The Jay Sweet Diary 1999

The Local East Coast Australian Time is

Route du Sud, June 19-22

Stage 1 - 110km

This stage was pretty flay. We had just 2 small climbs to go over.It strung out over them but nothing dangerous. As we came into the sprintit was a head wind so it was hard for anyone to string it out. It was allbunched up wih 1km to go but in the last 1km there was a round-a-bout, aleft hand bend, a right hand corner 300m to go then a left hand turn 200mto go and the rest was down hill. I went into the last corner 3rd wheelbehind Cappelle( Our other team sprinter ) and yelled for him to go but hehesitated and we were swamped. He finished 5th and I rolled in for 10th.

Stage 2 - 11km I.T.T.

With no time trial bike I decided it wasn't worth trying so I justrode around hard enough to finish in the time limit.

Stage 3 - 210km

A hard stage today. I was in an early break and I won the premesprint. We were caught 2km before the 2nd preme, then straight after thatwas the first K.O.M. I was hard up the K.O.M but it was even harder after.The road continued upwards and there was a strong cross wind. The bunchsplit and 18 riders went up the road. Every team had someone in it so weall sat up. We finished 30mins behind the winners. My team mate Sivakov was2nd.

Stage 4 - 180km

The first 60km today was non-stop attacks. I was in most of themdetermined to make the break. With such a big time gap between the leadersand everyone else from yesterday for sure a break would go today. Afterbeing in many breaks I needed to recover and wouldn't you know it, a groupwent away. We had no-one in it so we were on the front straight away. Afterabout 5km of flat out chasing we caught them. It was a strong cross-windand Sivakov was caught down the back so I went back for him. After chasingthe break I was tired so I did 1 big effort to get him to the front. Whenwe got to the front I was suffering so badly that I went all the way to theback and into the convoy. After a couple of kilometers I got back on butthe next break had gone and the bunch had sat up. We had no-one in it but Ididn't care, I'd done my work for the day, now I just wanted to finish!

Stage 5 - 125km

Today was a real hilly day. We had to pass 4 cols. I made it overthe first one ( just ) and managed to stay with the front bunch until thesecond one. I was dropped on the second one and didn't have alot ofmotivation to try and get back on to only be dropped on the third one. Lotsof guys had already pulled out and I expected alot more to do so aswell. Istopped at the feed. Most of the other riders stopped at the bottom of thelast climb. I am glad this tour is finished!

I don't know what my next race is yet. I am waiting to see if I'mselected for the tour! It's a pity it's not selected on results alone orI'd have no doubts but politics play a major part and at the moment it'snot looking good. I'll leave it at that! You'll know soon enough. Bye fornow.

Tour of Austria, June 7-13

Well the name of this tour says it all. I suppose it's a good training tourfor the Tour de France but as far as results go I don't know! Here's how itwent.

Stage 1 - 140 kms

Well after sitting in the car for 9hrs yesterday my legs don't feelthe best. Today we had to do 2 laps of a 55 kms circuit with a cat 3 climb onit, then 2 laps of a 15 kms circuit with a steep little climb on it. Isuffered on all the climbs. I felt like I couldn't breathe and my legs werepedaling squares. I managed to stay with the main bunch but didn't finishanywhere in the sprint. I hope my legs get better or I'm in for a long longweek.

Stage 2 - 170 kms

Today we had to do 110 kms before we reached the 30 kms finish circuitwhich we had to do twice. The finish circuit had a cat 2 climb on it but wehad to go over 2 cat 2 climbs before we hit the circuit. I made it over thefirst 2 climbs with the front bunch. My legs feel much better today. When Iwent over the climb on the circuit for the first time I was in a bit oftrouble. It had started to rain and was cold. A group of us got back on onthe decent. The last 1 kms was all uphill, about 16% which is quite steep soI just wanted to get to the bottom of the last climb with the bunch thenfind my group! I did and we cruised in about 6 mins behind.

Stage 3 - 170 kms

Today there were 2 cat 3 climbs at the start of the stage then itwas undulating to the finish. The finish circuit on the programme lookedflat but it was really hard. There were lots of steep little hills just tosoften the legs. It was a bunch sprint and I was about 15th wheel with 800mto go. I was looking good when we had to go around the right hand side of around-a-bout. I have seen this trick many times before and thought it wasmy turn to make it so I went left because it was a shorter distancetherefore I would come out nearer to the front but typical for me it wasblocked with cars. So I and the 10 others who followed me came to a deadstop with 700m to go. We had to turn around and go back the way we came. Asthe saying goes " There are no shortcuts."

