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Moving on up: The Trent Wilson Journal 2004
After being one of six iTeamNova riders who made the cut last year when his Aussie Div III team merged with RDM-Flanders to form Flanders-iTeamNova, "Willo's" earned a place in Division II with Colombia Selle Italia in 2004. Follow his progress and get a taste of Aussie humour as he lights up the road in Europe. Trent also his own web site at www.trentwilson78.com where you can find out even more about this Sydney rider.
Tour de Langkawi Stages 5-7
Three days to go
Melaka, February 12, 2004
Three days to go till the end of the Tour de Langkawi, and trust me, Russ and I have the count-down going. Every day that goes by is one less day riding tempo on the front. We're just thinking of it as days in the office. Even today, when Russ and I finished our job with 25km to go and let the sprinters take over, I hear Sean Sullivan from the other side of the bunch yell: "Willo, you punched your card to knock off, you signed the book before you leave". It's good when your mates look after you too. Ben Day (Mr Bookmaker-Palmans-Collstrop) came to the front with 40km to go to give Russ and me a Coke; obviously different teams, but we're Aussie, we stick together. The Lampre rider behind said, "you wouldn't see Italians do that".
The team is obviously still super-motivated and morale is high. Morin wants to marry into my family and calls himself "my brother in law". Perez has definitely opened up to us now, showing us his taste in music and is a top guy on and off the bike. It's always good when Freddy, 2003 KOM winner in the Giro d'Italia compliments you repeatedly after every stage for the work you have done. It makes it all worth while. All three guys are keen to make their way to Oz for the Herald-Sun Tour in October.
Stage 5 - February 10: Melaka - Melaka Individual Time Trial, 18 km
Tuesday was a 18km time trial and the wind was up. I was off second after all the time I had lost in the previous days. It was windy and I had just a standard bike, but I caught my minute man. As someone said to me, "I was the third Aussie in as many days to cross the line first, I just didn't win". I did hold the fastest time for a short period though. The man of the day though, was Russ, setting an awesome time in what was probably the windiest part of the day. He held the fastest time up until the last 20 riders when Eric Wohlberg did it once again to set the fastest time and eventually take the win. Perez showed how good he was as a pursuit rider to finish third and get the jersey back of Freddy, with Freddy slipping to third. So we still have two in the top three. Russ slipped to fifth but it looked good for a while there. Awesome ride after spending two days on the front of the peloton setting tempo. For me, it was more of a recovery day, if you can put it like that. Looking forward to a few more days on the front for the boys.
Stage 6 - February 11: Muar - Johor Bahru, 175.2 km
Wednesday was the longest day of the tour and for me, definitely the hardest. It was a 175km road stage with a head/crosswind all day. David Duffield made the comment this morning that we had a massive tailwind all day due to the time we completed the stage in and the average speed. We averaged 47.9km/h for the stage, but I can assure anyone it was a headwind, it's just that we rode so hard all day. A break of 11 riders went after 40km and my worst nightmares came true.
Three or four riders you can hold at a few minutes with a few of you chasing, but when it's 11 riders, it makes it very difficult. Luckily, we weren't the only team with something to lose. Palmans and Relax both had no-one in the break and would have lost a few positions on GC. They got on the front with us for the next 90km and we chased hard. We brought them back with 35km to go and the srinters' teams finished the job. I can not remember the last time I was so mentally and physically nailed after a stage without attacking once. When we got back to the hotel, I was so tired, I was over-tired and couldn't sleep. We must get a tailwind tomorrow, as we're heading back the opposite direction.
Stage 7 - February 12: Pontian - Melaka, 166.7 km
Well, nothing's ever easy, but sometimes you like something to go your way. It was a gale force headwind all day. We had a 166km road stage to tackle and once again it was on from the gun. A break of sven riders got away, and as we have done for the last few days, we went straight to the front, but this time Formaggi Pianzolo and Palmans helped us chase.
We were keen to let the lead go out to 4-5mins but the other two teams wanted it back. We got the group back and the big teams got to the front and called a "piano" seession. A few Asians pretended they didn't hear and attacked, but were shut down. Finally, we had a piano session for about 15km. Like I said to Russ: "We get lunch today at work, nice!"
It wasn't long before we were back at work though. A Japanese rider attacked and it was racing again. It was good for us though; the rider was way down on GC and we rode hard enough to keep him at about two minutes. Our job was done at the 25km to go mark and the sprinters took over. I got to have a quick chat with a few of the boys before biting the handlebars for the last 5km. Perez showed us his versatility to finish 10th in the sprint, and Freddy showed he's not only a climber and positioned himself well to finish 15th.
Tomorrow's a 95km stage, which will obviously be real quick. Then Saturday's the big one, Genting Highlands, a 25km ascent. Three more days on the front.