind of sat up and it was kind of easy goin' then. Our blokes [from Credit Agricole] are probably three good guys to have in a break: Julian [Dean] showed he's got some form at the moment which is good, and with [Nicolas] Rochey there, he's always on the attack and he's going pretty well at the moment. The third guy, Christophe [Edaleine], he's not a bad hill climber, so we kind of had all bases covered.

It's just unfortunate Chocolade Jacques had the numbers. But they not only had the numbers, they had everything. It doesn't surprise me to see the Belgians go 1-2; any team that gets that kind of numbers in the break, they're going to be able to do that to everyone... it's just logic. And they're definitely in form - I think they were the first team out here - they've acclimatised and they've trained pretty hard, so it's makes sense that they're actually going pretty good.

I reckon Stuey would have been a marked man in that group - the finish was pretty much tailor-made for him. In fact, any time he's in a break, he's a marked man; he's usually the fastest guy in there.

I just had a look at tomorrow's stage - I might actually give it a bit of a go! It's a short stage - only 120 [kilometres] - and it's got a nice climb there not far from the finish. Looking at the parcours, it's hard, but for a break, I think it'd be good. I think it could be an early break, so I might have to be pretty active towards the start of the race. But it's a downhill start for a good 20k, so the break could take a good 60k to get away - but once it does, I don't think we'll see them again.

Catchya tomorrow,
Mark

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