Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Tour de San Luis – Update


A quick update from Argentina, and it’s a tale of bad luck and hard-going.

Stage 2

At last, we got the warm weather we were promised and despite being bruised and battered from the previous day I felt much better.

My job was to expend the least possible, this is harder than it looks.

There is a constant fight for position in the peloton and the bigger teams don’t like mingling with the minnows. So it’s a constant fight.

Added to this, the amateurs on the national teams are constantly sticking their bars where they aren’t wanted.

I’ve got my eye in though and feel much more constant.

Today passing the same motorway as we past yesterday it became evident why there were so many crashes -it was in a bad state of repair; not so noticeable in a car, but lethal on our 23mm of rubber!

I can even say I enjoyed it when the race hit the hills and bends.

Tour de San Luis
The crowds here are amazing.

Stage 3

Today we were sent on the attack, and this is what I did.

I left the bunch 20m after the start was given and got caught at the top of a first cat climb by another group.

The team boss was annoyed I didn’t win the mountains jersey. He was saying how I am not a climber, that I should defend, not pull the whole way etc and he’s right, I’m not a climber as such. But that wasn’t the problem.

It just happens that today I wasn’t either the smartest or the strongest… It happens.

After my appalling string of bad luck I think I did well to perform at that level. I don’t like people telling me what I can and cannot do.

It wasn’t all bad. On the descent in the lead group I avoided a disaster by detecting an equipment failure and swapping out the wheel. It was certainly worth loosing a few spots and having to sprint back on…

At the end of the race I was feeling good, but a puncture, just at a point where we turned right meant I had to wait ages for the team car to arrive (it was stuck three groups back).

In fact it took so long for it to arrive I took a wheel from the neutral support. This wheel I took was an 8-speed with a loose cassette, so that when the team car did eventually arrive I had to change it again.

Anyway, from the outside it might seem I’m going badly, but it’s just bad luck… never mind.

Tomorrow is the time trial, but I am not even thinking about that. We’re using the ordinary bikes, so I’ll have that handicap to contend with. I just have to do my best.

Tour de San Luis
The wild landscape in the race. photo:©Bettini.

Stage 4

Tour de San Luis
Levi is definitely in good condition.

I finally had a good talk with the boss regarding my not winning the mountains jersey the previous day.

He was in fact spot on. I am not a climber, I do not attack well on climbs, I do defend well on climbs.

Communication is so important.

Today was the TT.

My TT set up was my road bike and road kit – right down to the helmet and:  lack of overshoes.

My warm up was a few sprints due to the lack of a turbo trainer. My ambition was to finish within the control time and I did this quite comfortably.

The leaders in this race are on another level. Leipheimer’s time was absolutely brilliant. Miles ahead of the rest. I’m very impressed by the south American riders also.

On the results sheets and other stuff they’ve changed my nationality to PRT rather than GBR – and I was German on the first day!

Tour de San Luis