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The Break Stays Away – Red Kite Criterium #9

By Dana Williams | In Race Reports | on July 15, 2015

Race report by Coach Dana Williams

CATEGORY
35+123

DATE
Sunday, July 13, 2015

COURSE DESCRIPTION
Pancake flat square shake, with turn one being a bend as opposed to a 90 degree, like turn 2, 3 & 4. Clockwise direction. Wind from the right between turn 1 & 2, headwind between turn 2 & 3, from the left between 3 & 4 and tail wind on the start/finish straight (turn 4 & 1)

TEAMMATES
Oli R, Dave A, Steve P, John F, Jeff E, Scott B

GOALS
Get dropped and pulled from the race. Not….WIN!

PLAN
Oli, Dave, Jeff E and Scott B mark early moves. Be represented in any dangerous breaks. From my limited amount of racing this year and not knowing all the major players, those who I knew and considered strong riders were Stanko, Cottel and some from Chronos. The other strongest riders in the race were my teammates….score! If it came down to a field sprint then we would leadout Steve P for the win.

RACE SUMMARY
We were on it from the gun. Dave, Oli, Scott B, Jeff and John were marking moves, and then countering. I need to stress that this work from these guys does not go unnoticed. ..thank you, thank you. I can only speak for myself, but the first 15-20mins felt very smooth and easy, so much so that I found myself thinking ‘I need to put in a little bit of work here to get my HR up and some blood pumping because I know this race is going to heat up soon with the likes of Stanko, Cottel, etc’. So at about 20mins in, I heard the bell ring for a prime lap and  decided I’d put in a strong acceleration between turn 3 & 4 and go for it. I was able to get a decent size gap, roll over the line and then look back and see if anybody was trying to bridge up. As I expected, Patrick ‘the Pain Train’ Stanko was bridging up with another rider. We got together and rolled it. Soon the group grew to around 15 riders, with about 8-10 of them sitting on. It wasn’t long before the field brought us back and it was gruppo compacto.

Next I recall looking at my Garmin and seeing we had raced about 35mins. I wasn’t sure if we were racing 45 or 50mins. No lap cards were out as we rolled over the start-finish line so I assumed it was 50mins. This was the time when guys legs were softened up and chances of a break were much higher than the earlier in the race. Not long after this, it may have even been that same lap, Robert Pasco of Airgas Safeway (Masters team?) put in a move and Stanko and another followed. I was right there and knew we needed representation so I went with them. It wasn’t a devastating move, but I guess enough to get some distance, yet at the same time not cause alarm bells to go off in the field. I’m not sure exactly how it unfolded but next thing I know I’m in a break with Stanko and Fontana (Zoca). Hmmmmm, do I continue to drive it, or tempo it, knowing that if the field brought us back we’d have strong teammates ready to counter or do our leadout. Stanko was putting in some good work, Fontana didn’t seem to keen to work hard or he was at his limit, so I decided I’d work to keep it rolling. And that’s what we ended up doing. Stanko and I continued to take some solid pulls, with Fontana doing an occasional pull but sitting on most of the time. Nothing against him though, he was playing his tactics, whether on the limit or not. It crossed my mind to try to let Stanko get up the road and then try to drop Fontana, but I had confidence in my finish so I decided that would be wasted energy.

With three laps to go, I had a pretty good feeling the field wasn’t going to catch us. On the second last lap, Stanko pulled from turn one to three, through the cross wind and the head wind section.. Fontana then lead in the cross wind between turn three of four, slowly drifting all the way left and pedaling softer and softer as we approached the final turn. Finally, I gave in and pulled through. Not wanting to slow too much and knowing the field was still coming strong from behind, I picked up the pace over the finish line as the bell rang for the last lap. I thought that if I put in a solid effort through the cross wind all the way to turn two, with Stanko on my wheel, that he’d want to keep the momentum going and pull through. I turned into the head wind, flicked my elbow and moved over, but Stanko and Fontana were happy to sit back there. Smart move on there part. Here we go, a game of cat & mouse for the last half lap. I lead it through turn three and went straight to the right curb, protecting the inside line, which was also where the draft was from the wind from the left. I now felt like I was in a track race, constantly starring over my left shoulder, making sure I caught any hard acceleration. Nothing was happening, except Stanko had opened up a bit of a gap so I knew he wanted get the jump on me. I’d say we had 100 m to the final turn when I decided it was go time. I jumped out of my saddle and sprinted hard. Stanko came up on my left side. It was a drag race to the last corner. Thankfully I had the inside line and went through the final turn and sprinted to the line, holding them off and getting the win.

 

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