At the very last moment I received a phone call from my team that I was supposed to ride Ronde van Groningen to replace Wouter Moll who had signed a pro contract at the very last moment and wasn't allowed to take the start in this race any more. This meant I could only get a few hours of sleep to get everything prepared to be able to at least take the start, while I had been doing too much training in the past couple of days to reach peak fitness on race day. Yet I was motivated to make the most of it.
Already very early in the race I got a rear puncture. Because our team car was very far behind, I was helped by the neutral service car. Although the wheel change was not very fast, I managed to stay calm and could chase back without too much difficulty because the pace in the peloton was very slow. The biggest problem I had after my wheel change was the extremely low grip. Even though I took every corner very slowly, my rear wheel kept breaking away like I was riding on ice and every time I tried to accelerate my rear wheel kept slipping but I didn't produce any speed. Still I managed to stay with the peloton for a very long time and even managed to get fresh bottles for the team, but when there was a crash on a roundabout 60 km at 60 km to go I managed to jump over a traffic island to avoid the crash, but had to close a big gap in a section with a lot of corners, with the slippary rear tire. Eventually I managed to get back to the peloton, but right when I got there, there was another big crash with 4 of my tream mates involved, including our top sprinter Jeroen Kaldenbach. I managed to jump over another traffic island to avoid the crash again, but again I lost connection to the peloton. I was in the group with Jeroen, and he asked me to bring him back so I gave it all I had. I came really close to the peloton just before a section of corners. I decided to let Jeroen pass so he could get back into the peloton by the end of the section of corners, while I lost a lot of terrain there again and never made it back. In stead I rode to the finish, mainly on my own, to finish 5 minutes down. As my main goal for the day was not to crash, and the other goals were to finish the race and help the team, I think I can be happy with what I have done in this race.
Geplaatst door Tom Gakes