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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.
Coming along quite nicely, thank you
Belgium, April 11, 2003
When I last wrote I was in the middle of a big racing block. Well, for me, it hasn't really slowed down.
Between racing the bergs of the Settimana Coppi-Bartali in Italy and the gutter action of the Driedaagse van De Panne, it's been a busy month. Trofeo dell'Etna in Sicily was the last of five races in a seven day block.
It was good to get a bit of Italian culture again after two years out of the country. The food, coffee and the weather make Italy one of my favourate countries. It was a good but hard race; a big day at 230km and definitely a lot quicker than when I last raced in Italy in 2001 as an amateur.
After that, it was back to Belgium for a week at home and only one race, the UCI 1.5 Omloop van het Waasland-Kemzeke, or as we renamed it, the Kamakazi! It was a flat, windy, cobbled race that wouldn't normally suit me, but after racing big races, to come to a slightly smaller race with good form, I performed well.
I slipped into a break of 18 riders with 20km to go and felt great. I tried to go with as many attacks as possible when the attacking started with 10km to go, but the breaks I went in didn't go away. So we sprinted for fifth and I had to settle for 12th. A bit disappointing, but it showed the form is coming.
I was now ready for a full week at home for the first time this year. After a few days of recovery rides, I then hooked into a few big days on the bike. I was doing 5-6 hours and it was going quickly and so enjoyable due to the beautiful weather Belgium put on for us for about 10 days straight. It was sunny, 15 degrees and calm wind; training is so enjoyable when it's like that. This weather also meant that the seats were outside coffee shops in the Korenmaart in Gent. So it called for some coffee shop time after training.
It was then off to our next road trip, Switzerland and Italy. The Stausee-Rundfahrt in Switzerland was first on the agenda. It was quite a hard circuit that we did 10 times with a climb in it each lap, to make a total of 188km. I was gee'd to get into the early break, and that I did, but unfortunately we were caught. The next break that went stayed away. I attacked when it was at one minute and got as close as 15 seconds, but never got there and had to go back to the bunch. The race split up towards the end, but I was nailed after my early exploits. My teammate Alby Iacuone finished top 20 and I cruised in with the main field.
The next day we were off the Italy; two days rest and then the Settimana Coppi-Bartali, a UCI 2.3, five day tour with a circuit race, a teams time trial, three climbing stages and one flat stage.
Day 1 was the circuit race and teams time trial. It was run without too much excitement. Day 2 was the first big test, a 233km stage with five major climbs. The day started as a lot of us had hoped: a nice 100km piano session at 35km/h, and a chance to get a tan from the Italian sun and catch up with my fellow Aussies.
But when the race started, it was full throttle - the first climb was flat stick and we went over it at some stupid speed. The next climb was where it really split to bits. I found my climbing legs and got over in the front group of 60 odd riders. With Mercatone Uno riding tempo for Pantani, it was under control till the second last climb when it blew apart. I hung on till there were about 30 riders left and then found a good sized group to ride to the finish with.
I had a good day, but as the tour went on, I just couldn't back up as well. On the second last day, I was climbing well but broke a spoke on a descent and never saw the front group again. It was a hard tour, but a definite form finder.
After one day off and an airplane trip home, it was off to the Driedaagse van De Panne from the bergs of Italy to the flat lands and wind of Belgium.
The first day of the tour began with a cruisy start and I was pretty happy about that. When the action eventually went down with just over 110km to go, the legs felt good. At 90km to go over the first cobbled section, I punctured and with my car being car no.23 and the Campag neutral car being last car, and the bunch single file, I was never going to regain contact.
I had a 90km chase in front of me and I eventually found some companions to ride in with; a long chase for the first day. The next day was 230km filled with rain, wind and freezing conditions. I didn't enjoy this, and later on paid the prize by being sick. I got through the stage in the bunch and started the next day but stopped along with the majority of the peloton.
After De Panne I got sick, so I missed a Dutch race that would have suited me with 26 climbs. I feel better now and the flu came at the time I was going to take a break anyway. I was down to do Gent-Wevelgem but took an RDO [rostered day off - Ed] and am starting Pino Cerami tomorrow. Form seems ok, although did a five hour ride with Jamie Drew the other day and it went down as the hardest ride I've done in a long time, mostly 'cause I was drilled.
After Cerami, I've got a week off before Denain in France and then the Tour of Georgia in the US. Looking forward to the US; sounds like a good race and it's got good coin up for grabs.
Till next time,