I am pretty sure that this was perhaps the most anticipated TT I have experienced in my years racing a bike. The course on paper had many guessing what may or may not happen with the big favourites today and in the end I don't think anyone would have guessed how it all turned out. The rumours of how technical and difficult the course was were rife, who it may and may not suit, and most of all everyone wanted to see what the next chapter in Sir Wiggo's dominance against the clock was going to be.
As it turned out the british did win with young alex dowsett. His victory and the presence of so many specialists including turbo durbo durbridge from australia in the top 10 proved that it was a true TT course however also had a bit for the climbers to ensure they had a chance to avoid loosing big chunks of time. All in all I think it was an excellent course and had you done your home work then you could have really capitalised on the techniqual sections.
In Casa cannondale today was far from an objective. Only one of us, paolo longo borgini had seen the course and it was just a case of getting through and taking advantage of an easier day in the saddle. Having said that it is never easy at world tour level as if you go too slow there is a risk of missing the time limit so its important to maintain a solid rhythm to ensure your kicked out of the race at days end. At 54km in length it was by far the longest TT I had ever done and even had a designated feed zone to reload on gels and a water bottle after 30km, this was certainly novel! The course started very techniqual with more up than down for 20km and never a straight section of rd in sight, they seem to do a good job of building twisty up and down rds in this part of italy! After 20km the rd opened up and was certainly a final 30km for TT specialists with big wide straight roads and a couple of power climbs thrown in for good measure. The most interesting part of the course for me however was save for the final km which pitched up to 16%, it meant that after plowing along at 50-55kmph for the past 20km you were all of sudden flat out doing 12-15kmph and taking 2minutes to climb the final 400m! That was a real good little trap! So all in all it was a fantastic course and most importantly offered a little bit for all.
My goal was simple. Get from start to finish as quickly as possible without crashing, burning too much energy, and ensuring I don't aggravate my bronchitis which was almost gone this morning so did not want to jeopize my recovery. I did an nice casual warmup, 30minutes easy on the home trainer and figured I would warm up properly once on course in the first 3km which all went uphill. I also wanted to ensure that I maintained the same power throughout the day which I decided would be between 370-400 watts when I was pushing on the pedalable sections. I started and felt great and instantly was pushing a little harder than was my objective! My legs not wanting to suffer Karma would quickly slap my in the face as I nearly overshot the first corner. From that moment 500m into my ride I reverted to plan A and took all corners a little slower than tourist pace! I was confident I could push well on the flats so was not going to risk anything on the corners. On a course like this if you have not done your recon you have to simply swallow your poison and take it steady to avoid any dramas.
It came as no surprise to me that a Movistar rider won as I was caught and passed by juan hose cobo on a technical section and no quicker had he flashed passed he was out of sight I split second later. I began to pull him back on a flat section as the course opened up a bit but after a few more technical sections he was out of sight again. His team had obviously done considerable homework on the lay out of the course and it in the end it showed that this preparation helped to deliver a stage win. Sure the riders aboard there bikes are also supreme athletes but seeing cobo hit the corners and stories of other Movistar riders on the techniqual sections that have circulated since the race was won and won would indicate that going the extra mile so to speak has really shown out on the results sheet. Its really impressive to see teams doing this type of recon and research which historically I hear has not been so much a part of professional cycling. Its often been seen that the anglo teams lead the way with this but certainly the Spaniards from Movistar showed today that attention to detail is spreading thick and fast through the peleton.
So after having my helmet sucked off by cobo I continued on my tentative way when required and opened up the throttle a bit on the flat straight sections. All was going to plan and I was still sitting in my power zone while pedalling and at the end of the day would average 356 watts. The average is a little lower than my target power zone due to the fact that there was a considerable amount of time that I was not actually pedalling! Anyways with a 155 average heart rate I achieved my objective of getting to the finish as quickly as possible without suffering to much, staying on top of my bike, and most importantly not antagonising my bronchitis so I was a happy little vegemite at the finish line.
Tomorrow we hit the first longer mountains so I am looking forward to getting stuck into that.
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