Giro del Capo, South Africa, March 4-8, 2008

Hi all,

the racing season has started and our team is in full swing at the Giro del Capo. Here are the reports from the first two stages.

Stage 1: Wellington – Wellington

The Giro del Capo is under way with a 105-kilometre opening stage and it went ok for me and well for the team, with Ciaran Power getting into the front group. Was a quick start to the stage and was all together til on this straight stretch of road the wind started to blow and the race got torn into a number of groups. There was no turn left or right for the wind to come into play, just maybe coming down through a gap in the mountain? Who knows, but it did its job. Ciaran was there in the group and we chased and got close but...

After feeling a little dusty at the start I was feeling better towards the end of the race and the final climb. Only touch of bad luck for the team was a mechanical mishap going to Dave, with his rear derailleur getting damaged and he lost a fair chunk of time. He is in good knick, though and will be a force to reckon with on one of the stages.

Everything else is going well with the team. Everybody gelling together, handling all the little obstacles that Africa throws in our way.

Stage 2: Visserhok - Visserhok

Currently safely tucked away in my hotel room, awaiting a rub and watching a flick on the tube. I am relaxing after the second stage of the Giro del Capo, a tough 150-kilometre hot day around the town of Visserhokpad. Three laps of a 50-kilometre circuit with a couple of climbs each lap, the final climb being only 5 kilometres from the finish.

After Dave's bad luck the day before he was keen for a big day and took off in one of the first attacks of the day and stayed away for the remainder of the day. Not too sure how it all played out in the final kilometres, but he got pipped on the line and had to settle for second place. Meanwhile, back in the bunch it was all pretty controlled by Barloworld and apart from a few little attacks by Regiostrom and MTN it was pretty much a compact group at the base of the final climb.

Stayed in the group over the climb and did my best to lead Ciaran out in the final kilometre. Probably pulled off a little too soon and left Ciaran with about 300m to the line and he got rolled by 2 guys before the line and settled for 9th. So a good day for the lads with Dolly second and Ciaran ninth and myself rolling in at the back of the bunch for 25th. Martin, Derek and Morgan all rolled in and marked another day off.

So all going well and surviving the race. Content enough with how I am feeling and settling into everything. Not feeling too bad now and happy with how the Dolan is feeling. It certainly survived a few rough and bumpy sections of road that were thrown our way today. Only problem now is getting to grips with the Irish accent. I am little quiet at the moment when everybody is chatting away. Just laughing and smiling when everybody else does.

Til next time we meet.


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