Team Cyclingnews.com - Down Under - 2004

Give us a break!

Châteauroux Classic de l'Indre Trophée Fenioux, France, August 22, 2004

I've just returned from a new race on the international calendar, a UCI 1.3, Châteauroux Classsic de I'Indre Trophee Fenioux in the heart of France. It was another early morning start from Booischot, as we headed south in pretty horrible weather, but fortunately as we progressed down the road the weather cleared up and we were able to get in a dry ride in Châteauroux at 4:30pm that afternoon.

Woke up to a great day and everybody seemed geed for a big, shiny race. Some big teams were on the list like US Postal, Cofidis, Vini Caldirola and FdJeux.com. Amore e Vita were also there and we caught up with another Aussie, the mechanic from the team, Stuart Smith. Two team presentations and a few autographs later we were all ready to go.

An active start again and I had a plan of getting into an early move. Jumped across to one, followed one and tried one myself but nothing was being let go in the first 30km. The succession of 2km hills and descents into small towns and some hefty primes along the route kept the bunch lined out until a group of six got clear. The bunch settled down and the group was given a lead. Some big teams with big sprinters like Cofidis and Landbouwkrediet missed it so the group was not going to get to far up the road. 30km later and with the break at 10 min the chase started as we returned to Châteauroux with 80km remaining.

The local laps were fast. For those who remember Ausrtralia's Bank Race, think the Terrigal Criterium and multiply by 10. It was just one big 10km circle with few corners to slow down for. Job now was to help up Hiltz and Chook move up occasionally and saving their legs for the forthcoming sprint. With 3 laps to go and the break still at 2min Hiltz punctured and Phil and myself dropped back and hauled him back to the bunch through the cars. Got him back on, moved him back up to the front, took a breath and with still a lap and a half to go the break still had just over a minute. Last lap, it was at 40secs and the bunch just mistimed their chase and fell a few metres short. Hiltz and Chook placed 17th and 18th respectively with Sven 42nd and moi in 50th (not much of a bunch kicker). Close on 190km in under 4 hours, pretty good going. Really it was an okay day, but it would have been good to get in that break.

Apart from that, nothing much more to say. Our team car caught the eye of US Postal's Johan Bruyneel and he had a big chat with our DS, Belgian legend Daniel Willems along the road about the team, sponsor etc. 5:30pm after a shower a snack and another good dose of Australian from Stuey Smith we jumped back into the car and headed off home.

One or two stops, a close encounter with a Raoul Duke look alike at a servo and 7 hrs later we arrived home and started thinking about our next race, Druiven Koerse Overijse, UCI 1.3. A good, hard race, one that I am looking forward to.

Till next time,


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