Well today was always going to implode the peleton and that's exactly what happened! The corkscrew climb situated on the outskirts of adelaide has become quite synonymous and a pivotal point in the TDU over the past 2 years. The organisers do an amazing job of turning climbs that would normally not seem so daunting into ones that have the potential to give you nightmares! Much like Willunga Hill on saturday, todays short but steep climb of corkscrew hill was billed as a potential game changer and that's exactly what happened. The legend of aussie cycling, Mr Cadel Evans fittingly stole the show with a display of power that's we have become accustomed too over the past decade. What made his attack so impressive today was the simple fact that everybody knew exactly what he was going to do and nobody could do a thing about it! Well done Cadel.
For us Cannondale boys we put all our eggs into a good performance from George and myself on todays final climb. Like the past days the plan was for everybody to keep us fed, hydrated and in a good position in the bunch and that's exactly what the boys did. Krizek I am pretty sure will have wind burn for all the hours he kept himself in the wind to keep us up the front which made a huge difference. Again Boivin and Elia used the super duper sprint positioning skills to position us when things got tricky, again made life so much easier. Although today did not suit them its always such a nice feeling having the sprinters sacrifice themselves for you, it just fuels the fire for you to repay them next time we find ourselves in a bunch gallop stage finish.
So the stage went a little more smoothly than expected for the large part. A small break went and it was kept on a very tight leash. Jensie was up in it so everybody knew that was dangerous so the escapees were never going to get to far down the road. Todays stage was characterised by 2 things. The corkscrew, and the 20km downhill through the george to get to the bottom. Everybody knew they had to be right at the front for the decisive left hand turn 2km from the start of the climb so you can imagine the pace and chaos of the 20km run in!! With that being said the boys had done an incredible job saving george's and my energy all day and in the 20km of frenetic positioning they were at there scintillating best! I unfortunately had a few nervy corners and a brain melt and forgot how to think and lost them in final few km's before the decisive turn and consequently ended up way out of position. Very very stupid! George however had the perfect possi to start the climb so I just swallowed my poison and had to cross my fingers that through some miracle I would have a good ride up the climb. The pace never let up, I was way to far back, and when Cadel hit the throttle the group split to pieces and I was instantly blow well and truly out the arse end of the peleton. I gave chase as best I could trying to close the gaps that had opened up but to no avail. My body was at the limit, much like it has been over the past couple of days and again my heartrate was over 200. I dragged myself up the final 1500m of the climb. At a few points I was going that slow that I should have been given a parking ticket! I was on suffer street to say the very least and on the corkscrew climb this year I was definitely the cork getting screwed and not the other way around!
The TDU every year seems to be an absolute nail bitter. The course design and structure with the bonus seconds really gives the aussie fans something to get on the edge of there seats for. Take todays stage for example. You stick a left hand corner 1.5km before the start of a nose bleeding 2km climb and after 20km which we cover at 60-80kmph and you get a real bike race. In that space of 25km you test your teams ability to position its rider, your riders ability to handle there bicycles under the most stressfull of circumstances, and of course your leaders ability to ensure he utilises all these skills to be in the right position when he hits that decisive corner. Once around the corner your pretty much set in your position and then you need to climb with some of the best mountain men in the world. But then the climb is only 2km long so of course there are more people capable of going hard for 2km than 10km so to make a difference in the race you have to be incredibly strong and incredibly courage's. Oh and add again to that the fact so many of the best riders in the world have assembled upon adelaide for the TDU and you get an incredibly exciting bike race. Not only for the fans but also for the riders as on a day such as today we are on the edge of our seats wondering how it will pan out. Might I also though in was relatively short by world tour standards at just of three and a half hours which adds to the freshness and motivation of the bunch throughout the stage and with it the battle for position. So I guess what I am really trying to point out is the fact that to make a difference on a stage like today makes what cadel did really really impressive.
As for jensie talk today, well it was very short lived. We did have a little chat this morning in the neutral zone about what I had found out about those sad looking grapes we gawked during our nature break on stage one. I have since found out that they are funnily the sultana variety of grape and won't be picked for a few months. Upon sharing this info with jensie naturally had an intelligent response! He said "you know cameron, your never to old to learn something new". A few minutes later I saw a black flash rip passed in my peripheral vision which could only mean one thing, jensie was on the attack. He went so hard that he was half a km up the road before anyone could think about following let alone chasing him. What a LEGEND!
So on my part I unfortunately had a bit of barry crocker shocker. All I can say is that I am no where near the level of the big guns in the race which comes as no surprise as I know I have not done the work that I know I need to do to be where I feel I can be competitive. I had arrived here HOPING I would go well as I have been feeling pretty good but in reality HOPE has never had me perform at my best. Due to my extended off season, which I desperately needed, I have never started the season having done so little training. While arrogance had me believing I could perform well this week, reality has been very humbling over the past few days and so far there have been no fairy tales. I aint an athlete that can get by on talent sadly, I have to work very hard to perform at my best and I still have not worked anywhere near hard enough. I have literally arrived at the finish on my knees these first few stages which is a sensation I have not experienced for an extremely long time. I don't know why this is, letlag from california, change in climate, bad condition, probably a mix of them all, it doesn't really matter, it is was it is for now. I simply need to go home, work harder, smarter and keep building on the work I have already done and arrive at the next race better prepared. Then I need to continue this process until I finally get myself in tip top shape.
Tomorrow presents a new opportunity for the cannondale boys with an expected sprint finish. After the boys doing such great work over the past few days for us, I am really excited to repay the favour and help Elia and the Canadian Cannonball into position for the bunch gallop. New day, new opportunity!
Ave speed: 40.5kmph
Ave Power: 237watts
Max power: 1000watts
Ave Heart rate: 139BPM
Max Heart rate: 202BPM
Kcal Burnt: 3100
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