It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Well, actually it really happened in reverse to the prior statement. The morning’s first stage in the Tour of Gippsland did not start well. It was a short, 30km crit around the streets on Wonthaggi to get things under way and while it was held on a simple circuit it was fast and nervous from the start.

The plan was to get to the finish with everyone in one peice and if possible, pick up some time bonuses and a stage placing. With about 10 laps to go we were getting the BikeBug.com sprint train organised only to have everything come crashing down – literally. Geoff, Caleb, Alex and myself were all caught in a crash as we passed over the start/finish line. I was lucky to come out of the crash unscathed; I landed on a rider and rolled onto a sand bag making it about as good as it gets for a crash. Geoff on the other hand was not so lucky, hitting the deck hard and separating his shoulder. Not the most ideal way to start a a five day tour. Phil did what he could in the finishing sprint but without any team mates he didn’t really have the help he needed to get over Steel Von Hoff from Genesys in the end.

We started the afternoon stage a couple of hours later and were keen to make up for the mornings events. The 68km road stage started fast thanks to a strong tail wind and it was clear that not a lot was likely to get away with all the riders feeling pretty fresh. We miss-timed our effort for the first sprint but made amends by getting Phil across the line for some bonus seconds in the second sprint of the stage.

Coming into the climb we were nicely positioned at the front of the race with the aim of getting over the top with Phil and Sam in the front bunch. Caleb’s day ended when he had a rider insert his quick release skewer into his front wheel only a couple of kilometres from the bottom of the climb. Alex hit the front on the lower section of the climb setting a ripping pace and people started going everywhere. A few riders attacked and things got hard real quick. I managed to hang on to the front bunch over the top but had to chew most of my stem off to do so. I’ve attached a screenshot from the climb and the eight-minute effort where I averaged 436 watts and 192bpm heart rate. Ouch! Once over the top it’s was a fast run to the finish. Josh and Phil came across shortly after and we set about looking after Phil for the run into the finish.

With around 5km to go the group split and I had to pull a massive turn to keep us in contact. After that I was fairly useless and couldn’t help much in getting Phil set for the finish. Josh and Phil got together and were sitting nicely on the back on the Genesys train. Steel Von Hoff hit the front too early and didn’t have the legs to keep Phil from coming over the top in the last 100m meters to take the win. Yew!

The tour has started nicely, apart from Geoff’s encounter with the tarmac and hopefully we can pull off another win in the coming days.

All the stage power data can be view here:
Stage 1 – http://tpks.ws/RZEv3w1e
Stage 2 – http://tpks.ws/cLl7GvhG

Till next time,

Andy.