Thursday, 5 May 2011

Braveheart Fund Blog - Tour Doonhame

During the Easter weekend, I was racing the Tour Doonhame Premier Calendar in Dumfries. It was a big goal for me and I wanted to improve on my 27th overall from last year.

At the start of the first day

The weather on day 1 was a shocker! Chucking it down and baltic... The race, though, went well as I was strong enough keep myself out of trouble, avoiding the countless splits in the bunch, punctures and crashes which marred a lot of riders. I did some recce of the stage the week before so I knew what was coming up. I won the KOM at Wanlochead which was good and I got in a lot of breaks especially early on. It was a pity though as they didn’t last long, since you need all the big teams represented or they will chase it down.
A group of eight sneaked away with 10 miles to go. I finished in the next group a minute down, sprinting in to get 15th and 2nd U23 so I was pretty happy with that.

Me winning the KOM at Wanlochead

On Day 2, since Matt Cronshaw was in yellow, Team Raleigh controlled the bunch for most of the day. I got in a move before the Dalveen pass KOM with some other guys but it was brought back quickly. After that, I decided to conserve myself and stay in the top 20 as it was unlikely anything would last to the finish.
Rapha took it up and brought the bunch to a sprint finish in Dumfries.  I finished in the first half of the bunch, with same time as the winner.
Jonny McEvoy, Winner of stage 2

The team after day 2
I was 17th on GC going into Day 3 but there were only a couple of seconds separating me from the top 10 and the U23 title. So the plan was to have a go at the 3 intermediate sprints to get some bonus seconds, as well as the fighting it out at the finish in Castle Douglas.
The guys before the start of day 3
However, for the first one, I couldn’t get myself in a high enough position to sprint it out. The teams were working hard to bring their main men to the front. The other two sprints were written off, as a group managed to get away during the middle part of the stage.
The last few miles were really hectic as every team wanted to get near the front. The top guys used their team mates to move them up so they kept their strength for the sprint to the line   I got myself as high up as I could for the last corner at about 300 metres to go and sprinted in to 11th place, same time as the winner, Jonny McEvoy.
The finish at Castle Douglas on Stage 3
I remained 2nd in the U23 but, surprisingly, I moved down on the GC to 18th on the GC, must have been from stage positioning on stage 2... My team did a good ride, especially Scott McCrossan who did really well, only losing a minute odd after puncturing in the toughest stage on day 1; it was his first premier as well!

Me after the last stage

I‘m really happy overall how it went, considering much of it was controlled by the big teams. I am really looking forward to the rest of the Premiers, as they are one day races where I think the racing will be a bit more open.

Here’s a link to a video of the race:

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