Saturday, October 15, 2011


Last stop for the 2011 season is in melbourne for me this year. On wednesday we started the jayco herald suntour which i am riding with the national team. The race has been fortunately or unfortunately charactorized by a breakaway on stage 1 which took 10min out of the peleton. With every team represented in the move bar a few we all seemed happy at the time to give it a little space. The front guys of this break would go onto to dominate the weeks racing which is a huge credit to them being right up there every day, this was amplified yesterday with an exceptional display by nathan hass and jack bobridge on the only hilly day and finish atop arther's seat. Unfortunately for our team and many others however it ended up being the last we saw of the 15 riders on day 1 and despite our team, saxobank, drapac and a few other teams organising a chase depite having our guys in the move to try and keep the race interesting, the commesairs were very unreliable with there time boards and we never knew what was going on up the rd. We you are chasing having reliable and regular time updates is curcial not only to know what the gap is but the moral of the riders on the front. You can often gain a fair bit more strength you did not know you had when gaps start coming down so in the end wez sulzberger, matty lloyd and myself felt really bad for the young guys whom we had put on the front all day pretty much in vein. Anyway this type of thing happens all the time and is just racing and is an opportunity for the beneficeries to make the most off. We had the break coming down as per the plan but when we heard it was 4min it turned out it was actually 8min and the race was long gone. Also un beknowns to us in the bunch The front group split even more adding to the frustration of chasing teams as only 5 men stayed away at the front. We had our young bloke joe lewis in the 2nd group and he ended up 7th on the stage which was a great result by him.

The following days we have spend trying to break up the race at any opportuntity but like always once a GC like that is formed its not an easy task, and coupled with that the two domestic teams, genesyis and drapac having guys occupying 1st and 2nd since stage 1 did a great job of controling any dangerous attacks or splits we tried to instigate so huge credit to them. Also with the course being well suited to this time of the year, i.e somthing for everyone to enjoy and Short stages also prevent too much going wild in the bunch and for the following couple of days it finished in bunch sprint.

Yesterday marked the only real mountainess off sorts difficult stage and as we had planned to set up matt lloyd this week for the win in the tour and on the stage with the steep slopes suiting his little rock spider frame, we obviously had lost anychance of the overall victory but a win on the day became our main focus for the week. The plan was to make it as hard as possible on the run into the climb we would do twice in the final 15km and set a high tempo for him to launch from on the final climb to line. All went perfect as we along with saxobank, garmin and lotto got the bunch going nice and quick on the run into the climb, i then took to the front to set a good but steady tempo up the climb. We needed to not only set the race up for matt and race a pace preventing attacks but also keep it smooth so our man joe lewis whom was still 7th on GC would remain with the front group and try and give him a chance to move up a spot or two. So onto the climb we went and i started the pace making but wez was feeling full of beans and decided to take up the pace making and really go for it. He set a furiouis pace so i sat on his wheel and take a bit of a break. Realising that it was such a hard tempo i looked back to see where joe was and saw him floundering on the back so with wez going strong and lloydy looking good i dropped back to look after joe. Sure enough when wez peeled off joe was also dropped and knowing the horrible feeling of suffering like that when you are defending a GC spot like happened to me in the tour of turkey i knew i needed to just stay with him, let hime recover a bit, give a bit of encouragement and i could ride him back on on the decent and run into the final climb. With wez finished pulling on the front i knew the bunch was not going to far so was not too concerned about getting him back on. Sure enough he was safely back in the group before the final climb and wez and i had a quick chat and decided it was best for me to look after jack and he would try and help lloydy. Fortunately wez's furocious pace setting the first time up meant that is was a much more gentle pace the second and although joe again suffered off the back he did a great job of just watching my wheel and limiting his losses as best as he could and in the end maintaining his 7th on GC. Unfortunately lloydy was a little out of sorts the final time up and lost contact with the front but we atleast did what we could to set him up.

At the front of the race it is fitting the revelation of the race Nathan Hass who now leads the tour after 2nd on stage 1 and 2 and then again yesterday, spinting past jack bobridge to not only take 2nd but also the yellow jersey, points jersey, young rider jersey and his team leading the team classication shows just how dominent he has been. I never saw him go too far from a few wheels from the front yesterday and will be almost impossible to dislodge from the yellow jersey in todays final stage. The domestic aussie teams have certainly given the european teams a little bit of a lesson this week which is testament to the domestic racing scene here in australia.

Anyway final stage criterium today so again i will look after joe and try and keep his GC spot before starting the next phase of the year, the off season!!

