- Cycling News
September 28, 2008, 0:00 BST,
April 22, 2009, 20:09 BST
Bringing it to you fresh like a Burrito from Mexico Stage 7: Zitacuaro-Toluca, 91.2 Km Almost there!...
September 28, 2008
Bringing it to you fresh like a Burrito from Mexico
Stage 7: Zitacuaro-Toluca, 91.2 Km
Almost there! Two stages left and only 140km involved in total but not to be fooled that it was going to be easy. The first of the two final stages saw us race 90km and up and over a 20km climb near the beginning. The lads once again hit the front early to control things and let something non-threatening up the road. Scott decided to throw everything at us today (more than the kitchen sink). They were pretty aggressive from the bottom of the ascent, one Scott rider went clear who wasn't a threat along with a couple others but a few kilometres later they started launching there two GC guys in attacks of two which involved a non GC Scott rider attacking flat out with one of their GC guys in tow.
This went down for a few kilometres sometimes I had Kobza and Mois with me and some moments I didn't so I had to give chase myself. Eventually I decided that I couldn't keep launching after these guys and let them go, I thought it safer to play the option of Kobza, Moises and Ian to catch back up and utilize their strength to reel the break back in.
Of the six riders away up the road there were three Scott guys, obviously the three were driving the group in hope of breaking us. We could see them at one point on the other side of a descent and they were riding pretty hard but the other 3 guys in that move were sitting on and not working which was a smart play by them being out numbered and good for us to know that the whole break wasn't working. By now Ian had caught back up as well so now we had 3 guys rolling plus and Italian which his team had an interest in the final sprint. I started to feel the lads had things under control as the break wasn't getting any further out.
We wanted to try and keep them dangling out there at about 30 seconds which was better for us as it wears them down and usually stops further attacks. With about 40km to go a group of 30 riders caught back up which had Jonesy in tow. At that point the break came back also so it was all together. From there on the lads rode a solid tempo close enough to the finish for the sprinters teams to take over. Once again a nice smooth road till the final few kilometres and hang on and ride the bumps into the finish dodging riders and sunken man hole covers! Still in the lead and one stage or 50km to go.
Stage 8: Toluca-Zona Metropolitana, 52.9 Km
No champagne rolling into the Champs Elysees for this finale! Due to the shortness of the stage of course guys figured they could go flat out from the gun! But I guess whether its 50km or 250km there's always someone ;)
Fabs jumped straight into the first move to keep an eye on things while once again the lads jumped on the front plus a couple Tecos riders. This stage basically went up 24km and down 26km so all we had to do was hang on and defend the jersey till the top of the climb then all should be well barring a mechanical to the finish. So the attacks began on the climb mainly from the two Scott guys, they took there turns attacking me but the guys or myself covered their moves.
I think a few kilometres from the top they knew they were beat as their attacks got less and less or maybe they were just worn out? Little did they know I was wearing out too but nothing like keeping a cool composure to out smart a couple of Euros ;) Ian was on form towards the top and rolled a pretty good tempo over the top of the climb. That was the guys work done now and it was up to a couple of other teams to take over and drive it to the finish to move some of their guys up on the overall.
For a short stage there were only 20 or so guys racing for the finish. Moises stuck by my side all the way down the wet, bumpy and fast descent in case I had any problems which I didn't. Just to throw a spanner in the works someone had smashed what it looks liked to be an entire windscreen across the road as we came around a big sweeping lefthander with about 10 kilometres to go.
So of course tires started going down and I quickly run my glove over the front wheel but I couldn't get around to the back. I just crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. If I did flat all I had to do was ride to the 3km to go banner in the bunch and I would get the same time as the front group. But luckily 50-Cal, Kobza and Mois and myself had no worries with flats.
Also not to disappoint, the finish had a few bumps and a nice down hill sprint. But who cared? The tour was finally over and I'd notched up my biggest tour win thus far and a fine win for the team! All their hard work reflecting in the results after the overall GC and Overall Teams category sewn up! It was one of my most memorable wins I'd have to say due to the effort put in by the lads and the staff.
