So today worked out completely unplanned on one hand and completely almost perfectly on another! Firstly I had no intention on going the daily breakaway as our team and it seemed every other teams objective for the day was a bunch galop and a rostered day off for many! In the end the sprint of course went to the script and our missile dressed in green went head to head again with mark cavendish and taking another fine second place.
So how did I end up the break? Simple!! I was at the front of the peleton speaking with cavendish and wiggins and cav desperately wanted a break up the road so he decided to attack and try and spark some action! Sure enough it did as jack bobridge and a bmc rider reacted infront of me and figured why not follow! Once we were up the road cav put on the hand break and retreated to the peleton and soon after the bmc rider decided it was a stupid idea and also put up the parachute. So that left bobridge and I, what do we do we said to each other! By now the breaks were on in the peleton and we already had a minute! I said if they are going to let us go while we are riding this easy we may aswell keep it rolling. Soon after his team told him to keep on going and that was it, we started our charge toward the finish.
Once we decided to go we decided it was a good idea to push hard enough to atleast reach the 75km where the course changed direction. There was a lot of wind as we followed the coastline so there was always the chance that if it swung up across the field it could split to pieces behind and we would then be in the prime position to help our team mates should a selection form at the front containing any of them. We were not stupid and said to jack we can let our heart rates go above 150 beats as we need to be fresh if the race comes to us or more likely we are caught by the peleton early in anticipation of a the bunch sprint. Also at that point we can still offer some assistance to our team mates as we will not have cooked the goose so to speak. So the plan was set, first get to 75km see what happens behind then reassess.
Being in the breakaway with aussie and one of the greatest aussie cyclists at that is such a pleasurable experience. Firstly neither shirks on their turn at the front with us both putting in equal pulls all day. We spoke a lot about the possibilities of what might happen in the race and at one point when we had 6minutes bobridge's eyes lit up as we figured if they gave us enough rope while we were cruising along and we got favourable wind we could turn up the ratchet and set sale for the finish in the final 50km. Unfortunately quickstep are a little to smart to let somthing like that happen and immediately got us back to a manageable gap of 3minutes with 100km still to race. As it turned out the wind died out and was not going to be a factor. Infact it ended up being our greatest enemy as I swung around mid race meaning an anticipated tail breeze was replaced with quite a tedious head wind. Anyways we had to swallow our poison and just go easy and wait for the inevitable which happened with 35km to race. There are limited sprinting opportunities in this years giro and the teams of the fast men were not going to take any chances.
Sure the breakaway was brought to a very premature end and we got no where near causing an upset but I won't forget the day in a hurry. The crowd support along the way was absolutely incredible! I don't know if nobody works in this part of italy on thursdays? It was siesta time? Or whatever but the were 100's of thousands of people scattered along the route. At times in the town centres it was like being in a cauldron, in fact the only time I can remember experiencing the amount of decibels these amazing fans were pumping out was that historic night at olympic park in the athletics stadium when cathy freeman won the 400m gold medal. That memory and following eruption of the crowd will live with me forever and today was not far off it. The only difference is you don't have everybody in a orderly formation in an assigned seat, you have people leaning that little but more than there meant to to get that happy snap and those all behind doing the same so you can imagine what happens! Through in some dogs on leeds and kids in prams that have found there way to the front rows and you really need to keep you eyes open and concentrate as hard as possible as the sound was just incredible.
Another novel thing that seemed to happen on many occasions today rose pettles being thrown infront of jack and I as we charged along. It prompted jack at one point to say while he appreciates the jester its not like we are getting married or anything! In a 115km 2 man breakaway those little comments are very amusing as you can imagine.
So back to the race and in anticipation of imminent capture of the peleton jack and I readied ourselves for some work for our team leaders. That meant firstly spinning the legs as softly as possible and then filling our jerseys with bottles and food to easily distribute to our team mates as we were absorb by the peleton! At this moment it dawned on me that this is probably the easiest way to do that all important final bottle drop! Its worth going in the break each day to have to deal with that stressfull adventure ever again I assure you! Back in the bunch and the plan was for me to ride the front and show cannondale meant business for the bunch sprint. I firstly distributed the bottles then made my way up the outside to the front ready to ride the front. At this point another thing dawned on me! How easy it was to be at the front when your caught by the bunch at 30km to go! You simply accelerate as they approach and slot straight in and hold your ground. Again I would happily spend 300km in the breakaway everyday to enjoy this unstressfull way of finding your way to the front late in the race.
So now I am up front inside 30km to go champing at the bit to crank up the tempo a little and behind is a big crash. Immediately our green machine locomotive Fabio Sabatini came up and pulled me off and told the other teams to stop riding, its not a situation you use to your advantage as it will certainly come back and bite you on the arse one day when you have a troubled moment in the race. For the next 10km it was a bit of a stale mate as around 140 riders found there way back to front. Once all back together the race was back on all be it a lot more nervous than before. Into the final 10km and I was in a good little spot, probably about 40 riders back so I started to weave my way to the front to provide one last pull on the front in the final km to ensure no little breakaways skipped away and spoiled the day for Elia to go head to head with Cav. At 5km to go it was finally on the front again, just the open rd ahead, just how I like it! I set my eyes on the 4km sign and dug as deep as I could. It was a block headwind and we were at 50kmph so I was between 550 and 600watts to keep the pace up. I finally hit the 4km marker and put up the white flag to surrender. As I swung left I could barely believe my eyes to see none other than Sir Wiggo himself pull through after me to take a turn on the front. He was not taking any chances either with crashes and wanted to ensure he was up front and out of trouble, no better way to do that than being on the front! Also inside 3km if there is an incident you get the time of the group your in and to the GC riders this is somewhat of a safety net to the often crashed filled final km's.
Anyway once wigga swung off the stage was set for the big showdown and when our green locomotive fabio sabatini hit the front within the final km it was certain to come down to a viviani cavendish showdown. Viviani had craftily found cav wheel while he tried in vein he could come past in the final m's but can hold his head very high for taking the fight to the worlds greatest sprinter for the second time in a week.
All in all it was a good day for the team and a very enjoyable one for me. You can often tell what sort of day it was on the trip to the hotel on the team bus and today the Cannondale Pro Cycling team bus was rocking!!
Heatrate average 137
Power average 287
Max power 1000
Will sleep very well tonight
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