Team Cyclingnews.com - 2005
Team Journal Entry - June 4, 2005, by Glen Chadwick
King of the mountains at Tryptique Ardennais
Hi Everyone, Well I'm gonna give ya a quick run down of a tour we rode last week, the race Triptyque Ardennais.
This was a three day, four stage thrash around the French and hilly part of Belgium, and rates as one of the tuffest SOBs in Belgium with previous riders that shone through and have made quite a big name for themselves such as Damiano Cunego, Ivan Basso and Franco Pellizotti. There were 36 KOMs spread out through the whole tour with 12 on the final stage.
The first stage of 155km was a matter of staying out of trouble, looking after your legs and not losing time. With a bit of wind around you had to make sure you stayed near the front in case of any splits in the bunch. There's only so many gaps you can close and only so many riders you can ride around before the legs give up on ya. But we all stayed out of trouble and the lads rode well on the front for a while to keep me out of danger. A Frenchy and a Belgie snuck up the road to finish just in front of the peloton, with most of us in it.
The next stage was a good old split stage with 75km in the morning and 80 in the arvo. Going by Daniel's (our director) words of wisdom attacking is the best defense so off I went on the first long drag and in pursuit of some KOM points. Stayed away for 20km till we hit the local laps but also securing some needed points for my quest to finish in the mountain jersey. The finish laps had a 1.5km climb in it which turned out to be nasty in making a mess of the field. The 2nd last time over I ended up in a small group of 15 or so. The selection was made and these guys were my rivals for the up and coming stages. The last time over our group split again with a Dutchy just up the road and myself in a group of 4, the chase was on in the last 5km to the finish. Coming out of the final corner for an uphill drag race to the finish I was 3rd wheel and slightly of the back of lad in front. They both hesitated and I whacked em as hard as I could and started my sprint at about 400m out one lad was on my wheel but that's where stayed. So I crossed the line 2nd with the Dutchy finishing 7 seconds in front. Plus some hard earned points in the mountain classement.
So we had a bit of lunch and a rest and off we went again for Stage 3
85km give or take a few. In most cases they give ks but most times they are close. Eight climbs in total with the first one coming in the first 5km it was on for young and old. Sven got straight into it and was up the road from the gun. I got across to him via the back of some Belgie's wheel but the peloton pulled us back coming through the first lap. On the second lap and the 4th climb of the day I was near the front, so what the hell, let's test the legs. Rode away with one other lad which was a bit tough. Then Cam and a couple others came across a bit later on we had a nice little group of 5 with 40km left to race.
Cam had the diesel switch on as usual and was working hard, I managed to take out every KOM and hit the lead in that classement. With about 15km to go a small group came across and we raced it out to the finish. The run in was bumpy as hell. Cam ran across in 8th and I finished on the back of the group in 16th. To Cam's surprise he had won himself a nice watch as winner of the sprint on the 2nd last lap. We didn't even know but no worries he'll take it. I scored the King of the Mountain Jersey with a lead of 14 points over the guy in 2nd. Which worked out well as I didn't have any clean team jerseys left and normally I would have had to wash one that night in the sink!
Stage 4 180km, 12 climbs and a finishing circuit that a mountain goat would have trouble staying upright on. Now word on the street was that the lad (some ex pro) that I took the jersey from said that I should enjoy it cause he was gonna get it back and win the classement.. I didn't take to those comments rather nicely; it only fueled the fire even more. Its great wearing a tour jersey, but hurts giving it up especially on the final day of a tour.
With a climb in the first 11km it was on again, but as I was running 5th on GC as well I needed to take it easy. Next minute my rival for the jersey attacked and I wasn't gonna give him an inch so as soon as he saw me on his wheel he eased up and I attacked him as hard as I could. He couldn't follow me and I rode across to a group of 3 and thought we might stay away for at least 30km so I can rack up some points to secure the jersey.
110km later we were reeled in by the peloton just as we hit one of the nasties on the finish circuit. I ended up on 84 points, 40 points clear of my nearest rival in the mountain comp. Wasn't the plan to be out there that long as there was a lot of fresh legs in the bunch but I did my best to look after my legs as the last 60km was full on. 3 hard climbs raced over twice in 2 laps. Chambral, Cote de Niaster and La Redoute (famous climb from Liége-Bastogne-Liége). Translated into Aussie they are Shambles, Nastier and La Ridiculous.
The bunch kept getting smaller every climb, Cam was my last team mate with me up front although Sven came from no where after a long chase just before the 3rd last climb to check if we needed anything and once we said we were ok it was time for him to hit the handbrake. One last time up La Redoute Cam had led me up to the base of the climb and before we parted company gave me a good luck call over the radio. Went over the top just off the back of 3 lads as the 22 percent section of the climb was just a bit too much. I reeled in one lad but missed the other 2. Finishing 3rd on the stage, 4th overall on the general classement by 33 seconds, 1st in the mountain classement and 3rd in the points.
Not a bad outing. Cam also had a good race finishing 16th only 1 minute 20 off the lead and up a new watch. The other lads had done an awesome job keeping Cam and me safe through out the race. And they will always have their work cut out for em looking after me! You don't always see them in the results but they are always there and doing their bit for the team. Its not an individual sport - you have to ride as a team if you want results. I'd be lost without 'em. Thanks Lads.
Next big race is The Tour de Beauce in Canada which we leave for on the 11th. It starts on the 14th and goes till the 19th. Should be good.
So till next time,