Thursday, June 4, 2009

Rogaland GP UCI 1.2

This weekend four of us made a trip up to Norway for Monday's 1.2 ranked GP Rogaland. This turned out to be a really bizarre race. I rode to the front of the peleton in the neutral section and then the moment the flag dropped an attack went. This in itself wasn't too surprising, but all of the good teams had one rider in it, which was pretty strange. So I decided to go after it too. Then a few minutes later another group came up that had one more rider from each of the good teams. Then suddenly I heard that we had a minute on the peleton, and that teammate Frederick Just was bridging across on his own. So I sat on the back until he came up, and suddenly we also had 2 guys in the group. However, he was suffering after digging really deep to come across to a group of 15 on his own. Then we rode around for a while, our gap hovering between 3 and 6 minutes, but it seemed pretty clear that we were going to stay away.

I decided to not go for the KOM points because I was afraid of dropping Frederick and I wanted to save it for the finish. However, there was also an intermediate sprint competition and 500 meters before the first sprint we were directed the wrong way. Luckily Frederick and I were both at the back of the group so we turned around first and crossed the sprint line 1-2, Frederick being first. After that I told him to go for that competition since it seemed likely that he was going to get dropped on the small hill on the finishing circuits. He then took second in the next sprint.

Nothing much happened until 165 km into the race when we started the five 6km long finishing circuits. There were some attacks the first lap and Frederick got gapped off a bit, but managed to come back just in time to attack before the second passage of the finish line, which was the last intermediate sprint. So he easily took it and won the competition. Immediately after the finish line the hill started and some more attacks and he was done for good. I took a little dig half way up the hill that lap but there was a pretty big headwind so I didn't get away. However, after I sat up, the weak rider from Designa K√łkken attacked and everyone just stared at each other. He instantly got a 30 second gap, but nobody was worried. So we rode the next two laps pretty easy while two guys slowly reeled him back in. This was bad for me since they weren't getting tired and I was going to have a harder time getting away. This was also bad for Designa, their strong guy couldn't really sprint either and he needed a hard pace just like I did. Still thats the way it went.

When he did come back there were a few more attacks, but it seemed like most of the group wasn't too interested in getting away, and the headwind on the climb really killed it. So it set up a 12 person sprint for the win. I pretty much blew this finish completely though. I was near the front of the group with a km to go, but I got swarmed right before too tights turns that ended 400m to go. I came out of the turns in 8th and that is where I stayed because the finish was super fast due to the tailwind.

The front group attacking up the hill in the finishing circuits. The guy leading was the strong Designa rider, the guy to the right in red won the race, the guy in blue was third. Those riders along with myself were clearly the 4 strongest. But the Designa guy and myself couldn't sprint and we finished 5th and 8th.

So its a mixed bag. I got my first UCI points for 8th, but at the same time I was definitely one of the 4 strongest guys in the group so I feel like I could have ended up on the podium. But it just didn't go my way, they weren't interested in racing hard enough for me to have a good chance. Still it was a pretty good day for us in Norway, two guys in the top 20 (Frederick hung on to get 20th), and 1st and 3rd in the sprints classification since my second place in the first sprint was good enough for 3rd. Not bad for only having 4 riders on the start line.

1 comment:

  1. good job Max, that sounds like a good race!