TEAM WIGGINS AT TRIPTYQUE DES MONTS ET CHATEAUX
We caught up with two riders from Team Wiggins, Brit Gabz Cullaigh and New Zealander James Fouche after their success at the Triptyque des Monts et Chateaux over the Easter weekend. The Belgain UCI 2.2 ranked road race has earned a place on the Europe Tour, running since 1996.
Coming into the race, we were targeting stage wins, with an eye on General Classification. We were keen on Stage One to get into the breakaway, so we had 3 guys tasked with following and ensuring we were represented in the moves. I got away with a few others, and my team mates sat up, blocking the road. The gap went out to 7 mins over the following KM's and I took all the KOM points, going into the maillot at the end of the day. Unfortunately, we were caught with 4km to go, so that was frustrating but from there on in, I was looking after Gabz.
James rode really well on Stage One, and we were pleased to have a man up the road. It took the pressure off the rest of us to not have to chase, and meant we could concentrate on the sprint finish when the breakaway came back towards the finish.
"On the following three stages, there were minimal KOM sprints, meaning I had done most the work on Stage One. On the final stage, I made sure to pick up a few more points just to ensure I would stay clear, but I had a margin of over 30 points."
I was keen to improve on my 4th place on Stage One. We set out with the sprint in mind at the end of the day. Unfortunately we missed the break, but were not too worried about them managing to hold on as there was still a fair distance to go, and the conditions were tough with crosswinds. We communicated well, and we managed to split the peloton up completely with a hard few turns in to the wind. Unfortunately these conditions didn't last for long and the guys we managed to drop came back. After a fairly dodgy lead into the finish, at 400m to go, I got a fantastic lead out by Matt Teggart. This set me up perfectly with just one guy in front- Jasper Phillipson (Hagens Berman Axeon ). He opened up with 300m to go, I kicked to draw level with 150m to go and he managed to kick again holding me off to the line. Just.
Gabz came very close to a stage win, we were able to get him into the right position into the finale. He will get plenty of wins this season, but it's still frustrating to get so close!
"The boys rode well throughout the weekend, there's a lot of mutual respect between us, and we all know what we have to do, it's a case of constantly relaying key messages throughout the guys. Teggart's lead out was absolutely vital in getting me where I needed to be on Stage Two."
James Fouche finished 7th on General Classification and won the Mountains Maillot.
Gabz Cullaigh finished 12th, with a 2nd place on Stage Two.
Words by Lawrence Carpenter for Le Col
ON THE HORIZON
U23 flanders on Saturday, ZLM TOUR 14th April, then back in England for the Rutland Cicle Classic.
U23 Tour of Flanders - for the New Zealand Team.
Weekend after U23 Leige Bastogne Leige.