Tour de Boland, RSA

Date: 08.03.2011 – 11.03.2011

Description: Road Stage Race

Stage 4
60km, 1000 meter of climbing, 1.45hrs racing time
4th place, 4th gc

I am a bit lazy today, and below my personal thoughts you can read the official race report. I could not have done it any better 🙂

My heart rate: max: 172, average: 149

Today it made me realize again, why I never became a roadie, especially when you are a climber. In the downhills racers regroup, at a mtb race not! Ok on road you can be lucky with tactics and get away easy on the flat, but you need that flat racing power too.
Even todays climb was very selective with the extra gravel, it most of the time regrouped again in the following downhill and flat 10km stretch to the finish. That did definitely not favor me.
Darren Lill was the strongest on the climb, and faced the lonely suffering on the flat and made it!

Official race report:
South African champion Darren Lill of Team DCM took the final day’s racing by the horns, throwing down the gauntlet on the slopes of the Paarl Rock to outclass overnight race leader Johann Rabie (Bonitas) and Christoph Sauser (Songo), former World Mountain Bike Champion.

The route, up the steep slopes, on dirt roads on the Jan Phillips Mountain Drive, and the sharp turns in the main section of Paarl, caused immediate trouble to all but the strongest and most agile of mountain climbers. Lill put the hammer down from the very first ascent, and, between him and Sauser, attempted to drive the peleton to pieces, as soon as was humanly possible.

With each lap, the number of riders who were able to survive the continuous onslaughts became less, until, on the third lap, of the 12km circuit, the remainders were whittled down to some ten. Several attempts were made by riders such as Johan Van Zyl (CSA Academy), and Daryl Impey (MTN) to advance themselves into a cushioned lead prior to the murderous ascent. Impey managed to create a seemingly unassailable gap on the penultimate lap, but was roped in rather vigorously by the lead few, when Lill sailed away to secure the King of the Mountain classification.

Lill spent the rest of the last two laps in a solo effort to put some distance into the likes of Sauser, the fast-losing overall leader Rabie, Van NIekerk, the King of the Mountain overnight, and a flailing Christoph van Heerden, the leader on points overnight.

Stage3
125km, 1300 meter of climbing, 3.10hrs racing time
5th place, 4th gc

After 30′ the organizer had to stop the whole race… fires on pass 2!
First they wanted to change the route to a uphill finish on top of pass 1, but I really was not in the mood for that. So I suggested to ride to the next town after pass 1 and turn around the same way back to Paarl. Luckily the UCI and organizer thought this is a good idea too.

On the way back towards the pass I was day dreaming and was so far off when we hit the bottom of the climb. When I finally chased up to the front there were only Rabie, van Herdan and Lill left. I could not go with all the attacks any more, and rode my steady tempo towards the summit, which made me caught the 3 leaders again. We had so much tailwind on the last 30kms, and there was one attack after the other with a speed of 50-60km/h. Real motorpacing! Finally we were a super small group battling it out for the win, where I was second last over the line, well second last of our leading group though!

My nutrition: 1 bottle Sponser Long Energy 10% protein, half bottle water, 1 bottle coke, 1 Sponser Oat Bar, 1 gel, one goat cheese/avo sandwich

Stage 2
135km, 1400 meter of climbing, 3.25hrs racing time
around 8th place a bunch sprint, 4th general classification

I had a good day in my saddle, especially on the climbs I felt comfortable and balanced.
There was not that much of action going on, except on the passes where the field split a bit, so as on the last draging climb.

Even there are two big passes tomorrow, I think it will all come down to Friday, where we do a circuit race with a steep climb which also includes gravel. Hope this will favor us mountain bikers.
Burry will not start tomorrow, since he has to save energy for Saturday’s South African mtb championships.

My nutrition today: 1 bottle Sponser Long Engergy 10% Protein, 3 bottles of water, 2 Sponser Gels, 1 Sponser Oat Bar, 1 Avocado Cheese sandwich made by Pieter our soigneur.

Full results and race report check on official website!

Stage 1
146km, 1100 meter of climbing, 3.35hrs racing time
5th Place in a breakaway sprint out of 10

Hey this was my first long successful breakaway in a road race ever!
I can climb, I can descent but I can not sprint for breakaways, since somehow I am a too lazy rider to jump into breakaways on flat roads, and thats why I dont have many breakaway kms in my legs.

It was van Heerden, Darren Lill and myself who broke away in the descent of Bainskloof pass, and later got joint by 7 other riders after the bottom of the pass. We worked very well together and rode 2min into the remaining 110km of the chasing main bunch.

It was a very good day for us, since Burry won the king of the mountain jersey, and me raced well in the overall gc. It looks like the gc winner will be one of us 10 “breakawayers”

More information link

Some pictures fo the last day by: nickvanderleek.co.za