Friday, May 05, 2006 6:16 AM
Giro Delle Regioni: Race Report.
The Tour began in the afternoon of the 25th April after we had just raced GP Liberazione. This year was my second attempt at the tour where last year I won the prologue and finished 10th on GC and this year I wanted to come back and improve that result. Giro Delle Regioni means Tour of the Regions, so the goal of this tour is to go through and many different regions as possible throughout the seven days. As a consequence we tend to have to do more travelling in this tour than most for its duration.
Prologue: The prologue was held in a town called Frosinone and was a criterium about 1km around. There were 6 riders in each team and 1 rider from each team in each heat. Each heat was raced over 2 laps and the first two riders from each heat went into the final. Then… with the 12 riders in the final it was 5 laps, with laps 2-4 being an elimination where the last two riders were eliminated, resulting in a 6 up sprint for the finish.
I was in the second heat and after the first heat Johnny Clarke came to me before I started and said to watch out for the 3rd corner because everyone was crashing on it. So as I began I was very cautious and sure enough about 5 guys in my heat crashed on that same corner. I managed to doge them all and went onto win my heat. Then came the final. I thought that if I tried to stay as close to the front as possible then I wouldn’t get caught up in any crashes. This theory work and I managed not to get eliminated but then when it came to the last lap I got caught behind a couple of riders and sure enough they crashed in-front of me and I had nowhere to go. Luckily I hardly hit the deck and got straight back up and rolled over the line for 4th.
Stage 1: Began in Cassino and was 107km to Fiuggi. This stage was flatter early on with a main climb in the last 20km. The whole team managed to get over the climb without any troubles. We were then able to set up the finish where Matt Goss got in a break away which got caught with 500m to go buthe was still able to out sprint the bunch for the win.
Stage 2: This was probably the hardest stage in the tour which was over 167km, which began and finished din the town of from Guidonia. This day had four category 2 climbs followed by a category 1 climb at 20km to go. Our team was very aggressive in the race possibly thriving off the win from the day before. After 50km I attacked just as a large break had been caught. Two other riders managed to come with me and we rode the next 100km to the top of the last hill together, where four riders caught us including the current U23 World Champion. The seven of us then raced to the finish, which came down to a bunch sprint. It was a slight up hill drag to the line and I mistakenly hit out a little bit too early and got caught by 3 riders in the last 30m leaving me 4th.
Stage 3: This was another very hard day which was from Orvieto to Sopleto over 151km. It had a cat.3 and two cat.2 climbs and the race came down to the final cat.2 climb which peak at 14km to go. I managed to get over to top in the front group with a couple of rides just off the front. Coming into the finishing town the roads where very wet and slippery and there were a lot of crashes. I managed to stay upright and come 3rd in the sprint but there were 2 riders still away giving me 5th place. By this stage I was siting equal 4th on GC with 3 other riders and only 17 seconds behind the lead.
Stage 4: It was rather controlled this day, which was from Malva to Barberino Di Mugello over 169km. It was a very hilly day but it also came with a lot of rain so I think most riders just wanted to get to the finish. By the finish it had dried out and a group of 3 riders managed to hold off what was left of the main bunch by 12sec. I managed 7th in the sprint to give me 10th for the day. I was still at 4th on GC @ 17sec by then end of the day.
Stage 5a: This was a flat stage in the morning which was 115km from Casalpusterlengo to Lodi. My goal was just to try and same my legs for the time trial we had in the afternoon. I was able to hide in the bunch pretty well and just rolled in at the finish with the bunch.
Stage 5b: The Time Trial… This was the town of Lodi and was 11km starting and finishing in the main Piazza. This was the crunch stage because I was still on equal time with two other riders and I had another group of 15 not far behind me. The TT began on the cobbled Piazza and by the time I had got off the cobbled and onto the main road the bolt that holds on my big chain ring lever fell out and I was forced to hold the lever in the correct position for the rest of the way. This wasn’t too bad but it meant that I wasn’t able to get out of the seat. This didn’t hinder me too badly as the course was pretty flat. I finished up in 10th place 49sec behind the winner. This was enough to hold my 4th place on GC and secure the lead in the U21 young riders classification.
Stage 6: The final stage was another flat stage from Lodi to S. Guiliano Milanese @ 132km which didn’t see the GC change. It just came down to a big bunch sprint where I placed 25th. I ended up 4th on GC at 1min 6sec from the lead and also won the U21 young riders classification.
For a detailed results list click here.
For more photos please click here.