Pearl Izumi Tour Series | Le Col Cycling
Round 1 of the Tour series with ONE Pro Cycling was always going to throw some challenges at the teams for a number of reasons. For a start, round 1 is always a bit of feeling your way in the dark in terms of how the other teams are going, who they select and what the course is like.
Then you have a set of regulation changes that always changes things in how the race plays out and what the regulation implications are once you get into the thick of it. When you add the fact this venue is a brand new one who no one has ridden before then it's a whole set of unknowns that have to be calculated and processed as you go along to make the right decisions when it matters.
As it turns out the course was harder then most people thought. The climb up Union St which we did 37 times was a 30sec max effort followed by a short wet decent and then finish straight to turn right back up the climb and repeat! Thankfully we recc'ed the course last week and knew what to expect and it was every bit as hard as we thought.
Key regulation changes were these from past tour series. Instead of 3 counting riders towards the teams overall position it was 5. Which meant any mistakes, crashes, mechanicals would be hard to overcome for the team position on the night. The second significant change is counting on time not position. This means if you want to make the most of the team performance you have to ride in a way that considers all your team and their ability and position on the night.
But to really make sure there was no way to control everything we also had a 2 lap Team Time Trial first and the team had to stay the same for both events and it rained all evening so the roads were slippery and wet all the way round. This meant the winning team for both rounds needed a combination of strength speed and technical bike handling ability including communication and a smooth delivery of power.
After a serious warm up for the TTT we posted the fastest time over the two laps after half the teams had gone. Then there was a 40min wait for the rest of the teams to post their times. It was a nervous time. This series means a lot to us and it was always going to be close with so many strong teams. Finally we got the message that no one had gone faster and we had won the round.
For the crit later in the evening we knew we would be strong as a team on such a tough course but with no room for errors of any kind it was always going to be a bit nerve racking. The pace was super fast from lap 1 and it was on! Personally I went through a bit of a bad patch after 20mins where for a lap or two I thought I might lose contact with the front group.
Luckily I managed to collect myself and get back into the main group. The attacks we're going hard and fast then after about 40mins we got the signal that we were the only team with 5 riders still left in the main group which meant if we stayed that way we would win the round on count back across all 5 riders. This gave us all a big lift to finish off what would be a perfect start to the Tour Series round 1 for One Pro Cycling. Madison Genesis we're going well and really put on a good show with first Tom Stuart and then Tom Scully going clear eventually taking the individual win but with all 5 riders finishing inside the top 16 we One Pro Cycling came away with the team victory on the night. It was a huge sense of relief and everyone involved with the team could enjoy a significant two victories. It is a long series and there is a lot to do but we could not have made a better start.
I would just like to thank everyone who made the effort to come and watch on the night, there were huge crowds and the atmosphere was great to race in. Thank you as well to the whole team of support staff in the team who work long long hours to make sure we don't need to worry about anything at all apart from riding out bikes. This is when it counts.
The race is on ITV4 tonight at 8pm and you can check out all the action there.
Thanks and hopefully see you at one of the rounds.