Tuesday, 26 April 2011

G.P. Llodio 2011 Summary

G. P. Llodio is always hard. And this year was no exception. My job was to get in the break and try and win something. I played my part well initially by getting in a huge group that split of the front. I was the only rider there from my team and this wasn't a good situation for the team. Luckily however Euskatel's junior team, Orbea, felt it necessary to annul this huge group and put in a terrific chase with eventually did after 20km. That breakaway wasn't hanging around either.

After that initial effort in the breakaway I wasn't feeling good so just sat in the bunch. On the first climb of the day I also felt short of breath. Last year I had attacked a couple of times here, but this year I was just a little bit short of form. About 10km after the hill there was a huge crash in the bunch, I was really close to getting through unscathed doing a "stoppie" but also fell. I was okay and set of again in pursuit of the bunch, but in the crash my rear break became jammed shut. My boss can be a bit hard on us and here is an example; he thought I was looking for a lift up to the bunch and insisted that I get under my own steam before helping out. So I did, but the effort more or less destroyed my weekend.

The race transformed at some point while I was chasing past all the cars. When I reached the bunch there were a lot riders from Barbot/Efapel and Euskatel/Euskadi and only one other from my team. The thing to do in this situation is to drive it on the front, sparing your climbers and forcing the others (already at a disadvantage) to chase. But my team mates didn't do this.

The bunch then came together and was controlled by Barbot for about 40km until we entered the finishing circuit. Meanwhile I and Nelson Vitorino were considering quitting, I because my cleat was dislodged and causing me a lot of pain and he, because he was bonking after a day in the break away. But I wanted to finish the race. So I chased back up into the middle of the bunch and stayed there.

A large group then slowly formed just ahead on a relatively easy section of the course. I didn't jump across because I had 4 team mates there, but in hind sight I probably should have. Unfortunately I was being stupid and defeatist because of my little mishap earlier in the day. On the last climb of the day Santi Perez jumps out, gains an advantage and holds on down the 5km descent to the line to win by 4s.

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