It would have been impossible to take the yellow all the way to the line as an individual that's for sure, but with a great bunch of guys that have ridden a lot together throughout the year and almost know how each other think in a race we've all became one unit in itself. VOLTRON!
Here's a couples of key highlights of the Vuelta Mexico
- An American rider about to put his cycling shoe on only to find a scorpion already wearing it!
- A rider being taken down by a dog and the dog not too pleased by it all and biting the downed rider!
- Jonesy getting cautioned as he hung on to the side of a car after a crash and was having his seat and seat post replaced. Not an easy task while trying to pedal hey?
- An American Director holding a seat post and telling an official where he would like to shove it and the official oblivious to the threat due to a closed window…
- The Mexican Duke Boys who didn't see a giant speed bump and launched off it at about 70km an hour! Yeeeeeeeeee Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
- The Mexicali Karate Kid taking on the Ukrainian Balboa. Eye of the Tiger will all beat Wax on Wax off my friend…
- Military escorts in the form of Blackhawks for the entirety of stage 3….
- And last but not least the "Fabs Burger", Five all beef paddies, 5 slices of cheese and some bacon all squeezed onto a sesame seed bun. Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm all that goodness and not an eye lid battered by the big man!
Next up is a race in Varese, Italy…
Got a long way to go and a short time to get there, I'm East bound just watch ol'bandit run!
- Cycling News
September 21, 2008, 0:00 BST,
April 22, 2009, 20:09 BST
Bringing it to you fresh like a Burrito from Mexico Stage 5: Zamora-Morelia, 146.3Km Well, the first...
September 20, 2008
Bringing it to you fresh like a Burrito from Mexico
Stage 5: Zamora-Morelia, 146.3Km
Well, the first of the two big climbing stages was upon us. Once again we let the attacks flow for the first 30-40km because we didn't want to have to ride the front for the whole stage. The less air time out on the pointy end of the peloton the better for the lads.
Unfortunately Matty woke up sick and struggled up the first climb... we lost him at about 50 kilometres in. A real shame as he was going well at the moment and it would have been good to have him with me, for sure. We eventually got a small break up the road with no real threats to us. The climbs weren't too difficult, either.
On the first two climbs the attacks flew but the lads got on the front to settle everything down. Just before the base of the second ascent there was a road closure in the form of tangled bikes and bodies. Luckily we were all in front of it but a few Scott guys went down. We tried to call it neutral for a few minutes to let guys get going again, but of course some riders didn't feel like that and kept attacking.
By the third KOM Scott had taken an interest in driving the peloton up the climb; either to bring the break back or see if I could climb. Well I proved the latter true and they also pulled the break back a fair bit, which also worked in my favour. Over the top and 25km to go I still had Moises and Ian in tow. Basically now we just had to sit in and stay out of trouble and let the sprinters do their thing. The race was cut a kilometre shorter than the scheduled finish nine people died there in a bomb explosion on Mexico's Independence day (September 15th). On that note, the roads were lined all day with military, packing some serious heat, and we had a couple of escort choppers as well.
But back to the finish. As usual the closing kilometres were a tad bumpy, and of course there were a couple of sketchy corners, but we were getting used to that now. The sprint was crash-free on this stage but maybe because the field was only about 50 strong... All three of us finished up front with no troubles. Another successful defence of the yellow jersey and another awesome ride by all the guys.
Stage 6 - Morelia-Zitacuaro, 150Km
Today was supposed to be the hardest of all the climbs; only one on the stage but it was over 20km long. We employed the same tactics as yesterday, but this time some guys within a minute of the lead managed to escape. Jonesy and Fabs once again proved they're worth their weight in gold by setting the early pace on the climb before the attacks began.
At one point Fabs was trying to move up to us but was jammed, so he tapped a guy to ask to move out and the Mexican went off his nut and tried to smash Fabs off his bike... similarly to what happened to Jonesy. Fabs might be a little guy but he wasn't backing down at all - the Mexican copped it big time! Nice work, mate.
The break had blown out to over two minutes but the flurry of attacks on the climb wore the gap down a fair bit by the top. Guys were hitting out all the way up. I followed some dangerous moves a couple of times on the steeper sections and hit over them on one occasion just to let them know I was doing ok, just in case they were wondering.