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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Stage 5 tour of beijing

The tour of beijing wrapped up today with a short little journey from tianamen square to a circuit of olympic park with the finish at the water cube used for the swimming in the 2008 olympic games. So as far as significant landmarks go in china we have been lucky enough to ride past the great wall and now today see the hostoric sights of beijing. During a world tour bike race is surely an interesting way to do a sightseeing tour and i must admit you dont really get a chance to have as good a look at things as you would on foot but certainly a unique experience none the less. Todays circuit around olympic park took us past the birds nest stadium and convention halls as well of course the water cube so was great to put a figurative picture to what i had soon on TV in 2008. I got more of a chance to have a look at them today as for the final 30 or so km i was on the front so when you have the luxury of being on the front of the peleton it is alot less stressfull and so long as you keep the pace high enough you can afford to have a little look and enjoy the race and the atmosphere in amoungst the pain in the pins!!! After yesterdays 1st and 2nd placings we were pretty confident and set a plan to try and execute another win. The plan was for the break to be controlled then i would ride on the front in the final laps helping keep the pace high and then the boys would start the train in the final couple of km's. Unfortunately after yesterday everybody was watching us today and we had to work a little earlier than anticipated and consequently the train could not quite get elia close enough to line before he had to open up his sprint due to the headwind and he eventually finished 3rd. Still a 1st 2nd and 3rd for the tour is not too bad so we are a happy little team and all enjoyed our week racing in china very very much.

SRM Data
47kmph average
2hrs 30min
240 watts av
125 HR av
2100kcal burnt

Next stop melbourne and the suntour to wrap up the 2011 season.

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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Stage 4 tour of beijing

Today was a hugely awesome day for liquigas cannondale with the dominate victory of elia viviani and his famous lead out man superman sagan completeing an emphatic 1st and 2nd in todays sprint finish! I must admit it came as no surprize to me that we would have a good day. The stage finished at the olympic rowing course and being the only ex rower in the bunch i had convinced myself and the boys that it had to be an unbeatable oman on our side. We started with the clear objective to deliver elia in the sprint and rode as a real tight unit all day. We stayed as a group right at the front for the first 170km in a deceptively difficult windy fast day before myself and mauro did what we could to keep that front position as everybody swamped to the front once they could all smell the line in the final 20km. This unity today proved to be our biggest advantage and with 500m to go we had 7 riders positioned in the front 10 riders which made the leadout a little easier to execute and also meaning that when peter finished the final lead out for elia he was so close to the line and going so fast that only elia came past him and he still finished 2nd. So very satisfying and i must admit i was desperate to do a little more than usual in the final part of the sprint with the finish at the rowing course and was a real buzz to be up the front clearing the path and blocking the wind for the boys and the best part about it was once my job was done with a few hundred m's to go i could sit up and see first hand first danial then peter and off course elia finishing off a great day for liquigas cannondale. Last stage tomorrow so really excited to shut my eyes and get some rest so when i wake up it will be time to get out there and race again.

Srm data
Diatance 189km
Time 4hrs 12min
Speed av 45kmph
Heart rate av 126
Watts av 225
Max watts 1030
Kcal burnt 3700

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With the season just about all done and dusted, i have been fortunate to return back to Tassie after 7months in Europe to commute to my final races of the season from little old Hobart. Following the tour of padania i had a couple of days to pack my things and jump straight on the plane back to aus to finally see my beautiful girlfriend, dog, family and friends for the 1st time in 7months. Being away from Australia is just something you have to accept if you want to ride in the professional peleton and you are an Australian. Although we are all pretty well settled in our respective corners of Europe and traveling to and frow becomes the norm, It is always jolly great to be back in the home land. With cycling becoming more global or as our international governing body the UCI put it, Globalising Cycling, being able to commute to the odd race from Australia is now more of a possibility than it had been previously. I had intended to return home after paris Roubaix as my next event was to tour of California but a programme change meant that I remained in Europe and race the tour of turkey instead therefore making 2011 the longest period I had spent away from all my loved ones. With my programme upended again with my untimely busted rib, failing to make the national team and consequently not having and races between finishing padania tour of Beijing to be followed by the Herald Suntour in melbourne, it meant that my team could give me an early make to head back to Tassie and train and commute from there for the final month or so of the season which I greatly appreciated.

