Team Cyclingnews.com - 2005
Team Journal Entry - August 18, 2005, by Cody Stevenson
Hungry for Hungary
Once again it was time for team Cyclingnews.com to head off on another road trip. This time it was off to Hungary, for a 6 day Tour. The team consisted of:
We performed pretty well as a group with each rider getting a result or a win, and also riding strongly as a team whilst we held the yellow jersey.
Day One was a prologue in the morning and a crit in the afternoon; the prologue had two cobbled climbs, and was always up and down...fun, eh!? Chady, Leigh and Hamish all put in good rides - third, fifth and 13th respectively. The crit was something that I had my eye on, and managed to finish fifth, but just didn't have the speed in the finalé. Robert Bartko and the new German champ Gerold Ciolek were just too fast.
Day Two saw us tackle the longest stage of the tour and the stage with the most rain! We had a huge downpour just before the start and had to wait until 3pm to start the 170km stage. Hamish and Kane got in a breakaway, the group gained three minutes on the peloton and Hamish won the stage...just...he was a little over excited and threw his hands in the air a wee bit early, but managed to hang on! Kane was seventh and I managed third in the bunch kick for 11th place. All the other boys remained safely ensconsed in the peloton.
Day 3 was pan flat, we had the yellow jersey after Hamish's great ride the previous day, and decided to ride tempo the whole day until we hit the finish circuits...this is where I was supposed to take over and have a go in the predictable bunch kick. Alas, I couldn't pull it off - I tried...made a mistake in the last 700m and lost position...but I still managed to avoid the massive pile up with 200m to go. This carnage sent more than one rider to hospital, one guy messed himself up pretty badly, so I guess I was lucky. Once again, the team Cyclingnews boys continued to amaze me, Tank, Munge and Wormy swapped off for 100km at 45km/h! Then they organised the sprint for me. These guys were riding like the Discovery Channel team in the Tour. Very impressive stuff!
Day 4 we once again rode tempo, and I was having a bad day so I turned myself into a bit of a domestique..getting bottles, riding tempo, and generally looking after Hamish and Glen. Once again I was super impressed with Munge, Tank and Worm. Those guys were doing 5km turns at 40km/h into a block headwind all day, and they had been doing it the day before; I jumped in the pace line and instantly thought..."man my teammates are bloody animals"...we were working as a really cohesive unit, I would have hated to be the guy sitting last wheel flapping in the wind while the Cyclingnews boys were on the front laying down the smack!
With 20k to go, Chady asked me to look after Hamish as he was feeling bad in the stomach. Tank, Worm and I stayed with Hamish who with 3km to go was quite violently ill - we pushed him, slung...did whatever to try and keep the Yellow jersey on his back. Chady managed to go with the attacks in the finalé and took second!
Day 5 was THE mountain day. Unfortunately, Hamish was kept in hospital over
night and couldn't start the stage. Not a good way to lose the jersey! We rode
for Glen today...and he didn't let us down! He won! Wormy finished ninth on
the stage also. I tried to do what I could early on, getting bottles, taking
guys to the front, and then when the long climb started, about 12km from the
finish I let go of the peloton and made my way up the climb, finishing nicely
inside time cut!
Day 6 - finito, almost! The last day had two stages. A road race in the morning and a crit in the arvo. I came sixth in the morning stage after some great work from the team, in particular Wormy...he is a machine! Glen also took an unassailable lead in the mountains jersey. Unfortunately, Leigh came down in a fall and broke his collarbone and elbow. This is the third time in 10 months he has done his collarbone. The guy is a tireless worker for the team, selfless in his job and always great fun to be around with his wacky sense of humour...and behaviour! It is really bad luck. Kane also came down in the crash but was soon up and only had a few grass stains...nothing a bit of bleach won't get out!
In the arvo I was gee-ed for the stage as I had won last year. The team rode well again, but in the sprint I got chopped up like sushi, bouncing like a ball in the slot machine etc. I was unhappy not to repay my teammates with a win, but I guess that's bike racing! I learnt a lot again this year, so I am not as disappointed as I was right after the stage had finished.
Chady finished third on the GC, and took the Mountains jersey, we won two stages and I think we placed in the finalé on every day. I think it was a good tour, especially on a team level.
The next day we spent in Budapest as our flight out was not until Monday night. The director, soignour, mechanics and all the bikes left early that morning, and the boys were let loose on Budapest for a day.
Not a bad place at all might I add! There is a great contrast between the old and the new, the communist era and the new modern infrastructure of the city are well worth a visit!