Tour of Romandie: Part 2
As far as I know, it was a pretty hard day out there for everyone. The stage included 2700 meters of climbing over 184.5 kilometers between Morges and La Chaux-de-Fonds. That’s a pretty sold day. There were three categorized climbs in the second half of the race with the second of the category two climbs, the Haut de la Cote, coming 30 kilometers from the finish.
We knew all along that it would be a race to the bottom of the Haut de la Cote. It was a given that all the teams would want to go hard up the climb. They wanted to drop guys like Mark Cavendish (Sky Procycling) to take the pure sprinters out of contention at the finish. That’s exactly what they did.
GreenEDGE was focused on getting myself and Allan Davis over both the Haute de la Cote and the final categorized climb, the third category Le Communal de la Sange, that tops out with slightly more than 10 kilometers left to race. Fortunately, Allan and I made it over the Haut de la Cote. We were five or ten seconds down from the main group, sitting just off the back over the top.
The field split on the descent, so Luke Durbridge and I tried to get on the front and chase down the front group. It took a lot of energy. We had to go as hard we could to get back to the main peloton.
Two or three kilometers after we regained contact with the front group, we faced Le Communal de la Sange. We had gone so hard to bridge the gap between the climbs, that I had nothing left in the tank to get me over the final climb. Allan made it over a bit in front of me but wasn’t there to contest the finish.
Looking at results, you’ll see that Bradley Wiggins won the bunch sprint. Pieter Weening was our top finisher in tenth place. Amongst the guys in the top ten, there’s not a sprinter’s name to be found. The climbers got the better of the sprinters today.
The stage ended up being a harder affair than it appeared on paper. Among the riders, there was so much talk about the final two climbs, but no one talked about all the uncategorized climbs that preceded them. I was quite fatigued by the time I made it to the second category climb I had been charged with getting over, and the teams really went full gas there.
If we hadn’t had to chase for ten kilometers in the crosswind between the two climbs, I think we potentially could have had a different outcome. The chase left us without any opportunity to recover and prepare for the next short burst. The category three climb didn’t seem like much, but it was hard – and I didn’t have enough left to stay with the leaders.
All in all, I’m feeling quite good. I’m pretty happy with how I’m climbing. There were a lot more riders that were dropped than left in the bunch over the Haut de la Cote, and I was there. I’m definitely happy with that. When I compare myself to Alby, who is in good shape, I see that I can nearly stay with him. It shows I’ve rid myself of my track legs at the moment.
Three road stages remain before the final time trial. My focus will be to look after Allan Davis. From Romandie, I got to the Amgen Tour of California. I’ll be looking to win some stages there.