Mayo Ireland Cont.

We arrived in Ireland to the usual weather, rain and wind.

The next day we where to ride a 65km road race, the first thing we noticed was the bad road surfaces and rolling roads, this wasnt a bad thing as we where used to both from our experiences in Belgium and at home. I was hoping this stage would really split up and I would be up the front but was in for a shock. Another shock was in store when we heard that roads wernt closed, we would be doing our first race on the proper open road, something we would have to get used too for the future.

The race ended in a bunch sprint, I had attacked lots and found myself off the fron numerous times but the bunch was very lazy and happy to only work when needed. I pretty much rolled in a 6th place, but Alan another rider on our team got 2nd to put him 2nd in the GC for the first day.

On the second day we had a split stage with a short TT in the morning and a 72km road race in the afternoon, I decided I wouldnt give it everything in the TT and would instead try to get big time on the longer RR, a decision I would end up sorely regretting. I lost seven seconds to the leader and placed 3rd on the stage, something I was happy with as I was saving myself for the afternoon. I spent a long time off the front in the road race, alone. It was hard work in the wind and rain but I got a good gap and held it, however I was placed 3rd in the Gc and it meant both teams with riders infront of me and a couple of other teams with sprinters all chased hard all day, I ended up being caught with 10km to go, In hindsight I had probably gone to early but I learnt from the mistake. The race ended in a bunch sprint and I was furious with myself for not making something work.

On the monday morning we had a criterium around the small host town, I knew this was my last opportuntiy to close down the 10 seconds between me and first place or atleast jump into second on the general classement ahead of the irish national team leader who was on the same time. Yet again I spent alot of time off the front, is three seperate attacks but yet again it did not work. We worked really well as a team and deffinetly showed our ability to ride crits. I sprinted early and placed second securing a 2 second time bonus and with that 2nd place in the Gc. The eastern region team also placed first in the team classification ahead of the irish national team and after spending so much time away the day before I had come 3rd in the King of the hills prize. Not a bad weekends work, the whole team had come away with something and our manager Alan Rosner was very pleased.

Most importantly I learnt just because its a tour dont keep thinking you will have another opportuntiy to do something! A good lesson before my 5 day 'ronde' of west flanders.