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Today was one of those days in bike racing where you think to yourself “why do I do this again?”. I know that’s not overly motivating to hear, but it’s part of my love-hate relationship with the sport. I’m sure many of you know what I’m talking about.
The first stage started off with a 30 lap criterium around a nice quick course. Unfortunately the hour that it took to complete the criterium also was the same hour that the Australia’s drought officially came to an end. It was good that everyone rode safely but there were a couple crashes. One of those crashes included Chris Jongewaard and I’m sorry to hear that he broke his elbow in the fall. An unlucky start to his first comeback to the National Road Series.
The race stayed together for the first half but riders started pulling out for no apparent reason. When the rain got too heavy and crashes became more imminent I decided to pull the pin as well since I was keen to start the road race in the afternoon. Soft…
Rhys Pollock (Drapac-Porsche), Rohan Dennis (Jayco-Skins), and Blair Windsor (Budget Forklifts) held onto a 30 second gap for the last quarter of the race. No surprise to see Rohan win the sprint with ease (this kid is a gun rider!) . He came through with his arms up 20m before the finish line. Pollock managed to get enough sprint bonuses to take yellow.
Full Tour of Geelong Stage 1 results here.
The rain subsided by 2pm and I was keen to mix it up in the crosswinds on the narrow back roads. To make a short story even shorter, I barely made it past the start banner before someone got their front wheel caught in my derailleur and ripped the hanger right off. Race over. Gutted. On the positive side, I didn’t ride my Lightweights which would have been written-off. Why can’t the derailleur hanger be standardized? You’re debilitated without it and you can’t go to any LBS to buy one. A good reason to have a LBS that takes care of you.
Fortunately I caught a ride with Eamon, photographer from ProCycleImages (check out more of his Tour of Geelong photos here) and we drove to the finish. From what I hear the whole race was strung out in the gutter with strong crosswinds on these choppy old roads.
The race blew to pieces up the final climb. Patrick Shaw soloed comfortably through the hilltop finish a few seconds before Smith and Pollock. Hats off to Pollock for riding that final climb so well with those little blokes. He managed to keep the yellow jersey with that sensational ride. I reckon he’ll take the overall win if he makes it through the ITT on Friday.
Note to Alex from RIDE (and anyone else who feels like they’re missing out): The only thing you’re missing is a lot of suffering in the cold wet weather here! Tomorrow it gets worse…
Full Tour of Geelong Stage 2 results here.