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Moving on up: The Trent Wilson Journal 2003
Welcome to the Trent Wilson Journal for 2003. The young iTeamNova rider was one of the six who made the cut when the Australian Div III team merged with RDM-Flanders to form Flanders-iTeamNova, and move into Division II.
Gutterball and dead legs
Tour de Langkawi, Stages 4-7
At times I had stop myself from nodding off, but the last 50km were full-on.
I've had a few rough days in the last couple of days, but the legs are starting to come around. The morale in the team is good and everybody is geeed for Genting Highlands on Saturday.
Stage 4: February 3, Gerik - Tanah Merah, 172.9 km
The first mountain day of the tour after three flat days in a row. There were two cat 1 climbs in the first 70km, and Alby Iacoune and I were geeed for a big one. We hit the first climb and a few attacks were going. About 5km into the climb I decided to go across to a move. I got there but used a lot of petrol doing so, and to make matters worse I lost my sunnies off my head when I swung around to see the gap. We got caught soon after. We crested the top and hit the second climb all together. This time the tempo lifted and the bunch split. Towards the top of the 25km climb it strung out in the gutter as it opened up and was blowing a gale. Fifty riders left and over the top a few Philippinos lost the wheel, it split up and I lost contact just over the top but got back on the descent. It ended up coming back together with about 30km to go. Once again it was a bunch kick, and once again Pagliarini won. I definitely felt like I raced today, the legs very sore after this stage.
Stage 5: February 4, Kota Bharu - Kuala Terengganu, 179.1 km
Another flat long day, with the temperature up in the mid 30's Celsius again. There were definitely some sore legs in the peloton this morning but for the first hour it was on for young and old. All the teams trying to make the eventual break. In the end four riders went up the road and once again Saturn went to the front to ride tempo. They have ridden so impressively this tour - they are riding smart and very strong. The stage dragged out over the long straights and slight cross winds, at times I had stop myself from nodding off, but the last 50km were full-on. The sprinters' teams came to the front towards the end and brought the break back in the last 10km, but this time it was harder for them, as there were some strong riders in the break. I was happy to see the end of this stage, my legs were sore and I was not having a good day on the bike. Graeme Brown finally got the win he wanted.
Stage 6: February 5, Marang - Cukai, 136.3 km
A shorter stage but that just means its faster. As soon as the flag dropped it went in the gutter for 20km and it hurt the legs and lungs. Then things calmed down and two riders slipped off the front. Again Saturn went to the front to ride tempo but it was a bit tougher today, the two in front must have been moving because when Saturn turned the wick up they weren't gaining on the break. Towards the end Saturn played the sprinters' bluff and sat up. It worked, the sprinters' teams went to the front and chased hard.
Our whole team got to the front with 15km to go, just as it went in the gutter and started splitting up. With 10km to go, in a dwindled bunch, I got Dave Macca to the front and by 2km to go he was top ten and the other boys finished the job. This time it was another Aussie who won, Stuey O'Grady, and Dave Macca was top 15. The legs were once again sore today but when I gassed it towards the finish they weren't too bad. It was as if I rode my legs good.
Stage 7 - February 6: Kuantan - Bentong, 196 km
The longest stage of the tour, and there were definitely sore legs in the bunch this morning. Guys wanted a bit of a "piano session", but it didn't happen. Straight in the gutter and attacks flying left and right. I put in an attack and an Italian came across. This is what I didn't want, getting in a two man break the day before a decisive stage. We stayed off the front for 15km and it looked like it was going to go away but it was way too quick. It was an attack fest for the first two hours and the average speed showed that: 49km/h. Eventually, my team mate Scotty Guyton went away on his own. 15km later another three joined him and they built a gap. I felt for Scotty as we caught them with under 2km to go. As in the other six stages, there was a crash but this time it was with 1.1km to go, which means you don't get the same time as the winner if you crash. Nathan O'Neill lost the jersey to his team mate Tom Danielson, so you've gotta feel sorry for him. Graeme Brown took his second stage win.
Today was the best my legs have felt all tour, so hopefully that's a good sign for things to come in the next two days. Tomorrow is a short but hard hilly stage which could be dangerous, then the next day is Genting, a 40km climb, very nasty.
The flat stages have been fairly boring at times, especially for us mountain goats. Bunch sprints every day and the breaks always getting caught, but that's bike racing. Like I said, Saturn have been riding awesome and deserve a pat on the back. The organisation of the race is as it always is, fantastic. We get treated like kings with some of the hotels we get. The food has also been very nice. The race starts tomorrow.