Kobza, Moises and I-Mac all rode brilliantly to keep the break in check on and after the climb. I think what really brought the time down was Kobza leading the descent. He's a really good descender and I had to punch it hard to stay with him. About 20 or more riders actually got dropped going down the descent, including a few Euros, which was surprising.
By the bottom of the descent the lads had reeled in all but three guys from the early move; one of them was Moises' bro so I'm sure it felt weird that he chased him all day but the end reward was satisfying. With 100km to go there was no help as yet, but Kobza and Moises rode the front all on their own until Tecos finally decided to put one rider up there to help. We knew if we kept the break close enough that a few sprinters' teams would move up and help towards the finish.
Luckily some Spaniards came up and helped out with 25km to go, which helped close the final time gap. Moises' brother still lingered out front with 5km remaining and we knew he was a strong rider but were happy to have him out there to take the 10-second time bonus away from some of the other guys. He held off the chase by the sprinters' teams by 12 seconds, I think.
It was an awesome ride and an emotional one for Moises. A long hard day on the front and his bro took a fine win. It was situation normal when a spill blocked half the road coming into the sprint. It happened on the right and luckily I was on the left, out of trouble. Ian and I still had to brake a little but still snuck in on the same time, no problems. Ivan Stevic actually had to jump a guy lying on the ground with his bike, although his back wheel came down on the dude's leg - ouch!
The squad is riding awesome - they are all hauling ass and now they all have new names:
Valeriy - "The Kobzanator"
Moises - "La Locomotora"
Ian - "50 Cal"
Chris - "Stock Car"
Fabio - "El Cohete"
- Cycling News
September 20, 2008, 0:00 BST,
April 21, 2009, 11:59 BST
After a bit of air time once again to get to a race (15 hours, not including transit) I had finally...
September 16, 2008
After a bit of air time once again to get to a race (15 hours, not including transit) I had finally landed in Aguascalientes for the start of the Vuelta Mexico. Eight days, 1139 kilometres and hopefully some good weather.
After my couple of brief visits back home with the little family and a pit stop in Ireland, I was very keen to get a bit of colour back on the skin. Unfortunately my steed never made it all the way to Mexico, it decided to have a lay over in Houston to see what Hurricane Ike was like.
We were lucky enough to fly out of Houston before they shut down the airport. The steed managed to get on the early flight the next morning, but not before I got a nice training ride on a Mexican-made Carbon Turbo! The boys loved it anyway, even if I didn't.
Stage 1 Aguascalientes - San Luis Potosi
A sketchy start was to be expected and it didn't disappoint. I took my chance to stay out of trouble and attacked pretty much from the gun, I hadn't been feelin' too super of late and after a couple of bingles over the leading days into the race I was going to play it safe and hide in the bunch for the first couple of stages.
I thought playing it safe was to be up the road. Before long I had three companions. I could here on the radio that there was some carnage going down behind me and made me feel a bit better also. We worked pretty hard to get a gap and after about 50 kilometres we had a gap of five minutes - there were a trio behind us at three minutes also and the three Amigos and I decided we better to wait and make it seven.
Out numbered and out voted I just went with the flow. We hit the first KOM at 80 km, it was only a category four and I ran second over it. The dude that smoked me was a sprinter and the last 500 metres were relatively flat.
We were only five strong after the KOM and we all worked well together to punch the break out to eight minutes. Then we hit the longest stretch of road I have ever raced on! I think we road in the same direction for at least an hour. Oh yeah, and a bit of a head cross wind! Nasty to say the least. Even at eight minutes the main field could see us. Eventually we got to the end of the stretch and the time gap had come down to 3:30.
Meanwhile back in the field the squad had set up behind the two teams chasing to stay out of trouble. Unfortunately even at the front of the field you can't be safe. There was a team trying to push in front of the Team Type 1 squad for no reason and after several attempts one rider simply decided to take his hands of the bars and smash Jonesy's bars knocking him off along with Kobza, Chris and Fabs plus several other riders.
