Tour of Romandie
I was a little bit scarred with memories of this race in 2017, experiencing some of the worst weather I have had to race in. I distinctly remember stage 2, racing in sleet and snow and having difficulty trying to zip up my second gabba with double gloves and still having problems with the cold. Warren Barguil was blown off his bike whilst attempting to add layers due to a gust of wind from the helicopter and had to withdraw from the race with a broken bone. I was expecting the worst, having packed every bit of cycling kit we have from 2018, but fortunately, I only needed knicks and jersey for the week.
Switzerland is an amazing country and it was a reminder of how lucky we are to get to travel to some of these places and call it our job. After the stage 3 ITT, I waited for Wilbur to finish and we descended together back down to the team bus. It was about 10kms of descending overlooking lake Léman with snow-capped mountains in the backdrop, and it was a time to sit back and enjoy where we were in the world, and why we were doing it. Unfortunately, I lost 3 minutes and 36 seconds during this 9.9km Individual time trial, despite pushing out 366 watts for over 28 minutes!! The best 30-minute effort I’ve seen was 377watts on the Green Mountain stage in Oman, so it was by no means my best effort, but it wasn’t horrible either. Bernal, Roglic, and Ritchie absolutely flew up the hill!
In fact, my first couple of days at this years Romandie were pretty ordinary. I dropped off the pace on the final climb on stage 1 early, despite many riders making it over for a large bunch sprint. I suffered a puncture on stage 2 in the final 20km’s and only just made it back into the peloton before getting dropped on the next climb.
Stage 4 however, the queen stage, was a different story and I felt like my legs were coming around. The first climb of the day was a solid 9km at 9% gradient, which required 356 watts for 30 minutes to summit in the front group. Daniel Martinez, our Columbian climber had shown to be the strongest of our team, and we wanted to try and animate the stage a bit earlier than the final climb. I was overall satisfied with my work this day, helping launch Martinez up the road on the second last climb. I was dropped on the last climb with about 6km to the finish and called it a day.
The final day was on paper a sprint day and ‘only’ had 2000m of climbing over the profile of 180km, but it was by no means an easy day, with 250TSS, and NP of 265 for over 4 hours (compared with NP of 277 for nearly 5 hours on the queen stage).
For a week with 1 prologue, 4 road stages, and an ITT, I still clocked up 1250TSS for the week. It was a solid week of racing, but again, I wasn’t quite at the level I needed to be. Maybe there was residual fatigue coming back down from altitude and the crash on the final stage of Pais Vasco (which my right hip is still healing from). I am now back in Girona and have enjoyed a lighter week on the bike. It has only been 6 hours of time in the saddle, but also a little bit of walking, pilates, and sauna. I also had lunch in BCN with an old high school mate from Melbourne, and now feel ready and rejuvenated to get into better shape for the upcoming race, which at this stage seems to be Tour of Fjords in Norway which is a couple of weeks away.
Temps de Flor (A famous flower festival in Girona) is starting soon which I’ll be able to experience, however, there’s usually a massive influx of tourists and things get a bit crowded. I also have a little bit of time to try and get my sourdough culture back up and running. It died in my fridge after being away for about a month, so I’ve had to resort to buying bread again. There always seems to be something going on in town!
If you’d like to hear anything about the altitude training camp from Tenerife, send me a message or leave a comment and if there’s enough interest, I’ll put together a few words. It was a pretty cool place to train, and seems to be the popular destination for early season altitude camps, with Team Sky, Bahrain, Astana, Bora and UAE all up there. Froome was just leaving as we arrived. I heard he had done 20 days, went down for a race, and then came back for another 18 days before racing Tour of the Alpes in preparation for the upcoming Giro.
That’s 38 days living on top of the Volcano!
As always thanks for reading,