Stage 4 - 190 kms

Today was definately a survival day for me. We had to pass over 6climbs, the last being a hill top finish. I survived the first 2 climbsokey. 4 kms before the 3rd climb there was a crash right in front of me. Ihad the back wheel locked up and right at the last minute I jumped over thebike that was in front of me. While I was in mid air I hit another guy whowas on his way down and he put me off balance so I ended up on someone'sfront yard fence. I was okey, just a bruised elbo and hip from the fenceand a 53 tooth chainring mark tatooed across my wrist. I got up and chasedand got back on at the bottom of the climb. Now I was starting to get realtired and was dropped with a few others but we got back on on the decent noprobs. The 4th wasn't so bad because everyone was stuffed so I was in agroup just off the back but we got back on on the decent again. I was "homeand hosed" now. When I got to the bottom of the finish climb there was agroup of us who cruised to the top. The bunch is getting smaller andsmaller everyday.

Stage 5 - 200 kms

Today was one of the harder days. The first (of five) climb cameat 14 kms. It was about 10 kms at 15%. It was raining from the start and realcold. My legs felt like bricks but I stayed with a big group and we gotback on just after the decent. The 4th climb I suffered on. I was the firstone dropped but I stayed in the convoy and got on on the wet decent. Thebunch took it safely and I kind of did a Kamakazie run. The last climb was10 kms to go but it was real steep. I got to the bottom of it with the bunchthen just took it easy and rode to the finish with Aussie mate MatthewWhite. It didn't stop raining all day. I was glad to get to the finish.

Stage 6 - 180 kms

Today there was just one major climb and it was halfway. My legswere really tired and my morale was down. We did the first 50 kms in justunder an hour. I was in 2 breaks at the start. When we hit the hill I knewI was in for a hard climb. It was about 10 kms long and got steeper andsteeper as it went on. When I got over the top I was on my own. I chasedfor about 20 kms and then I had nothing left. At the 130 kms mark the lastgroup caught and passed me. They were going to hard and fast for my liking.At 140 kms I passed the finish line for the first time. Instead of doing2x20 kms laps, I stopped. Finally my Tour of Austria is over.

My next race is Route du Sud. It starts next weekend. It's a goodrace to prepare for the Tour! Till then, bye for now.

Tour de l'Oise, May 15-16

This tour is a good one for the sprinters. Saturday is 195km with 2 smallcimbs and Sunday is 2 stages of 100km, both reasonably flat. It can be wonoverall just on time bonuses. Here's how it went!

Stage 1 - 195km

The first 15km we just rolled along then the first attacks came. Iwas in the first break of about 20 riders. We held the chasing bunch at 40seconds for about 20km then we started the first K.O.M. fo the day. Overthe top the bunch had caught the break but I got away on the hill with 3other riders. 4 more riders came across to us and we stayed away for about35km at about 40 seconds. When we finally got caught I was stuffed. Thebunch rolled along for a while recovering then a group of 9 riders gotaway. We had one in it so that was good. Team Casino started to work tobring it back for a sprint. We caught the break except for 1 with 300m togo. I was stuck behind them and had 2 choices. 1 to go through the break or2 go around. I chose the 2nd because the first was a bit suicidal. Goingthe long way around cost me a bit of speed but I managed to finish 3rd inthe sprint which was 4th on the stage. Although I'm not happy with myplacing I am happy with my form. Maybe tomorrow.

Stage 2 - 100km

This morning's stage was flat out from the word go! I was in thefirst break of the day. There was 27 of us at 1min. After the preme sprintat 46km Marc Streel ( Home Jack & Jones ) attacked at the bottom of a smallclimb, he had a small gap so I jumped across to it. We were going flat outand we had 1min on the chasing group. The last 50km was the longest of mylife. With team Casino and U.S. Postal chasing it was hard to keep the gap.With 10km to go we still had 40 seconds, 5km to go we had 30 seconds andwith 1km to go we had 20 seconds. Streel was on the front with 600m to goand wanted me to pass but I stayed behind. We were rolling along at about25km/hr with the peleton right behind us. 200m to go I jumped off of hisback wheel and took the stage win, 1 second in front of the peleton.

