'10km to go. A string of three up the right
hand side of the road. Half the team. Small but compact. Small, but hopefully
Tight corner to the right. Dare not brake too
early, dare not lose position. Accelerate as slow as I can out, saving the legs
behind. Mind behind. Constantly assessing.
Australians lined up infront. Snatch a look
down, 55km/h. Not a time to touch wheels. Look up. Roundabout looms. Man with
flag and whistle going at it. The flapping means we can take both sides. We
stay in the right hand gutter, surfing the wheels. Waiting. Biding. Adrenaline
Exit the roundabout, wind buffers from the
right. A gap opens, the bunch scuttling for shelter. Squeezing left. Clear air
and an opportunity to hit the front, but we wait. Patience. Check over my
shoulder. Still there. I drift right slightly, creating a gap for my teammates.
Saving their legs. Their fast legs. We hope. I hope.
Elbow comes at my hip. I keep my wheel just
outside the one infront. An escape route if needed. A few riders up there is a
swerve. Grab a load of brake. Only for a second, if that, but speed is lost.
The other side of the bunch flies past. I stamp on the pedals. Pull on the
bars. Momentarily frantic. I look down through my frame, red shoes behind.
Good. We lose a few wheels, but remain together. Strength in unity.
I accelerate full bore now. My hands tight on
the drops. It’s a narrow lane and I push up the right. A mixture of shoves and
shouts to get my way. To get the gaps three wide. One chops me, briefly his
rear mech in my wheel. I lose my shit. It’s clearly no accident. The adrenaline
seriously flowing now. Brain is gone out the window, i’m up for this.
Huge chute. Corner misjudged right at the
front. Somehow slide up the inside, losing a little momentum but no skin. Some
not so lucky.
Look behind. Gaps everywhere. Attacks start
flying. Head down to try and help Dan a little more. The main job is done but I
want more. Getting the positioning for the last kilometer was key. I lack the
power beyond that.
Another corner, no crash but oof its sketchy.
Everyone fancies a go in this messy chaos. More attacks. I’m too far back to
help now. Or can I slip up the inside of this corner? I push, door shuts.
Almost lose my wheel on the curb.
Mind flicks to the GC later in the week. A few
hard stamps on the pedals to keep in the wheels. 500, 400, 300. Look up. Sit
upright. Oh shit that’s Dan’s hands in the air?! Ha. Release. Elation. Clarity
through the chaos.'
- British cyclist Tao Geoghegan Hart takes us into the mind of a
racer during the final kilometres of a stage.
[Piece written for the Rapha's Doppio newsletter - http://pages.rapha.cc/racing-2/doppio-tour-week-one]