Posted in NewsMay 23, 2013Comments Off
Posted in NewsMay 23, 2013Comments Off
Posted in NewsMay 20, 2013Comments Off
The ToC was one of my main objectives of the season and I’m sure you would know by now that it didn’t go to plan.
Very disappointed that on stage 2 I had an unfortunate fall. I was riding alongside Phillip Gilbert just having a casual chat and one of my team mates came up beside me to hand me a water bottle. In a split second with one hand on the handle bar, I grabbed the bottle and was trying to place it in the bottle cage when I hit what felt like one of America’s biggest cat eye’s in the middle of the road or what is also known as road reflectors. The bars automatically crossed up and I was down before I knew it. The air temperature inland California that day was almost 40 degrees which made the road temp around 60 degrees and the bitumen road just tore straight through me. I had severe burns all on my left side from head to toe or what we Aussies say “asshole to breakfast”. My clothes were literally ripped off my body and every bike related component was broken. I picked myself up with an automatic feeling of broken ribs due to the peloton landing on top of me. I was short of breath and was hoping it wasn’t going to be a repeat of last years “Schelderpris” crash. I got to my feet and my team was there before I knew it with new bike in hand. As mentioned this was one of my main goals for 2013 so the thoughts of pulling out did not occur at all. I mounted my new rig and tried to come to my senses of what the hell just happened. Unbeknown to me my helmet was split in two as I took a fairly big hit to the head. Left side of my jersey and knicks were completely torn and my wounds exposed. My director drove up beside me and told me that it was wise to change my clothes due to the sun exposure and possible sun burning to the already burnt parts of my body. So apart from trying to put new clothing onto my ripped up body the local community got a nice little nude display. Standing on the side of the road with only cycling shoes and a broken helmet was not much fun!
I rejoined the peloton some 10km later and the heat heading into Palm Springs was excruciating. I managed to ride the front for our GC contender Michael Rogers before slowing down before the last 5km climb into the finish. The last climb seemed to go on forever and a lot of the European riders were falling to the ground due to the heat. I remember within the last few kilometers of the stage, one Italian and one Belgium rider just sitting in the middle of the road with their team mates surrounding them as if they were having convulsions. The heat this particular day was not very forgiving.
Post stage I went to the hospital for chest x-rays and thankfully nothing showed up broken or fractured which was surprising to me. For anyone who has done any damage to their ribs even just bruised them can attest that its very painful.
I continued the next day and the following but the body just gave way on me and I had to abandon the tour with only 3 more stages to go. This was very heartbreaking for me but you need to listen to your body sometimes.
So from now I am back home with the family and will take a week or so off before resuming training in preparation for the second half of the season.
All the best and rubber side up.
Posted in NewsMarch 31, 2013Comments Off
My first go at Milan San Remo is one that I will never forget. A life long dream has been shattered by brutal weather conditions and poor health.
As mentioned in previous blog I had an extremely bad race called Drenthe in Holland where the weather was not nice to us and I developed bronchitis. The Friday before San Remo I started a 5 day course of antibiotics, so I wasn’t feeling the best before the worlds longest race.
I’m sure most of you who read tis will know that the weather conditions that I and the rest of the peloton had to endure was ruthless. I remember sitting on the start line and there were whispers going amongst the guys that it was snowing heavily on the Turchino climb and was impossible to race our bikes over it. Whilst I was standing in 2 degree temperature and rain starting to fall the flag dropped and we were racing anyway. It was a fast start as you could imagine and a lot of guys wanted to be in the initial break of the day. Racing was underway and even though I didn’t know what was ahead of me, I was happy I was there.
90km’s into the race our team director announce to us through the race radio systems that we can not pass the Turchino climb due to snow and ice on the roads. It had been snowing already for the past 10km’s and he said that we will be getting into the buses in Ovado which was still another 36km’s. So has you can imagine it was freezing cold, rained from the start and now we are riding in the snow for another 36km’s. At the point in time I saw a lot of riders heads just drop including mine. The ride from that point till Ovado was the longest time on the bike that I can remember. My hands were totally frozen and still to this day I have problems with my fingers due to the cold from that race.