As I have still done a majority of my time on the bike on my home roads I feel very comfortable that I can get the most out of myself. It is certainly a unique place to train Tasmania and particularly after spending longer than ever before on foreign roads this season I was certainly a little desensitised from how hard training on the roads of southern Tasmania can be. The first thing that gets you is the surface of the rd being rocky and loosing that easy speed you get used to from the hard packed lightning fast smooth roads we rock around on in Europe. With the exception to Belgium and turkey of course and was perhaps the main reason why I enjoyed turkey so much, Tassie has me well prepared for it. Next its never flat, you are always up down, left right, just always seem to changing rhythm. But perhaps the thing that gets me most is the wind. I just cant remember ever having wind like we get in Tassie. It can pretty much bring you to a stand still and quite often have you riding along on a constant lean for km's on end. Combine this with the rd surface, undulating relenting terrain and it came as no shock to me that without even trying to the Watts on the SRM were creeping up more than usual in training. It was strange as I would find myself getting frustrated in the first couple of days out on the road with wind, temperature and climate changes by the second which are all apart of a day in Tassie but quickly came to the realisation that is indeed normal and I just need to harden up again.
Fortunately I have travelled so many times now that I have a pretty good routine with trying to minimise Jetlag and therefore on this occasion I timed my travel home to be immediately after tour of padania where I must confess I was a little fatigued by the end due to the rather long stints I had riding on the front every stage of the 5 day event. In the end I had averaged 270watts and 145 heart rate for the event so was in need of a few days downtime which meant I had a very good long deep sound sleep all the way back to Melbourne and was back to training like usual 4-5 days after a hard weeks racing like in padania so all worked out quite well. With 2 races still on my calendar before I wrap up the 2011 season I slipped straight back into training and with exception of taking jess too and from work my routine between Europe and Tassie was very much the same. Infact perhaps I even added a little structure as being a bachelor in Europe I tend to waste a little time playing playstation, watching movies and off course the curse of surfing the net. With jess working 830-5 and with wanting off course to spend as much time with her as I possibly could, I would get my core, training, recovery, massage and other cycling related things done during these 8 or so hrs each day and worked very well, this inturn I think meant I could even work a little harder than usual but also recover a little better so thumbs up for routine!!!!
When training in Europe I never take any form of entertainment with me. Fortunately our Team Trainer paolo slongo gives me plenty of intervals so I am never board. Also the sights of northern Italy are pretty specky so I never ever consider addind the ipod to my cycling attire. In Tassie however it is another story and I don't know why. The landscape although very different is also very beautiful and I do all the same intervals but there is no way I will ever exit my home at Mt Rumney without my AM/FM pocket radio. This was a present from jess and perhaps has turned into the single most used thing I own so a jolly good present. During the week I have it locked onto Sea FM which is our local commercial radio stations and plays all the latest hits which I like. Find the radio better for training than an ipod as it is more of a background noise I listen to when I want to pay attention and don't even notice it when I don't pay attention to it. Also on the long days just having another voice like when the news comes on can help minimise the monotony of what you are doing. On weekends however at this tiem of the year I switch over to AM radio for ABC radio's grandstand programme which is all about sport and starts at midday on both Saturday and Sunday and takes you all the way through to 6pm. Most importantly the footy season has just wrapped up so along with updates on all the sports around the globe, the commentary of the AFL is just brilliant and certainly makes me forget about the fatigue of training and motivated by the commentary team led by drew Morphett and the boys, its just sensational and especially the past couple of weeks as I have been able to listen to my beloved geelong cats march toward another Premiership which they wrapped up on Saturday. Asside from the footy it is great to listen to peter newlends grandstand Tasmania as he focuses on all the sport and sportsman in Tassie and does a great job of recognising many achievements by Tasmanians that might otherwise go un noticed and these are always great story to here and the way he interviews can often make them very inspiring stories as well so great stuff pete and all the AFL grandstand team, you have made my weekends on the bike extremely enjoyable over the years and certainly hugely enjoyable these past 2 weeks.

So with a couple of good weeks of hardening myself up again down in deep south, I am commuting to the tour of Beijing which starts on Wednesday and although only bing 3 weeks since my last race looking forward to catching back up the all the staff and riders. Being so far away in aus I missed them a little bit so be good to get back amongst the Italian's. We have had a really good year together and it is nice to see how close we have become and starting to work really well together, padania really highlighted that for me and I am really excited about the team we have for the tour of Beijing and I hope continuing that success. Gyd'y up Liquigas Cannondale!!!!


