Giro Del Mon 2018 (Support Race 3/4) Race Report
Stage 1: The Road Race
Stage 1 was an undulating road race through the lanes around the quiet village of Minsterley. No real hills to contest so a fast pace was set from the gun. What preceded was a plethora of attacks here, there and everywhere. One rider managed to get a decent gap but with the help of Captain Pull a Turn (AKA me) he was soon brought back and all was set of a fast bunch sprint. on the final lap things got very twitchy and with 5km to go a rider cut me up, catching my wheel and forcing me to take action, lucky I managed to stay up right however it escalated behind me and unfortunately several riders came down in a crash.
Some very stern words were then directed at the instigator. So in the final run, with the rain pouring down, a sprint was initiated. All was to play for and I felt well positioned going into the last corner but the due to the conditions the lead rider ,set to win the stage, slipped on the greasy tarmac, ending his race and bring down a few others with him in dramatic fashion. Again, lucky I took the inside line in the corner and dodged this rather unfortunate incident and rolled across the line in 2nd place. So ending Day 1 and I sat in 2nd place overall and 2nd in the U23 classification.
Stage 2: The ITT
Sunday begin bright and early with a thunderstorm waking me up from my sleep. Upon checking the forecast it was plain to see the bad weather was going to stick around for a while. The individual time trial of stage 2 was a single lap of the perimeter road around the RAF Shawbury airfield, a fast and pan flat 5km course. This would have been relatively easy but oh no! The heavens has something to say about that. It chucked it down and I mean it absolutely lashed it down!
All morning! Which make stage 2 very interesting indeed: warming up on the turbo with my pac-a-mac on, waiting to start in the rain and then riding the water logged airfield in a torrential downpour! It was stressful, intense and grim but ultimately a hell of a lot of fun! In the end I set a time of 7:14 which was good enough for 11th place on the stage and 4th place in the GC standings. Everyone’s times were incredibly close so this setup an interesting final stage with everything to play for!
In the time between stages the storm passed, the tarmac had more or less dried and the wind had dropped. Annoyingly my skinsuit had not dried and due to a mix up with the results I was no longer in the white jersey so had to rush back to the car and change into my rather damp skinsuit, not pleasant but at least I could reep the aero benefits and hide in the bunch as an unmarked man, result!
I honestly wouldn’t be in this position without the Frodsham Wheelers
Stage 3: The Kermesse
The final stage of this incredibly race was a 40km, 4 lap kermesse around the airfield which included both stretched of runway! A fast, open and windy course it was. So with my soggy skinsuit on we began what was to be a very fast and aggressive race! My legs were not in it in the first half and I hid inside the bunch for most of the race. Not many tried to break off and it seemed the yellow jersey and the rest of the peloton were keen to keep it together for a bunch sprint. But as some of you may know it only takes a couple of motivated individuals to make a break stick and that’s exactly what happened. With less than 2 laps to go. Still hiding and biding my time I suddenly realised both of the riders up the road were in contention for the GC! It was clear I had to make a move now and risk everything or I would end up in the sprint for 3rd which wouldn’t give me enough bonus seconds to take the GC lead.
And so on the final lap, after dodging another brutal crash, exiting the corner onto the first stretch of runway. I wound up my speed from the pack and launch off the front in an attempt to bridge across to the break! After hammering it down both sides of the runway I made it! It was then a case of taking turns and mashing it all the way home. To my surprise we stayed away and held the gap going into the final straight. So with 300m to go I lead out the sprint. surging up to speed and stamping on the pedals I held off my breakaway companions and hurtled across the line in 1st place!
In the end we had a gap of only 8 seconds but with the 15 bonus seconds I picked up it meant I had won not only the stage but the GC by 6 seconds and took home the young riders jersey to boot!
Going into this race I had every intention to win but I never thought I’d be able to pull off. Getting second in the road race felt like blind luck and I was up to my eyeballs with nerves on Sunday morning and my attack on the final stage was a last ditch attempted that seemed impossible. I still can’t believe I pulled it off but at the end of the day I know I given it everything I had and it payed off!
I honestly wouldn’t be in this position without the Frodsham Wheelers. Pushing myself the the limit on the Wizard, racing each other up climbs and riding further and further on Sunday A-rides is what got me here. I am proud to Race in those colours! This win is for you! Thank you.
Sammy boy Sam the Man Young Sam Marshall.