Stage 3 - 100km

After this morning I moved into 4th overall at 4 seconds. I neededto get the time bonus out on the road and at the finish. I finished 3rd inthe preme sprint and got another second which put me in 3rd overall. On thelast lap of the finish circuit A group of 6 got away and we were unable tocatch them. So I finished 8th overall and I won the "Young riders Jersey".Not a bad tour and my form's getting better and better. I'm looking forwardto the Pru-Tour next weekend. Stay tuned.

Quatre Jours Dunkerque, May 4-9

For this race you need a lot of motivation. It is always windy here, yourace over the smallest and roughest roads in the area, you are foreverturning left or right and to top it all off it normally rains! Nice race!Luckly though I have just had a small break and do have some motivation. Itmay take a couple of days for me to get going as I lack the race miles butit's all good training for the Tour and that's all I'm thinking of now.

Stage 1 - 165km

Not too bad a day today except for the wind. The sun was shiningbut it was blowing a gail. We wound our way around the place turning leftand right every 200m which made things difficult because of the wind. Ifyou got caught down the back when it went in the gutter you could be introuble. I stayed out of trouble all day. The last 15km were really hard.It was a cross wind the whole way until 2km to go then it was a head wind.I really struggled to hold my position up the front, I lacked a bit ofconfidence and was being pushed around. 2km to go I gave it one big go toget up for the sprint but got caught up in a near crash and that finishedme. I just finished in the bunch.

Stage 2 - 176km

Today was probably the hardest day for the tour. After 90km therewas a real steep climb. I was away in a break for 15km but we got caughtright at the bottom of the climb. I was already tired when I started theclimb and thought I was going to be dropped but as I went on no-one waspassing me. I went over the top in the front group of 40. That was it forthe day. The rest of the race was up and down with cross winds. I was inmost of the attacks and made a few of my own. The front group was gettingtired from all the attacks, one was going to go and I was going to be init. The group split again and I was in it, when no-one came through Ilaunched an attack we stayed away for a little bit but was caught again.All of a sudden my legs felt really heavy and I was starting to pay for myattacks. We turned onto a steep hill with 30km to go and I blew. My legswouldn't go any harder. I was dropped but stayed in the convoy for 10kmbefore we hit the last K.O.M. then I really blew. I finished 12min behindwith 2 other riders, Brad McGee and an Italian. The rest of the bunch wasover 30mins behind.

Stage 3 - 180km

Today I paid for my efforts yesterday. The first 90km was hillyand flat out. Nothing could get away because of the pace but they kepttrying. That made it extremely uncomfortable for me and many others. Thelast 90km was flat so once we got out of the hilly part the bunch sloweddown. Then it wound back up again for the sprint. My team got on the frontwith 35km to go to bring back a break. They caught the break with15km to gothen got lost in the bunch somewhere. I was fighting with everything I hadto stay at the front, I was doing okey until about 3km to go then I gotcaught on the wrong side of a corner and was blocked. I managed to get backto striking distance but it took alot out of me. With 1km to go I was about30th position still too far back so I made another desperate I got to about20th position with 300m to go but was on the right hand side of everyone inthe barrier. A gap opened on the left so I dove into it. As I did 2 ridershooked left and took me right across the road. I managed to finish 12th,not real good.

Stage 4 - 80km

This morning's stage was flat and fast. It started to rain towardsthe finish. Nothing really exciting happened, it was a bunh sprint. Therewas a round-a-bout with 500m to go and I was too far back going into it soI didn't sprint.

Stage 5 - 27km ITT

After this morning's stage we had a nice time trial. I don't reallylike time trials much but I'm getting better at them. It was extremely hardfor me to hold the same speed for over half and hour by myself. The winningtime was about 31:40min and I finished with about 34mins. I never saw thefinal results but I didn't go too bad.

Stage 6 - 185km

Today was basically a circuit race. We rode 25km before the firstpassage past the finish line. The 15km circuit had 3 hills on it and we hadto do it 10 times. That's alot of climbing. I managed to stay with thefront group until the last lap. There was a group of 18, then the next 12riders came in at different times then I came in at 1:38min behind hewinner with 3 other riders. One more day to go!

Stage 7 - 166km

Today's stage was flat for the first 40km, then we did a 10kmcircuit 4 times then the last 85km was flat. Nothing Interesting happenedon today's stage and it was a bunch sprint. I felt better today but was toofar back and only managed 8th.