Both races were located in towns just outside Milan, and both races were flat and fast! 27th March was the 59th Coppa Caduti Buscatesi in Buscate. Although being a flat and short-ish race by Italian standards it was still fairly tough, mainly because of the speed of it! We finished the 140km race, which was laps around a large circuit, in just under 3 hours.... The average speed was about 28/29mph!
Early on in the race, I mostly just sat in the bunch happy to cruise along, I knew with the high speeds it would be tough to get away on this circuit, and with some of the bigger teams riding they would be trying to bring it down to a sprint. Coming into the last hour of the race we moved together towards the front of a bunch as a team to help to get our sprinter into a good position for the finish. Me and a couple of other guys joined in with the bigger teams; Casati and Delio Gallina, riding on the front, felt good when you look behind to see the whole bunch in a line!
|Wearing race number 1 at Buscate.|
Unfortunately just before the last lap, around 10k to go, our sprinter crashed, leaving us on the front for no reason and having used up our legs. The other teams really started to smash it on the last lap, got to have been at around 30mph easy, I tried to stay up the front the best I could, making up time on the numerous corners and roundabouts. People were staring to crack from the front and I crossed the line probably in top 25-30, bit of a shame we lost our sprinter, but nevermind!
|Team getting ready before Trofeo Larghi.|
The Sunday just gone saw me and the team race at Pregnana Milanese for the Trofeo Larghi. This course was even flatter than the one last week, my computer said there was only a 10 metre change in height over the whole circuit! There was a bit of a wind blowing, but that was pretty good as the weather here has really started to heat up, was around 25 degrees! For me, being used to England, this was pretty warm so no armwarmers needed. However some of these Italians weren't thinking the same way, spotted a few racing in armwarmers and gilets, ehhhh?!
The race started off quick like the week before so once I got going a bit, after 20minutes or so, I got myself to the front to start going in the attacks. Nothing was really sticking, but we were getting a couple of riders into each little move. Eventually a move of around 20 riders did stick, but as it came as a counter to another small move I was in, I missed it! I find this type of racing hard anyway, to choose the right breaks to go with, and when I don't really recognise who the strongest riders are, it's pretty difficult to work out which attack is going to work. The peleton did know though, and soon the pace was dropping as the large group kept gaining more and more time.
|Early on at Pregnana|
We had one rider in the group that went away, so it wasn't a complete disaster, but it's not great when you're just riding, in the bunch with the real race up the road. We still finished the race with an average speed of 28mph so good for the legs! At least the sun was out, so I had a nice chance to get cracking with my tanning for 2011.
After mostly flat races for the season start here, the hillier and more interesting ones are starting to come up in the next weeks. Along with the warm weather,I'm sure they're gonna be pretty tough, but I look forward to them and hopefully some results!