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20 March 2009

Firstly my apologies for not updating my site. I left my PC in Italy and therefore I wasnít able to. I have had a good and solid March and after getting a 3rd place in the Giro and narrowly missing out at SA Champs I am glad the way the order is going, 3rd then 2nd and hopefully 1st is on its way. I had good legs at SA Champs and I am glad that even though all the odds were against me I still managed to get in the medals and I feel had the crash not happened it couldíve had a different outcome. Oh well thatís over with and I must concentrate on Europe for now and even though I wont have the jersey, I will still have the same motivation.

I had a terrible start, I arrived in Italy today, got into my car and the car just died on the highway so I cruised at 20km/hr while everyone was going mad and carrying on. Eventually got to a garage and left the car there, but had no-one here to help so luckily our team mechanic saved the day and brought me back to my place. Then I looked in the garage and they had stolen my wind trainer and my girlfriends bicycle. So that was a great day and hopefully itís all over and the car gets fixed and whoever stole the bike and trainer gets hit by a bus!

I race on Tuesday already with a double stage on day 1, so should be interesting especially since there is another team TT. I am feeling good and motivated and want to do something special in the races coming up. I am starting Tour of Flanders again which is going to be awesome!!!!!! The racing has finally started in a big way and I am basically flat out in April with only a few rest days, but I have had enough of those and now its crucial to get some big results!

18 Feb 2009

Things have been good since tour of Med as I have relaxed and settled down in my new apartment in Como. The weather has been cold, but luckily the sun is out to try get rid of some of the snow left on the mountains, once the snow is gone things will warm up. Today I did a good spin of 160kmís around the lake with some climbs near the end. I think itís probably the last time I go up high into the mountains as I froze on the way down.

After 4hrs of riding I had a small bite to eat and then hit the road for the last 1hr. I also think leaving at 11am is probably too late when you doing a big spin and the sun starts to set around 5:30 and once the sun is hidden by the mountains that surround the lake, the temperature starts to drop quickly.

Luckily I have been able to sort out a car for this year with loads of help from Brent Copeland and it makes such a difference especially when you need to do the shopping. Things are getting better and better and Iím really focused on my training and enjoying life here.

I canít wait for Giro del Capo, weíve got a fierce team coming this year!!!!

14 Feb 2009

Tour of Med: Everything looks good for the team and I at the moment. The first day Rob ended up 3rd in the gallop, we narrowly missed winning the Team TT by 5sec claiming 3rd spot but we had some bad luck at the start which lost us around 10 seconds, then stage 3 Robís seat broke and he led me out for the sprint which was great and I unfortunately didnít deliver the result but having Rob ride on the front for me was great and always shows what a true professional he is by giving it everything everyday.

Yesterday was something really special as Rob got away with 14 others along with Felix and they stayed away from the chasing peloton by 4min, in gusting winds and over undulating roads. Rob won the sprint at the end and got the team and his own first win of 2009. I was riding in the group behind and let me tell you it wasn't easy even on the wheel so to ride away like that was impressive and I think you can expect loads of things from Team Barloworld this year.

In the final today, Gerraint and I led the final kilometre out for Rob where I pulled off 200m to go but FDJ Bulgarian got a slight gap taking it early and Rob narrowly missed out by 5cm. It was a photo finish and had the line been a bit longer it wouldíve been our victoryÖ.†

The main problem was that there were only 2 of us for the final 1.5km and 200m to go the speed wasnít high enough and thatís how come the Bulgarian got the jump on us. It was a hard day out on the road and everyone was trying to get into the break. Only after 60km did the guys call it a day and Froomy rode well to get into the break of about 6 guys. They never got more than 1min 35sec and we caught him up the last climb 10km to go. It was cold out on the bike again and it even started snowing after about 70km, luckily not for too long. It was great racing back on the roads I used to train on when I raced in France in 2005 and it brought back some fond memories, I even got to see some of my old team mates at the start which was great! I canít say my French is as good as it was back then but it was a good laugh.

After the breakaway yesterday things don't look to promising for us on winning GC but many things can change and we could see a few surprises coming! Watch Froomy and Soler on Mont Faron tomorrow, I think Soler can really win it and Felix could podium finish on GC.

8 Feb 2009

GP Costa Etruschi UC 1.1: I had a great race yesterday and I am completely happy with my condition and with my performance and I feel like I have some good power. The race consisted of 2 climbs mid way through the race and ISD (A new team) put the hammer down getting rid of 60 guys which was perfect for us and most of our guys were in the front. I felt great on the climbs and even when there was a lot of win I could handle it in the gutters.

It was a hectic sprint at the end, especially on narrow roads and being the first race of the season , everybody is psyched to get the season off with a bang, although some didn't know their bang would be on the tarmac. Guys taking stupid risks, Rob and I just waited for 2km to go and we snuck onto Petachiís train. Rob was in front of me and when it came to 300m to go I went passed LPRís train with Rob on my wheel and pulled off the front 150m to go. I have may gone a bit early especially because of the head wind but rather try something than get boxed in with no where to go. Anyway he ran 3rd and its great to open the season off with a podium.

Now its time for Tour of Med on Wednesday where the Team TT will be crucial!†

6 Feb 2009

Team Training Camp: Well firstly as most of you all know our training got disrupted on Thursday morning as we found out someone had stolen our team bikes in the evening. 21 bikes were stolen in total and it caused a lot of problems for everyone. They have already managed to equip us with new Bianchiís already and we are all set for Saturday (tomorrow).

Weíve been doing lots of through and off sessions during our camp and even though the weather has not been favourable we have managed to do rides ranging between 160km to 190km. I didnít have great legs the first 2 days from the all the travelling but Iíve got into things nicely and tomorrow will be my first real test for the upcoming season. Team Barloworld is very optimistic about the season and even more so about starting the Giro díItalia in May.

Hold thumbs for tomorrow for the team and hopefully we come home with the flowers. Will let you know how things go as soon as possible. The reception here is terrible.

Season 2009 has started!†

1 Feb 2009

Berge en Dale: 2nd place. I decided to go to the race as part of my preparation for this season and basically to test myself especially as I wasnít happy with last weeks performance. I broke away alone from the gun only the get caught 35km into the race were I immediately got myself into a few smaller moves until I attacked again and took Jacques and Reinhardt with me. I didnít have the best of legs but I was really happy with my performance and after all the attacking I did. It was good training and good to bleed a bit before Europe. My average heart rate was 172 BPM and my max was 199BPM so it was like a crono all day for me. In the final I didnít really have the legs to sprint and Reinhardt won it, giving Toyota their first win, congrats to them.

My visa is sorted out and Iím off to Belgium tonight and then Iíll have to catch a smaller flight to Italy where I will join the team. Luckily the Belgians are a lot more accommodating than the Italians and if it wasnít for my girlfriend Alexandra running around for me Iíd still be stuck in SA, she had done all the phoning and organising of my visa.

Well now itís time to race and Iíll be doing GP Costa Etrushchi on 7 Feb.