Classica Vila do Conde:On Saturday as part of a mixed professional and amateur team, I raced a fantastic little race known as Classica Vila do Conde. The Portuguese calendar is full of these "1.12" ranked races or "clandestinas" as they're called, toungue in cheek by the cyclists. Many complain they are not mediatic or serious enough, to justify their time. I like them a lot, as are a fantastic school of cycling and tremendous fun.
This race was on an easy circuit, with one hard climb. This was a short climb, but steep and on cobble stones. Infact there were cobbled sections through out the circuit, spicing up an otherwise easy event. The climb was too short to cause any real damage with any of the splits that occured quickly being annuled by my team. This meant that entering the finishing 2.5km circuit around the town we were guarunteed a sprint finish. And through Cândido Barbosa we won the race.
Memorial Bruno Neves:
This race was a memorial, to a cyclist who died during "Classica Amarante" just under a year ago. I was perhaps two wheels away when I saw Bruno Neves fall. It was something so inocuous, I presumed it was just a silly clipping of wheels with a nervous under-23. As it happened, it was a sudden cardiac arrest something which some young people are lyable to suffer and athletes more so, due to "myocardial hypertrophy" (if my memory serves me right); abnormal growth of the heart muscle.
The race was 155km on a very hilly ~30km cicuit with an abundance of pot holes, round abouts and tricky corners. Not my kind of race being hilly and technical.
Early in the race the pack was split with a massive group going of the front. I was one of the last to bridge across. Four of my team mates unfortunatly found themselves on the wrong side of the divide, but we were reasonably well represented in this numerous group of about 25, with three.
Liberty Seguros quickly siezed control of this group and promptly put the "peleton" chasing behind out of the race. And then began what for me was a slow death, kilometer after kilometer in the heat on these infernal roads, with well trained climbers making me and my new motor pay for over 3 weeks of not training properly.
There was another split forced by Liberty, 60 km from the end, 9 riders of the front. I probably had the legs to go with them, in terms of speed. But I bonked (bonking in cycling refers running out of glycogen; fuel) so it would have done little good to be up the front.
However my team mate Henrique Casimiro was up there and nearly won the race against the formidable Liberty squad. He came in 2nd, all of his own doing as there was no one there to lend him a hand in the last 45km.