What a whirlwind weekend this was!:
Leave Chch: 2:10pm Friday (turned out to be 3:10pm by the time we got off the ground) with other Subway team mates Hayden Godfrey and Jason Allen, via Auckland to refill (because of lack of certainty over av-gas supply to the airport after Evan’s Pass road closure (means the hazardous substances trucks go through the (closed to everything else) tunnel one at a time, and Port petrol tank uncertainty).
Arrive Singapore hotel room bed: 11:15pm (4:15am Saturday NZ time)! Fourth team mate Nick Lovegrove and team manager Graeme Millar, both flown in from Auckland, had been there for a day and night already.
Saturday: day of race.
We’re the last to arrive, less than 24hours before race start. Not a bad thing after a good sleep, but important to stretch our legs out in the group ride leaving from the Conrad Hotel where all the participants are staying. With a ‘escort’ we made our way along some big roads/motorways, unimpeded for a fairly quick average speed over an hour 40mins.
Work (tap at my tomtuter)
This criterium is on the start/finish of the Formula 1 circuit. Cool to see all the (mostly recognisable) F1 names – Alonso, Barrechello, Hamilton, with their names above the pits. We hung out in a couple of the pits preparing for our race.
The start/finish line to the F 1 circuit, around a left hander, a right hander, a really sharp right hander, through a tunnel underneath the road we’d just come down, around the back of the F1 grandstand, chicane, two sharp left handers, start/finish straight!
In previous years the course was a big drag race to the line, i.e. a sprint fest at a phenomenal speed. This year, due to all the corners, a shit-fest, i.e. a fight to get to the front from the gun.
After a stuff-up from organisation, we only had the chance to do 3 warm up laps (1.7k a lap), and then got back to the left side (holding onto a barrier) about mid-pack. The top 24 ‘known’ riders were called forward, including Subway’s Godfrey (2008 World Ominium Champion). There were some reasonable riders including Australian 2011 National Road Champion: Jack Bobridge, Garmin Cervelo team mate Cameron Meyer (2011 Tour down under winner), Jaan Kirsupu (Tour de France stage winner), 2010 OCBC criterium winner: Australian Ben Kirsten, among others.
Knowing it was a ‘shitfest’ I jumped straight to the first 15. After going through the double hairpin at the top of the course before the start/finish line once, I realised this was too far back. Thereafter I stayed in the top 5ish, got in a break, got brought back, team mate Jason got in the next (and successful) break, I stayed towards the front and tried to slow things down.
Got to admire the Italians. The Androni Giocattoli team missed the break, put 3 (4 in a team) on the front to bring it back in the last 10minutes (the crit was for 78minutes, no more, no less – TV rules!). Didn’t quite bring it back though you see, I was waiting, 4th wheel, Hayden 3rd (Jas still in the break), for it to come back, but they were smarter than that, no point bringing all the other teams to the front of the race! So the final Italian bridged the gap, and then won! I’ll live and learn – I watched him go….
I did my job good – looking after Jas and Hayden (our sprinters), by being there at the end for them. Unfortunately, up in the break (that just survived) Jas managed 7th, and Hayden lost the front of the group. I rolled in 14th.
Cool experience though! Unfortunately only one photo – got to love big planes (A380 at Changi (Singapore’s airport).