Here is a picture of me entering the team bus at the half way point.
As I’ve entered the bus I tried to get warm and stay motivated which was the hardest part. We drove for around 40km’s to a town called Arenzano and that’s when the race began again. It was cold and the body was frozen without any response to what my brain was telling it to do. We started (again) and with a breakaway with a 7 minute gap the peloton had to go hard.
The next hurdle was to ride good position and look after Daniele Bennati who was our designated sprinter. Running into the Cipressa was unbelievably fast and dangerous in the wet. The team rode awesome and delivered him exactly where he needed to be. From there is was lights out for me and job was done. All I had to do now was climb the Poggio which was only 9km from the finish. With all this done I finished my first MSR and some longtime Pro’s have said that this was the worst day they have ever experienced on the bike.
Next stop is Criterium International, Tour of Flanders, Schelderprijs and Paris – Roubaix.
Posted in NewsMarch 17, 2013Comments Off
The 2013 season is well and truly underway. Since I haven’t given you much of an update for the past few months I would like to bring you up to speed and give you some insight into what’s been happening.
The team which is now officially called “Saxo Tinkoff” had its usual team building camp in November and this year saw us all in Gran Canaria, Spain. Very cool little island with nice beaches and good weather all year round was a perfect place to have a camp. Thankfully Bjarne didn’t have anything too life threatening for us at this years camp except for bungy jumping so I was somewhat relieved about that. Since we were on an island I think a few of the boys were nervous as the ocean was right there.
Post camp I returned to Australia and started preparing for Nationals and Tour Down Under. Did you notice how I skipped straight past the off season because basically last year I didn’t really have one. December was all about training and getting prepared for January’s racing calendar.
My first race for the new season was the Jayco Bay series and I was down there to help a young up and coming star called Caleb Ewan. From there I went straight to Nationals. The Nationals didn’t really go to plan but was a good couple of days of racing for the legs before I went down to Adelaide for the TDU. This was my real first objective for the new season. Its World Tour and the points are more valuable than gold in the cycling world. As it stood for last season, even though I won a few races and had 18 top 10 results, I actually didn’t have 1 single WT point to my name. So for me this was a huge objective to achieve and with the awesome support of the boys I managed a 3rd on stage 4 which put some numbers on the board in the first WT race.
From Australia, the Tour of Qatar was the next race on the calendar. I was excited to venture to this part of the world, I had heard some many different but good stories about the race. The form wasn’t great due to the crash I had on the last stage of TDU and travelling half way across the world with my ass half missing. However, I can say that I’ve been there and experienced this race.
From Qatar it was back to Europe and I was straight back into the routine at home in Monaco. My first race in Europe was Haut Var which was a little race in France where I was on the front for our GC guy (Nicholas Roche). This year the team has 10 new riders and have really stepped up the quality of our GC contenders with the likes of Roche, Michael Rogers, Roman Kreuziger. We also have an Italian sprinter named Daniele Bennati who is renowned as a fast finisher. My race program for this year see’s me racing a lot with Bennati so I hope I can help him win some races and learn from him as well.
Above is a photo of my first real brutal experience in bike racing. This came last week when I was in Holland for a race called Drenthe. The morning of, it was teaming down rain outside and the temp gauge said O degrees. This was not looking like a good day for a bike race. It was a 200km race and I knew I had to get into the early break otherwise it was going to be a long day. So my day was going to plan as I rode across to the break at around the 15km mark and we were working well together. We were eventually caught at 130km into the race and from there on in I went into hypethermia mode.
Well I better get some sleep because tomorrow is the start of Milan San Remo. One of my favourite races of all time and I’m so excited to be taking to the start line. On the not so bright side I have bronchitis at the moment and Ill find the next 300km in the rain some what difficult.
I’ll post my race schedule in the coming weeks.