Luckily no one was hurt too bad and they all rejoined the main field with out too much problems. Back up front we crossed a small climb with 20 km to go and then it was basically all down hill to the finish which was good for us. We still had a couple minutes over the top and looked good for us to stay away.
Everyone worked well down to the finish, the weakest guy of the group tried an opportunistic move with 1.5 km to go and I played the waiting game and hoped that the others would give chase. They did, but couldn't pull him back completely. I sat fourth wheel and waited 'till about 150 metres to go.
We were all spread across the road and all seemed pretty worn out from the long day. I couldn't believe I was actually passing these guys, after all I'm not renowned from my sprint. I actually won the kick and just missed the guy that escaped a tad earlier. No worries. The field came in a minute down which gives the five of us a nice little buffer for now.
Stage 2 San Luís Potosí - León
The plan today was for all of us to keep trying to get into moves. With seven stages to go the race was still wide open even though five of us had a minute on the rest. By the 80 km mark a move finally went with Moises in it. He was extra motivated today as the stage finished in his home town of Leon.
Five riders went clear once again and this time the teams that missed it weren't going to let it blow out too far this time. The team kept together all day and out of trouble, well kind of! With about 50 km to go I was riding along Kobza talking about the race when the yellow jersey just in front of us looked around, upon doing this he clipped the wheel in front of him and banked a hard right just in front of me. By now he was over lapping my bike and I thought I was down. He road his rear derailleur straight into my front wheel.
I thought I was going to high-side it but some how flew off the road into some very high grass which actually caught me like a net. With my front wheel destroyed and the team car up the road I had to wait 'till almost the last car in the convoy to get some neutral service.
All was good though, as the Boyz all came back and towed me back up. As it turned out after another 10 km or so the yellow jersey must have done some damage to his derailleur or wheel and had to pull up. He took forever to get back on and then there was a bit of gutter action and he got popped. All I had to do was finish in the bunch and would end up with yellow.
Moises was still up front driving the break but the chase behind was pulling them in closer and closer as we neared the finish. With 10 km to go we turned off a really nice highway and onto something they wouldn't even race down in Belgium! Man it was rough and of course the last three kilometres were all downhill. You could hardly keep a rhythm on the road and pedal. I think the theories here for down hill finishes is that the crowds can see some fast speeds.
The break was caught with about 500 metres remaining and the official car hadn't got out of the road and I guess you could say took part in the sprint. Weird as hellm but not unexpected down here.
So unfortunately Moises didn't get the win in front of his family, but I'm sure he'll notch a win before the tour finishes in Mexico City next Saturday. As for me I ended up in yellow after a bit of confusion of who finished where.
An honourable mention goes to the little Mexican who tried to pick a fight with Kobza after the stage. Lets just say he regretted his actions.
- Cycling News
September 20, 2008, 0:00 BST,
April 21, 2009, 11:59 BST
Bringing it to you fresh like a Burrito from Mexico Stage 3: León - Guadalajara, 228.6km Well the...
September 17, 2008
Bringing it to you fresh like a Burrito from Mexico
Stage 3: León - Guadalajara, 228.6km
Well the longest stage was upon us, and it played out like a good action thriller. The plan was to let something small get away - hopefully including a Team Type 1 rider in it - but if not, no worries. After racing the first 50km in just over an hour the bunch finally eased up as one rider went clear. That was pretty much it for the next 100km. The field was happy to cruise along and let him roll out on his own.
With 100km to go and the solo rider clear by almost nine minutes, the boys started riding the front with a couple of Tecos riders to slowly reel him in. We managed to stay clear of most of the rain for the stage and at one point we hit a section of road that had just been drenched and also happened to be a road past a heap of chicken and pig farming communities! Needless to say you had to keep your mouth closed tight.
The real action of the day came in the closing kilometres. With around 12km to go the heavens opened and down the rain came! Once again we veered off a nice highway into the city and some rough roads. You couldn't see much and when you came across a massive puddle you just had to hang on tight, grit your teeth and hope there wasn't a crater lurking somewhere in the puddles. The best way to describe the closing kilometres in the rain would be 'Like a battalion of soldiers running into battle with a sniper picking them off one by one.'
