Tour of Canberra…Stage 2 & 3
The first real stage of the Tour of Canberra was held on Saturday morning, sending riders on two laps of a 54.5km loop for a total of 109.0km. This is what was described in the race manual but in reality the race was 115.0km. A small addition which would not be noticed. Saturday had an afternoon TT so the road race would start relatively early, at 9.00am. Trent briefed the team before leaving our accommodation – the Crown Plaza Canberra – and with no riders finishing high up in the criterium’s classification we were told to be aggressive from the start.
The field was advised that the start of the race was neutral until we left the criterium course and merged onto the main road. However, with no lead car immediately on hand there would be no easy start. Despite numerous attempts no breaks would be allowed to go and so the bunch descended into Uriarra almost completely intact. There was a nasty fall shortly before the descent but all riders got back on by the time we climbed back out the other side. Racing in Canberra is not run on fully closed roads and so with 115-odd riders being told to use only one lane the police and race organisers soon became frustrated with the constant overlap across the double white lines. After 15km the peloton was pulled over and we were given a serving about staying on the left side of the road. This was reminiscent of the first stage of last year’s Canberra Tour when the same happened.
Racing was allowed to get underway once again but this time the bunch was happy to warm into things, cruising along at 25km/h for a couple of minutes. I know from experience that a restart can prove perfect for those wanting to attack and form a breakaway. I decided this was a good chance and so put in a small acceleration and quickly took 100m on the leisurely bunch. Another five riders soon bridged across and that was it. The bunch was content with the composition as most of the main teams were represented. BikeBug had two, myself and Sam Rutherford and so at least the DS would be happy. By the time the break reached the turn around point the bunch was inside 30 seconds and so another few riders used the uphill turn around to join the front group. Another few riders and another BikeBug member in the form of Caleb Jones. Now it was time to really start riding. The tail wind back to Uriarra meant that our group spent plenty of time rolling at 50km/h-plus and had a significant gap by the time we crested the Three Sisters climb. Unfortunately not all of the breakaway members were willing to contribute and so our gap decreased under the impetus of a chancing split from the peloton. Approximately 20 riders joined the break by the start of the second lap and the remaining 80-odd bunch would only loose time from here until the finish. At the finish Sam got up for third place and also took the KOM jersey. Back at the hotel that night we were surprised by his KOM points as it seemed he picked them up at places which were not actually marked. One of the spots on the course should have been a KOM location because of the sign but apparently it did not award any. Either way he would be wearing the jersey at the start of Sunday’s race.
Results from Stage 2 here
I recently signed up for Strava and it seems pretty good. I like the way it recognises climbs and then rates your performance based on the time it takes you to complete it. Has anyone else got a faster time to rival these?
There was an afternoon TT of 20km which took riders out of Stromlo and toward Uriara. We then did a u-turn and finished back at the criterium circuit. Most of us rode standard Argon18 Gallium’s with clip-on bars. Some of us rode some decent times considering the effort of the morning but those who were in the main peloton and wanted to ride it all out, ended up putting significant time into most of the team. Sam Rutherford was the quickest from BikeBug.com with the remaining team members doing their best to either limit the losses or simply cruise through and save the legs for Sunday.
Find the TT results here
GC following Saturday’s racing
When the TT was finished we returned to our Presidential suite at the Crown Plaza Canberra for some much needed fuel, massages, dinner and then sleep. Sunday would be another testing day.
Alex Malone is the Technical Editor at RIDE Cycling Review. Follow him on Twitter @alexjmalone.
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