I would loved to have written this blog on how I managed to win my last race in the USA, a sort of fairy tale ending to winning my first one, but it was not to be.
The next round in the SRS series saw us heading north-west of Greenville to Knoxville. I was privileged to be wearing the Pez Cycling News Sprinters Jersey on the weekend.
Pre race with Ash.
Start of the criterium.
Saturday saw us tackle a tough crit circuit with a climb tipping the scales at a gradient of 10%, just long enough to make it hurt. The team was active in covering and launching moves off the front. Some 25 minutes into the 75 minute race I attacked at the crest of the climb and got a gap off the front. I spent the next 3 laps solo hoping someone would bridge across to me, but it was not to be and I was sucked back into the field.
With a dangerous move off the front nearing the finale, the boys got on the front and ramped up the pace. The break was shut down but two other riders snuck away and managed to stay away which meant going into the sprint we were fighting for 3rd. I got pushed out on the last corner and had to slam on brakes to avoid a meeting with the kerb, a half salvaged sprint netted 8th place. It was enough to keep the sprinters jersey on the day.
Going solo kinda hurts.
Kept the sprinters jersey.
The next morning we lined up for a seriously fun 145km circuit race. The 9 mile circuit was compromised of mostly: narrow, twisty and undulating country roads.
Dilly got himself solo off the front in the first lap and spent the next 6 killing it all alone. It provided us with a great position as we could just sit on any moves going off the front. The counters came late on with DZ representing in a strong move of 4 which would eventually see him going to the line with Winston David and taking 2nd on the day.
The Doctor and I got into the chase move of 11 riders. With most of the bigger teams represented up front the chase wasn’t fully committed and we wouldn’t see the front four again. J.Lo and I covered the attacks in the finale of which none succeeded, so I had the privilege of the Doctor leading it out for me.
All was looking good until we hit the last corner with 250m to go and with a guy coming around the outside and cutting the corner sharply it saw 3 of us go down. It was a disappointing end to my US campaign but good to hear that DZ had secured a very solid 2nd.
All in all it was a great last weekend spent with the No Tubes boys. Thanks guys for an awesome year, it was fantastic getting to know you all.
Arriving home on Sunday evening was also the start of our last two days in Greenville. It was a chaotic time of packing up, cleaning up and saying good bye to so many people who had become such good friends. Greenville was an awesome place to live and train and I really hope that we will be able to come back next year, you never know, it would be a fairy tale of some sorts.
Pre race spin with the boys.
Last ride on the Future Champ with Ash.
All Racing Images Credit: Ash Smit