Wednesday evening saw round two of the Giron du Rhone series, an evening crit around the village of St.Pierre-de-Clages near Sion. The course was quite technical, winding it’s way through vineyards with several ninety degree turns, and this combined with both a fierce headwind section and an uphill drag to the village square finish line made it a challenge.
I was once again in the Populaire category, setting off behind the open race after their second lap. There was a handy looking guy from VC Vevey who would need watching, but I broke the golden rule of racing- always stay near the front. The field was only a maximum of fifteen riders so I started in leisurely fashion at the back, but before I knew it wheels had been dropped through the twisty bits and my man to mark had already blasted a twenty second lead.
The others with me were either reluctant to chase or not strong enough so I did the lions share of work, but he was long gone having hooked up with a few riders who had been dropped from the open race. This was a frustrating experience as I knew the catch would now be tough.
Undeterred I detached myself from the group and proceeded to TT my way around three quarters of the distance to finish a comfortable second but over a minute behind the winner. The upside is I do now lead the overall series in the category.
The open race looked a fair bit faster this round with the UCI CMC team showing up, as well as local pro Alex Moos who could only manage 3rd. If I can get some good training in I think I’ll do the licensed races next year! Until then, the series win has to be my goal as a populaire…