Neil Shirley Diary Tour De Beauce Stage 2
6/12/08 - Today was a little better of a day for Jittery Joe’s. I think Philly is finally getting flushed out of our legs. The course today was similar to yesterday, 105 miles, 3 KOM climbs and a lot of 300 meter to 1 K climbs scattered throughout the course. The main difference from yesterday is the finish; Stage 1 had a very tough last few miles that split the field up significantly where as today we have flat roads for the last 10 miles into the finish.
With 10-25 mph winds expected for the day it seemed like the conditions could be harder than the course. The race started much quicker than yesterday’s leisurely early pace. There was the usual flurry of attacks until one poor sole finally got away, by himself. Tecos controlled the front but couldn’t set a very hard tempo or else the solo rider would be brought back immediately. Everyone was content with the situation for the first half of the stage but as the winds picked up Amore Vita decided to throw it in the gutter. I was with a few teammates so we put in a big effort and made it up to the front as the peloton was shredding behind. It was a good move by Amore Vita but we made a turn after 2 miles and had a head wind, which ruined the echelon. Most of the race came back together but the barrage of attacks started up again. Team Type 1 was trying hard to get one of their riders up the road but Tecos wasn’t about to let that happen.
Team Type 1 was next to throw it in the gutter in a crosswind section. I was riding good position at the front so I could enjoy the chaos behind. They had the front down to 30 guys but again, a shift in wind direction turned the crosswind into a tailwind and things rolled back together. It stayed aggressive over the final climbs of the day but nothing was getting clear, it was looking destined for a field sprint. The final 10 miles of flats roads were smoking fast, with teams setting up for the sprint it kept the speeds above 30 mph. Evan Elken was our sprinter for the week so we tried to keep him at the front and out of danger. It was a technical finish with a hard left turn with 1 K to go and then they decided to throw a R.R. Xing in for good measure. The German Sparkasse Team had control with a strong lead out train. I hit out with 1,200 meters to go and took Evan through the left turn in front of everyone but three of the Sparkasse lead out riders. I dropped him off with 500 meters to go as I was out of gas but without someone else to take him a few hundred more meters he had to hit the wind to early and ultimately finished just out of the top-10 in 11th.
The guy with the biggest legs in the peloton won today, Metlushenko of Amore Vita. He’s the same guy that won the opening round of the Triple Crown. I swear his quads are bigger than my waist! Tecos rode very well today and held onto the leaders jersey. Tomorrow will be the hardest road stage of the tour. It’s 100 miles with a leg breaking 5-mile ascent to the finish on Mt. Megantic. The GC will definitely be shaken up tomorrow.
Thanks for reading!