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.