Friday, May 05, 2006 5:26 PM

Diary #2. A lot of racing and not much rest.

I have just arrived back on Wednesday from an intensive 10day period, which involved 9 days of racing. We left on Sunday 23rd for a race called Vicenza- Bionde, after that we headed a long way down south to a town called Fiuggi. We had a rest day on the Monday in preparation for the Tuesday which was Gran Premio Liberazione. In that afternoon we had a prologue of the Tour of Regioni which was a seven day tour finishing on the following Monday. Then on the Tuesday We had another one day race called Coppa Citta di Asit before heading home for a well earned rest.

Vicenza- Bionde was our first race in the block. It was a race that could have suited me pretty well but I was still a bit sick from a cold that I was trying to get rid of and I also had bigger sights set on the Tour of Regioni coming up in a couple of days. The race began in Vicenza and went through Verona with 2 main climbs in it before finishing on a circuit in Bionde. I woke up the morning of the race still feeling pretty down from my cold, so in the race I tried to take the pressure off the other guys in the team by going with first break away and then helping Matt Goss over the penultimate climb, as he was our best hope for finish. Once over the climb I called it a day and watched the finish from the side lines. Matt rode a very impressive second half of the race to finish 3rd just behind the two riders ahead.

GP Liberazione is a very special race because it is held on Liberation day (note Liberazione). It is held right in the centre of Rome on a 6km circuit with 3 major U turns, which we complete 23 times totalling 138km. The race is telecast live on Italian TV which makes it one of, if not the biggest U23 races in Italy to win. After Chris Sutton winning last year we were not really sure of the odds of going back to back considering and Australian had never even reached the podium before last year. But none the less we went out there with the same intention. The race began really frantically, similar to last year, but after a break away was established the race calmed down. With about 8 laps to go the break came back and the race really started to liven up again. Matt and I were in a very decisive but unsuccessful move with 6 laps to go involving about 25 riders but was brought back about 2 laps later. The focus was then on the finish where I attacked with 2km to go, which was at the same spot that Sutton attacked from last year and won. My move looked like it might pull off for the 2nd year running but coming to the top of the last hill with about 500m to go I was caught by the bunch. Matt was in a great position when they came past and he went onto win very easily by almost 2 bike lengths. A very good result.

Tour of Regioni Race Report.

By the time I got to Asti for the final race in this block I was feeling pretty worn out and not very motivated. I think this was due to the tour finishing the day before which I had gone quite well in and that I was beginning to notice signs of sickness coming on which I didn’t want to aggravate. Coppa Citta di Asti was a 158km race which started and finished in the town of Asti (very well know for is wines). The race headed out to a 20km circuit with a bigger 2.5km climb and a couple of smaller 1km climbs. We completed 6laps of the circuit before heading for the finish line. Matt was our best hope for a result in this race not only because of how well he has been going lately but the fact the had had a couple of days rest because he had pulled out of Regioni on the 3rd day with a sore knee, unlike the rest of us coming straight off the tour. A few of us managed to cover the early moves in the race before pulling out at the half way mark. It was then pretty much left up to Matt to get himself to the finish alone which he did very well loosing by the narrowest of margins to place 2nd in the finish. After the race it was relief that the racing block was over and that we only had a 3hr drive home before we couple have a nice shower, pizza and get into our own beds. My next focus is Tour of Thuringen next week in Germany and I’m hoping for another good result there.

For more detailed results please view the links for the races in my calendar.