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Larciano + Toscana

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I am not one for excuses, in fact I hate excuses but it cannot be denied that this season of mine is going pretty badly. This last weekend was no exception. Yes, sorry it's another miserable blog post.

On Saturday I rode the UCI 1.1 GP Industria e Artigianato in Tuscany. It was hot, very hot, and a break of 22 riders softly clipped off the front at the start, only Meridiana and the Dutch national team didn't have someone in the move so we chased. The gap quickly went down from 4 minutes to a more manageable gap which eventually closed. I actually felt fine in the bunch despite the speed, as soon as I went above my threshold on the second climb of the day however I just couldn't turn the pedals anymore, I was sort of shell shocked at how badly I reacted to the effort and just went straight out the back with the others. It was a strange feeling, we abandoned after only 90 minutes of racing. It was a bit pathetic really. There were only 23 finishers, even Di Luca abandoned in the end, I think it was just a deceptively hard race. I'm not 100% sure it was just the heat, perhaps I am still recovering from my really hard rides earlier in the week. Either way it was a wasted opportunity as I wasn't firing on all cylinders as I had hoped, I hate doing these post mortems on such poor performances but they must be done.

The next day (yesterday) was Giro della Toscana, another 1.1. In the olden days there used to be a race for each region in Italy and they were extremely prestigious. Toscana is one of the last ones along with Lombardy, Reggio Calabria and a few others. The field was similar to the day before only with the addition of BMC, headed up by Ballan. Ballan went on to win the race but I must admit of all the famous riders I have ridden with he is the one that I was the least star struck by. He honestly looks like he only started cycling last week given how ungainly he appears on a bicycle. His gears were crunching everywhere and despite his team spending most of the day chasing he seemed to have trouble holding his position on the climbs at least when I was in the race, it was bizarre. Obviously he is a good rider, just look at his results, I just have no idea how he does it.

Anyway, it rained from start to finish, we started with a climb of around 200m, before we even had a chance to clip in the first part of the race was over. The big teams weren't interested in orchestrating the usually hotly contested early breakaway, 2 riders disappeared straight away and we rode slowly for around an hour before the chase began. I felt fine in the bunch on the climbs once we got going but on the last bend of the longest descent of the day at around 100km I fell off. Someone had already come off and the rider in front of me reacted to it, he came off and took me out with him. It was one of those falls where you take a long time to come to a halt, I was completely disorientated, ragdolling, sliding and rolling along, the next thing I knew I was sat up with my back against a dumpster. These giant bins in Italy have large foot pedals you can operate to open the lid so as not to get your hands dirty. Every time I put my arms down to push myself up the lid would raise instead of me. I saw that my bike was all twisted and thought better of continuing, at that moment another rider fell off just as I was picking myself up. It just wasn't worth it, the team car gave me a lift to the feed zone a few kilometres away. It would have been a long chase back to the peloton, almost every corner had a new crash victim and a queue of team cars behind it. There were 20 crashes in all and I think most of them happened in the particular stretch that I had come down in, apparently the guy I basically landed on broke his collar bone.

Luckily I don't appear to be too badly hurt so I should be able to resume training tomorrow for Hellas in a couple of weeks. I just need a clean run at a race, Hellas is a 5 day 2.2 so all being well I should be able to do something there, I will have 5 chances. I haven't had a clean run at a UCI since Calabria in February, something has to go right at some point.

Just one link, this video (if you haven't seen it already) of cool and calm in the face of adversity mixed with some passionate commentary:

p.s. I briefly reached the magical 100 follower mark for twitter the other day, alas now I am down to 99 again.

Updated 30-04-2012 at 04:23 PM by David Mclean

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2012 - Meridiana Kamen