Team Cyclingnews.com - Down Under - 2004

April 15, 2004: Vlaanderens Tweedaagse der Gaverstreek

A turn on the roller-coaster

By Cody Stevenson

Phil and Dave
Photo ©: Team Cyclingnews.com
Phil and Hilton
Photo ©: Team Cyclingnews.com
Phil Thaux
Photo ©: Team Cyclingnews.com
The team car
Photo ©: Team Cyclingnews.com

What an interesting past few weeks I have had!

I think that my mood must be dependent on where the moon is in the sky and from which direction the wind is coming, and my form seems to be following suit. The mind can really give your body an ass-kick when it needs to.

The past few weeks have been a mix of positive, hard training, solid racing, bad racing, bad luck and a lot of thought about how to rectify each hurdle. It all comes back to one thing really: just ride your damn bike, Cody!

The two days of Gaverstreek was a nice two-day, three-stage race, including some of the climbs that are used in the Tour of Flanders. The first day was cold and wet, and Hilton was able to put in a solid ride for 11th. I was far less impressive, finishing in a group that was some minutes down.

The next morning we had an individual time trial, my preparation for the day was not helped as we arrived a tad late, and I didn't have enough time to do a proper warm-up. Hilton put in a ride that put him seventh on the stage and third overall. The afternoon stage was all for Hilton, if he could win the stage he would take the bonus seconds and the overall victory. David, Phil and I were doing the domestique duties for the day. A break got away just as Hilton punctured and we all dropped back to pace him back, we rode flat-out through four groups, and eventually it was just Phil and Hilton.

After a long chase from Dave and myself we regained contact with the front group with some 35km to go, and as soon as we got there we were sent to the front to chase down the group that had nearly two minutes at this stage. The whole Rabobank team, who held the yellow jersey, and our team had missed the move. We chased and brought the gap down to 16 seconds, but then Rabobank stopped chasing and we were starting to run out of legs.

Close, but no cigar! The front group had stayed away by a meagre 20 seconds, Hilton ended the tour placed fifth.

The weekend had left me a little empty.

I thought I would rectify this by racing on Tuesday, managing to use my emotional state to good effect. I got in the break with about 40km to go, and we proceeded to tear each other apart to try and hold the 35 second gap that we had gained. I had honestly forgotten the pain, the nice pain, of being in the front of a bike race again. You are on the railway track, you can hear the train's horn - but you can't let it catch you!

I made a few mistakes in the finale, but at least I was there to make the mistakes. I ended up seventh; not so bad, but not great. Maybe the form is coming, maybe not. Now I have a head cold that has been spreading around the team house, so I may have to miss the next few days of racing.

The roller-coaster has finished its first circuit, all aboard for the next lap. Here we go again!

"Just ride your damn bike Cody!"


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