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Friday, October 7, 2011

Stage 3 tour of beijing

the queen stage of the tour of beijing lived up to its diagram in the race manual and causeing some splits in the field. While the GC remained largely unchanged, the two short climbs in the final 30km of the stage turned a gentle start to the day into quite a suffer fest. With everybody knowing it was the only opportunity to make any moves on the gc attacks went off left right and centre which meant the lesser likes like myself just had to put the head down, chew the handle bar stem and hope to stay in the slip stream and we set about prettending we were on a flat rd as apposed to the 6% gradient 7 and 5km climbs we charged over. With all the attacks only 3 riders remained as we crested the top of the final climb with 10km to go with a 10sec lead. It seemed they would come back but a wild fast twisty decent split the front group and with 5km to go we were in 3 groups which disrupted the chase somewhat. Unfortunately i was one guilty of being caught out by gaps on the decent and got stuck at the back and was unable to help our sprinter danial oss who showed great strength all day to be in the front group in the final kms. When we finally all got back together with 1km to go i went full biscuit to try and actually get to the front of the group but at the same time a team mate in davide cimoli lit up the front at 60kmph and and 10riders from the front was the closest i got before blowing to pieces so i am dissapointed i missed this moment to help my team mates. Working for the boys is always what i enjoy most so will have added motivation to try and make up for it in the next couple of stages.

Certainly i had hoped today to feel better but i was a little bit shocked by the pace of these world tour races. I had not done a world tour race since the dauphine in june and while the out and out pace is not neccessarily any faster than the smaller races but the number of riders going that pace is much greater so i was a little tentative while regaining this rythm in the small hills. Anyway got the shock of all that out of my system now so am looking forward to getting stuck into the final 2 days. Tomorrows stage finishes at the olympic rowing course so hopfully it can be a good oman for me and inturn my liquigas cannondale team mates and we can get a good result.

Srm data
Time 3hrs 53min
Speed 41kmph average
Av watts 250
Av heart rate 139bpm
Kcal burnt 3500
Altitude gain 2200m

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

2nd stage tour of beijing

After yesterdays tt to kick things off around the olympic park which started at the olympic stadium and finished at the water cude, we were let loose on the open rds of beijing for stage 2. As expected it finished in a bunch sprint and our goal was to place elia viviani in a good position for the fast finish. Unfortunately it was a chaotic final 5km riders going every which way and we were not able to give him the perfect leadout we had managed in tour of padania. In the end elia was 6th which is still a great result at the world tour level but he and the team will be hoping for more on the final two stages after tomorrows queens stage which on paper atleast looks like it could cause some sort of selection which may shuffle the GC a little. Anyway time for a bit of rest as i am looking forward to tomorrow as we will be passing the great wall of china so i hope inturn it makes it a great day for me!! (Pardon the pun).

Srm data
Time 3:04
Distance 136km
Speed av 44kmph
HR av 126.4
Kcal burnt 2301
Max watts 1116

A rare easy day!!

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011


I will never complain about an uncomfortable bed or pillow again!!! Chinese police having a quick nap at lunch time!!!
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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Touchdown in beijing

Just touched down in beijing for the tour of beijing that starts wednesday. A few things have been eye openers to me in the 12hrs since i left the comfort of aussie soil and most notably that this is a culture that is very intrigueing! Being pretty well traveled you consider yourself pretty resourcefull at finding your way around and being able to muddle through a few words with a bit of a latin spin on the end and i can usually get by. That i have learnt very quickly does not work in chinese, i have no idea what so ever what they are saying and certainly no clue in the world as to how to know which symbol means which letter and number or word or whatever. Anyway it is certainly an edventure and we athletes are jolly fortunate to be able to have these experiences. Another thing i have noticed is there efficiency in que's! As soon as a que is required they all immeditately bunch up as close as possible, i guess a by product of always being in such large numbers wherever they go. It was a little annoying for me at first as for example in the customs que as you edge forward a few mm immediately there is an equal advancement right behind. At first i was annoyed they decided to play a little game as the que was jolly long and i was bored so i would through the dummy and pretend to move forward but not actuactly move forward forcing a big bunch up on the poor bloke behind me. When he almost got toppled over after a few fake advancements on my behalf i pulled the pin on that game but for anyone interested it keeps things entertaining in the customs que. Next up was my cab ride from the airport and i wish aussie taxi's used the same pricing schedule as the chinese, you also get quite an adventure with the discount rate. Firstly there are no flash falcons or commodores as we are used to in aus or big merc's which is normal in europe, in china they is little corolla sedans and certainly not the latest models and they are painted with pretty much every colour in the rainbow. So the cabbie was a bit annoyed about having to squezze my bike bag and two suitcases in his trusty chariot but like in most cultures a small cash tip all off a sudden changed the finger waving to basically offering to get out the angle grinder and remove the roof if need be to get my bike and goodies in the little toyota rocket ship. Fortunately no alterations the cabs structure were required and before i knew it i was on the hwy to beijing and brought the days journey to an end at the race hotel for the week. Anyway just a few first impressions of my tour of beijing adventure, our hotel is right in the olympic park so looking forward to getting out and checking it out before the race gets underway on wednesday.


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