Posted by Editoress on 04/15/02
Espoir European Project
Courtesy Jacques Landry, CCA
April 15th 2002
Bieuzy les Eaux, France,
Redon - Redon 151kms
One loop of 50km, another of 58km and 5 loops of 8km to finish was the format of this renowned Brittany race. The course that took the pack through 3 separate departments (kind of like provinces or states for us) was one of rolling terrain with a few odd kickers to break the field up a bit.
The fact that there was no wind made for a more tactical race as breaks could go essentially anywhere on the racecourse. So, for the 5 canucks, the object was to try and get in some breaks. As some teams had 12 riders on the line it was a given that these teams were not there to wait for the finishing sprint.
After a fast start a break was already off after the 20 kms mark. The break was about 8 strong as some, while the gap was not to big, attempted and made the bridge to make it a 13-man break. No Canadians. . .
After around the 40 km mark the break had around 30 seconds and it was apparent that no unrepresented teams wanted to commit themselves in a chase. Knowing that there was a 700 meter long 10% hill at the 58 km marker it was decided that we would put 3 guys up to start a tempo chase to try and minimize the time gap without catching it so that at the hill Ryder could attempt a bridge up to the break. The first part of the plan worked with Chris, J-Sebastian, Ryan, Ian and even Ryder doing good work at the front and keeping the gap stabilized. Eventually with 5 km to go to the hill a couple other teams would put some guys in to help out.
With a km to go to the hill Ian had the job of setting Ryder's attack. Mid way up the climb Ryder attempted to bridge but his legs were not a 100% and his previous races had made for him a marked target. So the solo bridge attempt did not work but the momentum was carried over by other teams seeing that it was possible to bring the now 8-man break back. So at the 100km marker it was all together and the second and last part of the race was underway.
Once the bridge made it was clear that break attempts would get launched but the whole pack was ready for anything and so nothing stayed away. About 10km before hitting the last circuit Ian was getting bad stomach cramps so had to pull after having brought feed up to the guys from the car. Rest assured the cramps past with time. . .
On the circuit 2 laps in a group of 6 got up the road with no canucks. The group got up to 25 seconds until with one lap to go a counter attack, with Ryder in it, attempted a bridge but was denied 2 kms later. With 4kms to go Maheu attempted an attack hoping to take a few with him but that too was denied and so the pack would hit the up hill finish sprinting for 7th place. In the end Ryder finished 30th with Maheu not far (behind) in 32nd spot and Ryan and Chris slightly losing contact of the pack in the last few kms.
In the end I was happy with how the team rode. This is the first race where they were "part " of the race as a unit and actually gained respect from the peloton. This race also proved a valuable experience that there are races where it is not always the strongest that wins and anybody that takes a chance can potentially do well. Races like this one are often times a gamble but to gamble you have to play the game. We played safe this time in hopes that we will play more aggressively in races to come. . .
The next race.
The next race on the program is on Saturday the 20th. Leading up to that the guys will be doing a more volume and speed work oriented week, as the goal is not Saturday but the next Wednesday and the Sunday after. Sometimes some races have to be sacrificed to attain goals!
National Development Coach
Paris Ancaster Reminder
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