Lake Geneva is pretty big, in fact even following a fairly direct route around it the distance is some 180km, taking in the scenic lakeside towns of the Swiss riviera; the magnificent Laveaux vineyards; the French towns of Evian and Thonon and Geneva itself.
Today saw the 8th running of the Cycletour du Leman with over 1500 riders signed up for the full 180km route. I did this event last year in miserable conditions and missed being in a fast group, doing the lions share of the work on my own at the front of a weak bunch.
Thankfully this morning was beautiful with the sun rising in the rear-view mirror on the drive to Lausanne and I arrived in good time to make the first ‘wave’ of riders whom I expected to be fastest.
Sadly, on departing Lausanne it became apparent others in my group were not as strong as I had expected and we were caught in Montreux by the second group who included several local racers I recognised as well as a large English speaking contingent of triathletes, one of whom was wearing an old-school Sigma Sport jersey.
This new group was much faster and we averaged over 40kph through France before turning back for the finish at the western end of the lake. The Sigma jersey was strong, as were a few others, but we struggled to split the group of wheel-suckers behind. In the last 50km I made several attempts to instigate breaks away from the large group of twenty or so remaining. After two ten minute solo breaks I realised Mr. Sigma and others were content to reel me in each time. A couple of guys did stealthily slip away and I rolled in with a much depleted bunch of six guys.
The results reveal my time was around 16th, and I was cursing myself for not knowing that the second group usually contains the stronger guys- had I started with them it would have been around 6th place. Never mind, this was not really a race; more a chance to get a long fast ride in which was one of the reasons I was happy to keep launching attacks in the last hour.
At the finish we had a chat and I discovered that Mr. Sigma was none other than triathlete Andrew Johns (AJ) who lives in Leysin which I learned was the place to be for triathletes with fifteen or so of the worlds best living there. He was sponsored by Sigma Sport for twelve years in his prime.
Full results are here, my data showed a time of 4 hours 21 mins; a TSS of 325; average speed of 41kph and a normalised power of 270w. Good form building!