Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Moscow and Liege-La Gleize

The US Worlds Team, consisting of Gavin Mannion, Ian Boswell, Nathan Brown, Ryan Eastman, Jacob Rathe, Kendall Ryan, Coryn Rivera, Jessica Prinner, and myself, have all made it to Moscow, Russia with no problems. We arrived in Moscow on Monday after a successful race in Belgium. The race was a UCI 2.1 called Liege-La Gleize and was located in the hilly part of Belgium and tackles some of the same climbs that are used in the pro race Liege-Bastogne-Liege. It was a three day four stage race with the first day a 95 km road race, stage 2A was a 14 km TTT, stage 2B was a 90 km road race, and the last stage was the queen stage with 115 km road with seven KOM's in it. Stage one ended in a field sprint with our top finisher being Gavin in 11th. Nate got into the early move on the stage and won one of the KOM which made him tied for the lead. The team time trial the next day was one of our biggest goals of the race. He didn't really spend that much time practicing for it, but we had some of the strongest time trialists in the world and were confident going into the stage. Disaster hit about 5 km into the race when Nate was popped off the back. The remaining four of us became pretty disorganized for a little bit, but quickly found our rhythm to come into the first time check in first place. About 5 km later, Rathe blew leaving us with three riders, Boz, Gavin, and me. The three of us worked really hard for the last 4 km and lost enough time to put us into second place at the finish behind the French National Team by about 24 seconds. This put us into 6th, 7th, and 8th on GC, second in the team classification and me into the young riders jersey. Our goal for stage three was for Nate to grow his lead in the KOM classification and move up in front of some of the French in the Overall. Nate once again got into the early break and won all three KOM's which gave him a huge lead going into the last stage. With about 30 km to go Boz got into a group of about 15 that was quickly out of sight of the pack and later bridged up to the lead group. Gavin and I stayed in the pack until about 10 km to go when we jumped across a gap to a group of about 10 that was dangling off the front. I was hurting really bad at this point and it was all I could do to hold on. The stage ended with five guys getting off the front of the lead group and fighting it out for the win. Boz finished in the next group of about 20 which ended up around 1:20 down, which put him into 4th overall. I was dropped from the group that Gavin and I were in on a steep kicker about 400 meters to go and finished about 10 seconds off the back of that group meanwhile losing the white jersey to a Swiss guy. Stage four was definitely the hardest with seven categorized climbs. Our goal for the stage was for Nate to keep the KOM jersey and try and move Boz into a podium spot. We started the stage bundled up in layers of vests and jerseys to protect ourselves from the rain that was coming down in buckets. For the first portion of the race we just tried to keep safe and out of trouble on the treacherous descents. Nate got enough points in the first three KOMs to keep his jersey. With about two-thirds of the race down we started to get to the front and do some work. The yellow jersey was having a bad day and had abandoned along with the third place guy. This put Boz into 2nd place overall, so we just made sure no one got too far up the road. Despite our efforts, about 4-5 guys got off the front to never see the pack again. With about 12 km to go, I had a rear flat and thought that my day was done. When I jumped back on the bike I saw that Nate had dropped off the back to help me back up to the pack. I was having some trouble staying with him, but fought through the pain to stay on his wheel. He bridged about a minute gap to the pack to bring me back up and we finally caught back on with about a kilometer and a half to go. I was pretty much toast at this point, but barely managed to stay with the group up the final finish line hill. Boz ended up 2nd overall, Nate won the KOM, and somehow I managed to take back the white jersey. This race has given us a lot of confidence going into the World Championships later this week. The 28 km time trial is on Friday and the Road Race is on Sunday. Ben (our team director) has a twitter that he updates during our races to keep family and friends updated on how everything goes. His twitter is www.twitter.com/bensharp13

1 comment:

Graeme said...


Congratulations on Silver at the Worlds!!!! That is fantastic! I am really happy for you and your family.

Can't wait to hear the details,