Guys were just dropping themselves without any cause, there was at least one massive pile up that Jonesy got tangled up in, but other than that it was single spills, and plenty of them. Guys hit posts, signs and various other road obstacles! The final 5km were basically a 5km TT for me - I rode most of it out in the wind just to keep out of trouble. We all made it in though and were all relieved to see one another in one piece.
Stage 4 - Circuito Guadalajara, 80km
Another interesting day, It was a 4.4km circuit which covered a small section of the finish from the day before. So yes, another rough and bumpy ride. The pace was fast and furious for the first 30km before the rain came down once again and guys started dropping like flies. The field decided to stop racing as it was pretty dangerous. If you looked at a crack in the road or some yellow paint the wrong way you were on the deck.
Eventually the officials decided that the race would do five more laps but you had the choice whether to do it or not. You couldn't lose any time on GC and the finish only counted for prize money. About 40 of the 140 rider field rode the final laps to contest the sprint. Fabio decided to give it a shot but he said it was still dangerous and called it quits. Smart move, mate! So a bit of a rest day I guess, which is appreciated. The next few stages are where the tour really starts, so I guess it's gonna be game on.
- Cycling News
September 04, 2008, 0:00 BST,
April 22, 2009, 20:08 BST
My health is finally back up to speed after a long, tough couple of months. Getting back into...
April 23, 2008
My health is finally back up to speed after a long, tough couple of months. Getting back into training was tough to begin with - I was tiring very easily but kept on battling, and finally the engine started recovering a lot quicker just in time for my last two weeks in Belgium.
Cam Jennings flew across from the Land of the Leprechauns and hung out at our pad. Training with the Worm really helped and got me almost back up to speed. Thanks mate. I also got a chance to catch up with Sven de Weerdt and a couple of fresh faces in the Cyclingnews.com team.
So three days ago I had to say goodbye to my little wife and littler daughter and flew across the pond to Jersey. Only a couple of days there and then off to Savannah for the start of the Tour de Georgia. I'm looking forward to getting into the racing scene again and catching up with the new and old team-mates.
The good thing about coming to the States was finally getting all my goodies. I had a big bundle of new kit, a couple of pairs of Northwaves, a few pairs of Rudy Projects and my New Orbea Opal training bike - cha-ching! A bit like Christmas really.
Once I got to Ed's [directeur sportif Ed Beamon] I started to built up the steed and Ed mentioned he was going to do a training race in the evening. So I thought, why not? I was a bit tired but no worries. We rode 30km to the race which was only an hour long, but long enough for this black duck, and 30km home.
It cost 20 bucks to line up so I needed to get that back, and ended up in a four-man break by the halfway point. I was feeling a bit shabby indeed, the new bike didn't feel so bad but the tiredness was wearing me down. I tried to save a bit for the end and hit out on a small rise about 700m from the finish. I ran out of steam with about 200m to go but luckily had enough to creep home.
It was good to spend a couple of days training and getting in some rays before heading off to Savannah for the start of the tour, and to pull up for a brew at my local Starbucks, which has been turned into a Smart World Coffee Shop? Yeah, I ain't heard of that one before either. Nevertheless, they punch out a pretty mean Vanilla Latte which would give Belle n Jules a bit of rattle back in Belgium. I was also able to grab a Burrito from my local Mexicali Restaurant. Mmmmm!
I'm sure this Tour de Georgia is going to be a bit of a shock to the system, but I'm ready and keen to get back amongst it. The line up for the race will be myself, Fabs, Moises, Matty, Ian, Kobza, Emile and Chris. All these guys are going really well at the moment and I'm sure we'll leave our mark on Georgia. They have a team time trial this week on Stage 4 - no aero equipment allowed, which should suit us better. It takes me back to racing in Australia.
This week will also be a catch up week with all my old buddies from various teams whom I haven't seen since last season, with plenty of stories to share I'm sure!
Off to bed now, but we are lucky enough to have a live band playing out on the pier near our hotel. Currently playing Johnny Cash's Folsom Prison Blues! Could be worse hey? Waiting for Credence or a bit of Skynard.
