Stage 4: started in monsoonal conditions through road works. Water level above my socks and pot holes that you wouldn’t know about since the road was a river. 3 kilometres neutral became 10, became end of the race after many a rider protesting about what was rapidly becoming DangerMouse.
Stage 5: after what was essentially a rest day I was (as was the rest of the peleton), feeling pretty good, but I was feeling better than a lot! Except when the race went really uphill. Slightly and uphill with crosswinds suited me fine, however….
After a ‘media’ motorbike took out Jaan Kirspuu (Tour de France stage winner) during neutral (and 3 Korean pedestrians too boot!) the peleton was a little nervy. I got off to a good start feeling comfortable in the bunch all day. I got over the two climbs as best as I could then starting hitting out with 30k left to race. I was off the front, off the front off the front, when ten guys behind me moved through on my right, the peleton a couple of hundred metres behind. The team ISD Italian rider at the front of the move was in the right hand gutter with the wind coming from the left. Understandably the 8 guys behind him were screaming for him to move left. I had to swing over to the right just to get closer this group.
He gradually moved left to allow the guys behind some draft when another ‘media’ motorbike (now these things aren’t small – they’re Harley Davidsons for starters) came screaming through and collected rider number two (the Italian). I just managed to avoid the debris falling off the bike as it smashed to the ground. Race stopped. The two guys on the bike were in serious trouble, the rider not so bad.
Race starts again after half an hour of more waiting, now with no ‘media’ motorbikes and 28 kilometres left to race. Predictably a bunch sprint occurred but not without two major crashes in the peleton within the last 1 kilometre, one of which I needed to ride over someone’s chainset and wheel, whilist watching to the side of me, half a (broken) top tube sticking out at me.
Another one of those days – thank God not only I but our whole team finished in one piece!