Posted in NewsOctober 2, 2012Comments Off
Yes its true. Very excited about the call I received last week from Bjarne saying that he would like to offer me a new contract for 2013 season.
Its been a great year and I’ve learnt a lot. To have started and completed the Tour de France in my first year in a world Tour team would be the highlight of the season. I never imagined that I would have the opportunity to even get a start, so its very special to me and Ill always look back on it and say that I did it. Very cool!
So whats happening now.
Today I’m in Belgium racing Binche-Tournai-Binche and then Paris Tours on Sunday. Both are one day races and should suit me. After this Ill be heading to Japan for Japan Cup and then staying in Australia for the summer. The team has a training camp in the Canary Islands throughout November which will be interesting. I’m actually thinking of joining the Australian army just in preparation of what Bjarne may have install for us.
A little bit of down time in Australia and then pre season starts early this year because I want to have a strong start to the season in the National championships and Tour Down Under.
The season isn’t over yet but I would like to thank you all for your support throughout the year.
More good times ahead.
Posted in NewsAugust 12, 2012Comments Off
Thanks Alex for a good article.
Posted in NewsAugust 9, 2012Comments Off
Paris-Correze, France 1-2/08/2012
Vattenfall Classics, Germany 19/08/2012
Tour of Denmark, Denmark 22-26/08/2012
World Ports Classic, Netherlands 31-01/09/2012
Paris- Bruxelles, Belgium 08/09/2012
GP de Fourmies, France 09/09/2012
Grand Prix de Wallonie, Belgium 12/09/2012
Grand Prix d’Isbergues – Pas de Calais, France 16/09/2012
I have tried very hard to get a more regular update out about the tour but seriously I have been to rooted to get my brain to turn the computer on let alone write anything. I have a 5 hour transfer now so its a perfect opportunity.
Well you guess it, I made it. I have had so many ups and downs throughout this tour. One day your placing inside the top ten of the best in the world, then the next day your lying in a gutter with your body smashed to pieces. As it stands now my tibia bone may have a small fracture on it, but I haven’t wanted to go for a x-ray because it wouldn’t be good for the head. It actually hurts more to walk on it than to ride thankfully.
The road to Paris has been amazing. Climbing up the Tourmalet with all the people and then descending off the other side was such an adrenaline rush and would have to be one of my favourite times on the tour so far. Its so amazing with the amount of people that come to watch the tour. I mean its the same riders, similar courses but the TDF just brings people from all over the world to watch this race.
Our team has been doing really well. Our main aim is to obviously win stages which we have been close on a few occasions. We had Michael Morkov in the mountains jersey for the first week and Chris Anker Sorensen just outside the top ten overall. So its been very successful for us so far. We still have the Champs Elysees to try for a stage win as well. My roll has been to look after JJ and place him in good position for the sprint. Its been quite a learning experience to change from the last man to the second last and trust me its been a difficult roll to adjust to because I normally don’t have to make sure there is a big enough gap for 2 people. But I’m enjoying the experience.
Somebody asked me about what a normal day consists of on tour. Well here’s a little insight and trust me its a little bit like ground hog day.
Breaky around 8-9am. We have our own chef’s on tour with their own cooking truck so the food is always good. Oats, fruit and eggs is the usual.
Bags get collected and we head out on the team bus all together to the race. Normally we are there 1.5 hours prior to start.
Prepare ourselves for the day on the bus then have a meeting with all directors and Bjarne Riis which is who usually calls the shots. Then sign on and race our asses off.
Post race we shower on the bus and head to the hotels.
As soon as we arrive at hotel we get massaged and body treatment prior to dinner. If we get dinner before 8.30pm then we are doing well.
That pretty much sums it up and as you can see there is not much time for anything else. Don’t forget that there is media and sponsorship commitments that have to get squeezed in somewhere. Oh and yeah sleep is handy as well.
Well next blog will be about what arriving on the Champs Elysees felt like, cant wait.