- Cycling News
August 01, 2008, 0:00 BST,
April 22, 2009, 20:09 BST
Hey everyone, well I know it has been a while so time to catch you all up to speed. I have just left...
August 2, 2008
Hey everyone, well I know it has been a while so time to catch you all up to speed. I have just left Colorado and I am currently en route to New Jersey via the way of Continental Airlines. I've just been given a cheeseburger as my in flight meal – I passed on it, Ah America!
So here we go, most of you know by some way or another that I'm heading to the Olympics to compete in the Road Race for New Zealand and, if you didn't, now you do. So as preparation for the Games I've spent the last few weeks hanging out in Boulder, Colorado. It's a great little town sitting at an altitude of about 1600m and fully loaded with long climbs and many other variations of terrain. The perfect training grounds for any occasion.
Most days I spent up in the mountains always above 2000m. I've never spent this much time at altitude so I'm hoping the benefits will be great once I'm down at sea level again. A little birdie told me that there is a curse that has been put on the Boulder Valley by and old Indian Chief named 'Niwot.' According to him, the curse of the Boulder Valley was its breathtaking landscape: "People seeing the beauty of this valley will want to stay and their staying will be the undoing of the beauty." Well it still looks pretty good to me Chief. But he is half-right, I'm pretty keen to go back and stay there more!
A few days after arriving there, I lined up in a mass-start mountain climb. It was up Mt Evans, the highest paved road in the USA. 4300m and let me tell you breathing isn't the easiest up there. I've been up pretty high before over in China and Mongolia, but never this high! I did it for the training and for the chance to ride that high. Fabio and Ian also lined up. Ian is our team Altitude Bunny so he was keen to get the win. When the attacks began there was no way I could go with them as the old heart rate was off the scale, but I pretty much rode my own tempo all day and kept yo-yoing in and out of the front group.
At one point, I had decided to have a gel and a mouthful of water, but forgetting to breathe for about 20 seconds wasn't the best plan and quickly became a tad light headed! (Lesson learnt at 3600m) Anyway, it was an awesome ride and highly recommended for anyone out that way, bloody great view and even a bunch of mountain goats on insanely steep slopes! Of course, I forgot my camera. I ended up fourth on the finish and Ian took second. The climb took 1hour and 53 minute and my average heart rate was 170bpm. Bit of an effort indeed!
After a couple days to recover from that ride, it was back into the mountains clocking up some serious miles. Ben and the boyz showed me some awesome rides and a great lake up in the mountains. One day Justin (England) decided it would be a good idea to freshen up the legs with the icy cold waters – I thought "when in Rome." I managed to keep my pins under the water for a whole minute – yes that was all. Needless to say, it was cold after all! I'll have to admit once we jumped back on the bikes the legs felt really good, but that doesn't mean I'll start with the ice baths any time soon. ;)
It was a great time indeed, great for the head in new surroundings and great hanging out with old and new friends. The form seems to be at an all-time high and ready to take on Beijing.
I've got a couple of days in New Jersey now to unload some gear, pick up some bits and tie up a few loose ends. Look out Paolo Bettini, here come the Kiwis. Maybe a Haka is on the cards? Poor Italians will pack up and go home I think? But we'll possibly need some back up? Three skinny cyclists wouldn't be very intimidating stomping their cleats in front of the peloton!
So stay tuned for tales from the Olympic village...
(Thanks to Ben, Isabelle, Justin, Jess, Sully, Fabs, Heath, Chris and Johnny for some great rides and good laughs.)
Air Travel stats
- Time spent in a plane so far this year - 96 hours (4 days 2 hours)
- Most Interesting Meal - Gotta be the Cheese Burger
- Most time spent on a runway - 1.5 hours
- Most time spent in transit - 13 hours
- Most Interesting person I sat next to - Elrod from Alabama.
- Best one liner by a passenger - "So you one of them thar bicyclist types of drivers?" Elrod from Alabama.
- Glen Chadwick
Native New Zealander Glen Chadwick, a former Team Cyclingnews racer, found a new team with Team Type 1, after the Navigators folded at the end of 2007. With his new team, 'Chady' was already criss-crossing the planet in the early spring. Follow his adventures during the 2008 season.