Sunday, January 24, 2010

Saving the best for last

It's been a pretty low-key race for Jamis Sutter Home down here in Argentina, we've been trying to lay the foundation for a great season and not over-extend ourselves so early.  However, the last day we had a mission: animate the race and mix things up from KM 0.

And mix it up we did!!!  Wow, I felt really good today.  We were supposed to make the break, Seba said we *have to*, and I was in the break when it formed but it split and fell apart on this insane hard uphill drag and I was caught in No-Man's-Land between the break (just within spitting distance) and the entire Liquigas squad chasing me.  SO close, I was pissed, it was the move and I just barely missed it, so I was determined to really rip at the end.

With Annibal on my wheel, we fought for the last 15km in an *INSANE* downhill finishing section completely spun out in the 53x11 (probably 80-100kph) and my front wheel hit a guy's skewer when he swerved and broke on of my front spokes with about 6km to go.  I thought it was game over, but I opened my front brake and let the wheel just wobble at warp speed.  I made sure it was OK and just decided to keep mixing it up.  We went through numerous roundabouts at full throttle, heading into town, and the adrenaline was coming out of my ears.

I had to sprint around in the wind a few times to keep Anni up in the front, Liquigas and Katusha had the right to stay up there with Napolitano and Cicchi, two of the top sprinters in the bunch.  I had no idea where the line was, too busy trying to stay alive.  With about 3km to go, things were getting hairier and a touch of brakes sent a ripple through the front and kicked Anni off the road into the gravel.  Somehow he stayed upright AND found my wheel within 30 seconds!  I was coming up on the left, and Anni said "go Nicolas, GO!" so I just drilled it up the left and hijacked the entire sprint train of Katusha/Liquigas with Anni right on board!

We went up the left about 3kph faster and I was on the front for about 30 seconds before the legs were just gone and I could tell I was fading.  I just barely past the 1km to go sign before Alexander Kalobnev (Katusha, bronze in the last two World Championships) rolled by and Anni jumped into fourth wheel and I was coasting and hoping no one ran into the back of me.

Sorry to be anti-climatic, but I have no idea how it ended up!  I know a Sparkasse German guy hit a spectator with 300m to go and it was apparently terrible, but I stayed upright even with a broken front spoke.  It's a little frustrating to have the legs all day and miss the break, then do the leadout just a little too early, but I was very close on both counts.  The team has stayed relatively safe and done some great work this week, so now it's time for a couple beers and the long journey home starting tomorrow.

1 comment:

David Green said...

Sweet Nick. Great report. I hope all s going well since!