- Post 11 Jul 2012
Onto the second phase of the tour now with still 11 stages to race. It's been a fantastic start for us, and I'm so happy to have won the hill top finish on stage 7, but after the time trial I couldn't help feeling "robbed" out of the time I lost due to the puncture on day one. It just goes to show how unpredictable bike racing can be and even if you do all the work leading up to an event, you're still far from guaranteed a result. I was fortunate enough to only puncture where other riders are still lying in hospital beds with broken bones. Today our Belarusian team mate, Costa, who crashed out with a broken leg will finally be leaving the hospital in Paris to go home to be with his family.
- Post 04 Jul 2012
Where to start? These last few days have been full on. The early kilometres almost lure the riders into a false sense of security, being reasonably relaxed with a break away going clear almost always immediately. Once the break has been given a ‘reasonable’ leeway then the pace will gradually pick up. Still nothing too alarming or chaotic. The second halves of the stages however are a completely different story…
- Post 01 Jul 2012
The last time I did the tour was in 2008 as a neo-pro with Team Barloworld. I remember being shocked at how sketchy and nervous the first week was before we hit the high mountains. Riders would be constantly overlapping wheels out of fear of loosing their position in the peleton. Every team director would be on the race radios telling their riders to "stay safe at the front" but logically we all know there is simply not enough space for 200 riders to all ride at the front. Crashes are inevitable…
- Post 30 Jun 2012
It feels really good to have things finally underway. I’ll be the first to admit that I was quietly nervous about today. Being only 6.7km there wasn’t much to gain but potentially a lot to loose if something went wrong. When you add in some cobbles, a couple round-abouts, some adrenaline and thousands of passionate spectators then you can understand why I’m relieved to have today out of the way.
Photo by Sonoko Tanaka
- Post 22 Jun 2012
So the tour team has been decided and we’re a week away from the ‘depart’ in Leige. It’s a difficult time as you can’t really do much to improve your condition on the bike, and you certainly don’t want to start the tour tired, but at the same time you need to keep the motor running enough not to loose any form. Todays workout included motorpacing behind Bobby Julich on a scooter, perfect for getting the race rythm into the legs.
Looking at the team we’ve got going to the tour is actually quite daunting. It’s a team built to target the GC, with Cav thrown in the mix to make it even more ambitious.
- Post 24 May 2012
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, being told that we were going to be staying close to the summit of a volcano for two weeks but it definitely wasn’t what I had imagined.
The road from Teide North airport to our hotel at 2200m was like none other I had seen before. Kilometer after kilometer of twisty uphill, the road snaked up into the clouds taking us to what I would imagine travelling to Mars would be like. Black volcanic rock and undulating heaps of sand and shrubs surrounded us. There were very few signs of human life at all, except for the Parador Hotel, that became our sanctuary after each day of training.
The camp didn’t start off too well for me after puncturing my front wheel at high speed around a bend, on our way down the mountain one morning. I was grateful not to have been injured more seriously but I still left a long trail of skin on the tarmac resulting in a bit of road rash. Never much fun to have at the best of times!
Training on the island was tough. It was either up or down and the only way to get home every day was (you guessed it!) up. The crash took a lot out of me and I didn’t feel too great on the bike to say the least. Only in the last few days of the camp did I feel like I was able to complete the planned workouts.
I have come home feeling like I’ve just come off a boot camp. It’s definitely easier to breathe down here after all that thin mountain air. No doubt about it, that was great preparation for the next block of racing, but for now I’ll be letting my body soak up all the climbing meters and giving the road rash a chance to heal up before the Dauphine (3rd-10th of June).
- Post 10 May 2012
Ten days have passed since the Tour de Romandie and I'm very happy with my sensations on the bike & the way the form is progressing.
The race itself was exactly what I needed to jump-start the legs back into that race tempo that you don't get at home training. There was a huge amount of work to be shared amongst the team with Gee and Brad holding the yellow leaders jersey throughout the race but we wouldn't have wanted it any other way. When the team is going that well, everyone's morale is high & it becomes that much easier to bury yourself knowing that it's for a bigger cause. Wiggins is flying at the moment and what he has achieved so far this season is already a massive accomplishment.
I will be spending the next two weeks with my team 2000m above sea level on the volcano of Tiede in Tenerife. It finally feels as though winter has left us, so we should be in for some solid, uninterrupted training.
- Post 23 Apr 2012
It’s been a turbulent start to the season to say the least. I arrived at the Mallorca training camp in January in good shape but feeling like something wasn’t quite right on the bike. Shortly afterwards during the Volta ao Algarve, I picked up a chest infection which kept me bed ridden for almost two weeks and then lingered on for another two weeks preventing me from taking the start at Paris-Nice.
As I felt progressively better I began to train more, only to have an accident on my TT bike which had me in hospital for the day- luckilly only leaving with a chin full of stitches.
Shortly thereafter I had some blood tests that revealed active bilharzia parasites in my system, which I have been trying to get rid of for the past 18 months. This would explain why the chest infection affected me so severely and it took me so long to get over.
Currently, I’m sitting with three weeks of solid training in the bank since repeating the treatment for bilharzia and all the signs are looking good. It will probably still take me a bit of time to get used to the race rhythm again but physically and mentally I’m now ready to race again. At long last!
As I write this I’m on the way to the team hotel just outside Geneva, Switzerland. The rain outside is pelting down and it’s 6 degrees. Not ideal racing conditions but I’m just glad to be back with the team and ready to race. It should be an exciting week ahead as the team we have here is both interested in the GC and sprint finishes. I'll leave it at that for now.