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Chris Davidson HP Women's Challenge diary
Bontrager Racing Service mechanic Chris Davidson is looking after tech support for two teams at the HP: Boise squad Goldy's and the Richards team.
HP Stage 5 - June 19: Shoshone to Pomerelle, 87.9 miles
Today looked like the toughest stage of the race so far, 90 miles and a ten mile climb at the end. The riders were worried about the feeds and the potential crosswinds. On paper it looked like a race to the bottom of the climb, then a chance for Jeanson to show her stuff. We were going to try to get in the early break, then watch Saturn for the counters. In the first hour a break of ten slipped up the road and their lead grew to about a minute. Then we got the service call on the radio, the van shot to the front and one of our riders was in 53x25 spinning like 150rpm. It happens that she had shifted up and her shifter broke and jammed in the top cog.
First time out of the van for me and it is major. She needed a 53cm with Speedplay pedals and the seat lowered. All good in under a minute, and she is back chasing. I ended up putting her bike inside the van because I wanted to examine the shifter, and about five minutes later as I am working with the shifter, huge crash. Cars all over the road. I jump out of the van and run about 60 meters to find the one rider we have on Campy, holding a bike with a broken shifter. Bike change number two, Speedplay pedals and saddle adjustment. Next up is another one of our riders crawling out of the ditch in a fog. She says, "I feel a little dazed", which is exactly what you donŐt want to hear when you are putting a rider back on her bike. She indicated that she wanted to continue, so I checked the bike and pushed her back on the road. The guys in the medical van drove next to her till the finish and kept chatting with her.
Big victim of the crash was Jolanta Polikeviciute, currently wearing the green jersey in the race as QOM. She lost a ton of skin off her right knee and fractured her elbow. She is going home.
It took us about four minutes to get going after this crash, and when we got to the back of the caravan, the lead up front had ballooned to three minutes. The chess game was in full effect as Saturn had two in the break, but not any of their top three on GC. The lead came down a little by the base of the climb, at the expense of all the Rona team except Jeanson. As we hit the climb, the little Rona rider went off the front of the main field and straight thru the remainder of the break on the way to a one-minute stage victory. For us, Kristin rode an amazing climb and got tenth today, moving up to eighth on GC. Her placing gets us a better caravan spot for tomorrow.
Tonight was no fun. Two broken shifters, three trashed wheels and multiple cut tires. There were a couple of other comments about a noisy BB and a tight headset as well. It seems like when it rains it pours. The sun went down and I was still working on bikes. I will have to wash the van in the morning.
Thanks for reading