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Padania Stage 4

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Today is the day I cracked. We did the first 100k or so in a couple of hours, and then came the mountains. I got near the front and held on admirably until about halfway up the first climb, then I watched about 60 guys just ride away from me. I have no excuses, it was quite gratifying really in a strange way that I shall try to explain. I have been dropped by pelotons on climbs plenty of times before but there has always been a legitimate reason, usually illness, a mechanical or a weak head. This time the 60 guys in front were just better than me and it felt good, it was another milestone and another box ticked. The whole aim for me with regards to cycling the last few years has been to find my place within it. I remember saying a few years ago offhand that I would just love for this to happen to me, and for the first time today it has. If this doesnít make any sense Iím afraid I canít make it any clearer.

We formed a grupetto by riding easy to the top, I spent part of it chatting to Charly Wegelius, who will hang up his wheels after tomorrowís stage after 11 years as a pro. He was very friendly, itís no wonder he is popular in the peloton. He spent most of the time on the ascent moving from person to person and having a chat in various different languages.

Over the top it got faster and we had a manic descent, it had lots of swooping fast corners, the problem was some of them were hairpins and they were hard to spot in time. A guy from CSF Colnago went from around 80km/h to 5km/h as he misjudged a corner. He hit the rock face but at such a low speed that it was slightly comical. Matt Goss (Ozzy, this yearís Milan San Remo winner) was following him and almost stacked it as well. It was pretty fast and apart from the aforementioned incident it felt pretty safe.

We had a small section along the valley before beginning the final climb, which went from around 150m to 1300. Even if I was fresh it would normally take me over an hour. The grupetto got slower, there were shouts to go even slower but still we dropped people. It was steep, very long and we were all tired, without exception. I spent most of it riding nearish to the front but I managed to get dropped by what was left of the group with around 4k to the top. Basso won the stage and averaged 40km/h, I averaged 37 by my computer. Since there was a 12% cut off today I think I made it until tomorrow. All being well I should finish tomorrow - although the stage won't be easy.

Oh, and it was 190km today, not 175 as advertised. I think we are still hitting an average of 200km per day, easily in fact if you include the neutralised sections.

Giuseppe, our masseur has magic hands, I think I am growing reliant on him.
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Updated 11-09-2011 at 06:50 PM by David Mclean

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2011 - Meridiana Kamen

Comments

  1. Unregistered's Avatar
    You're doing what you've wanted to do for so long Dave. Be proud!
    Lucy
  2. yappay96's Avatar
    Congratulations on riding your dream (or it seems that way anyway)

    Have you entertained the thought of trying to get into the break for the day, or is it to fast for that to be an option?
  3. James W's Avatar
    At last - a JUST run at things! Boy, do you deserve it, although I bet these guys who rode away from you have been racing at that level all year, mostly without broken collar bones, with all sorts of team support to help them - a solid performance from you I reckon. Hope the last stage goes really well. And don't forget the Scanuppia - just what the legs need after ~800km of racing... not.
  4. David Mclean's Avatar
    I have thought about trying to get into a break, it's tough though. I reckon I need some deep wheels to wipe off a few watts. Averaging 50kph in the bunch means 55 on the straights which means attacking requires 60kph... the tough bits, where the breaks are forming we are talking about 65kph. This is just on the flat though, the numbers are so much higher than in the Nat Bs that have been my bread and butter all year.