Posted by Editor on 09/20/01
Shep Report - Worlds
Welcome everyone to the last update for the year. I have just awoken from a 13 hour hypoxia coma that came about from three weeks of spreading myself thin. This race took a hell of a lot more out of me than even the 24 hour race I did this summer . . . same gut churning body black out that has me still praying that I will get to use the bathroom some time in the very near future. I guess the bottle of pepto (pink champagne) the night after the race didn't help. Felt like a bag of cement until three days before the race when a light finally appeared at the end of the tunnel. Racing has been tough to get into this time round due to larger things happening in the world. Thought the race was going to be cancelled until Friday night but the organisers chose for us to keep racing.
The course up here could best be described as "old school" as it has barely changed since 1992. Most of the organisers time went to developing the dh course and the dual . . . thanks man! So I'll break the course down quick. Fast paved start leads to an open climb 20 seconds of single track joins to another open climb . . . little single track leads to double track down hill to little single track. Back through village leads to a fifteen minute open climb . . . you get the picture. Not that bad to race just really boring. But hey I'm a bike racer so I'll persevere!
Start was freaking hard as we struggled for air up the lower slopes of the start loop. After a good ten minutes I felt like I was breathing through two McDonald's straws that had been rammed up my nose. Slowly the affects of God knows what started to synch my lungs and stomach tight. "If only I could puke whatever was in me out I would be a happy camper", I thought with dreams of punching it in the ladder part of the race. No go for when I did open the hatch it just made matters worse. While I struggled, a big chance of the Canadians were doing a good job pacing but there was no pacing in the front.
Off the front the battle was starting to brew between Roland, Chicken, Frishy, and others. Little Mig, Team Giant, Bas, and a few more were off their game and did not make an impression on the results sheet. Roland and Chicken were horniest with counter after counter . . . the followers could little more than watch and keep with their own game plan. Coming into the last lap Roland accelerated and gapped chicken to upwards of thirty second while it dwindled going up the second to last climb. Roland hit the top and began rebuilding on the fast descent to the bottom while chicken clung to around twenty seconds before the effects of 30 psi in latex tubes took over. yes a flat! Damn the battle that could have been waged on the final climb would have gone down in history! Chicken was replaced with a swiss coup as Saucer tried to overthrow Frishy on the final climb, but it was futile with Frishy edging Suzzi by ten seconds.
On the North American side of things (16, 17th) the Mexican riders fared well most likely to two weeks of road racing at altitude (and weighing 110 lbs isn't such a bad thing either!) and Shamoe was in tow at 19th. After bronzing my bar and stem with eggs, coffee, oatmeal and a little bile for good measure I put it into survival mode. Joining me were Rowney, and Brown. Man, this was the worst day at the office I have ever had and the temptation for me and the other's to drop out was immense. I thought of what Willow went through in the women's race (broken rear derailler cable on the start loop which led to an almost 15 mile run for her finish) so I figured I didn't have it that bad. North Americans really represented this time round partly due to each individual training program but also I think from such a competitive set of races on this side of the pond. Ryder 2nd, Walker 3rd in under 23 XC, the two Alisons in 1st and 2nd, Donavan in 3rd DH and of course Rolli in 1st. Unreal.
I would like to thank all my friends in the sponsorship world for supporting me equally through my injury to the good times! Haro Lee Dungarees, Adidas, Oakley, Tioga, Time, Bell, Cane Creek, Hammer Nutrition, Shimano, Titec, Rock Shox, Troy Lee Designs, Java Cycle Kamloops! THANKS! Staff aren't forgotten either . . . ben, billy, aaron, allen, sean, and mike thanks for all the hard work and the open ears!
This stage race begins today, with lots of Canadians attending. The organizer has promised daily updates, so stay tuned. Thanks to Dave Butler (Sympatico.ca) for a quick rundown of who is attending.
Sympatico- Josh Hall, Dominique Rollin, Chad Grochowina and special guest rider Andrew Randell.
Other Canadian teams:
Briko (which is the St. Catharines club)
Cdn Junior women's team
Eric Wohlberg with Saturn
Glen Randall with Snow Valley
Other teams on the start list:
Postal with Hincapie, Dylan Casey, Tyler Hamilton
Junior Tour of Istria (Croatia)
Courtesy Jacques Landry - CCA
For Marc Bomhof, Duncan Gavin, Jean-Sébastien Maheu and Ryan Roth their first race ever in Europe was to be a very slippery one. As it is known now by juniors having done this stage race in 2001, the roads in Croatia can be like ice when wet, and that was basically the case on the first stage from Pula to Buje.
After 20kms of racing the rain started coming down in a drizzle and the crashes started coming with the first victim from Canada being Duncan Gavin. Later on Ryan and Marc would get dropped by the main group because of crashes occurring in front of them. The only one to save precious skin on the hips was Jean-Sébastien Maheu who managed to keep the rubber side down. Staying upright also caused him to stay in the main group until the final uphill sprint of the first stage.
Fortunately the second stage from Umag to Labin was a dry one, but one that would be difficult because of the terrain plagued with hills. The first one to get in a break was Marc Bomhof, who managed to take off with two Italians and pick up some intermediate sprint points before getting caught at the foot of the first 15km long climb. A few kms later Jean-Sébastien Maheu would take off in the climb with 8 other riders. That 9-man break would eventually have 2 minutes on the rest of the group as they crested the top of the climb. Meanwhile, in the main group Ryan Roth and Marc Bomhof were still there keeping an eye out for riders trying to bridge up.
After the feed zone in the second climb the break would only be 6 strong with Maheu still present. As the break had almost finished their last descent in the main group Ryan suffered a rear puncture and could not chase back on.
With 20 to go Maheu was still in the break only 5 strong with a Croatian rider, Ivan Sever, doing most of the work.
At the 5 to go mark, Maheu would get dropped and managed to fight off the fast paced main group up to 500 meters from the finish in a steep cobble climb. At the finish the stage win would go to Sever as Maheu finished 1min 30 down and Bomhof at 1min 50.
Stage 3 would prove to be fairly uneventful despite a breakaway attempt up the first climb after 20 kms from the Maheu and the same five breakaway riders from the day before. The efforts of the 5 would prove to be mute because the climb was not long enough and the descent too fast and straight to stay away.
With 20 to go as some attempted solo breakaways it was clear the finish in Pula would be made with 80 riders fighting for first place. Despite Jean-Sébastien and MarcÃ¢â‚¬Å¡s best efforts to get Ryan well positioned for the sprint the best that could be done was a 16th place stage finish.
In the end, Maheu would take 12th place overall at 2min while Bomhof came in 37th at 8min13, Roth was 59th at 18min 34 and Gavin was 79th at 1h12min17 down.
Jacques Landry, National Development Coach
Happy Birthday to...
Peter Wedge (on Tuesday).
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