Unfortunately I can’t embed the Eliminator vid so just click through Here the 1/4 final is at 53 min.
Today was the third and final round of the world cup sprint series for 2012. I had a lot of pressure to pull out a top result. The pressure came mainly from myself, as I knew that I had good power in Czech, but needed to ride a little smarter. This race in France was a totally different style to Nove mesto. The tight and fast course embraced the true spirit of the sprint Eliminator as it brought the racing to the people in the city centre of La Bresse.
During the warm up I was feeling good and after a few warm up laps and a good hit out on the wind trainer I was ready to smack the TT. I had a good start and got a little bit sketchy on the technical sections. On the stairs I was really rough and hit the bottom hard, expecting the bike to snap in half with the force I put through the frame, but the Felt SIX held strong and I ended up qualifying in 21st position. Not what I hoped for (after being fastest last week), but time gaps were so small and in the end I was just happy to make it into the knock out rounds.
In the first heat I had a good start and managed to get ‘hole shot’ and hold onto the position for the duration of the super short race. I took control of the race and rode smoothly, defending my position on the open sections and riding conservative on the technical parts. It was crazy as the French rider was in second behind me and the crowds were going crazy, I couldn’t hear anything over the defining roar of the locals at the finish. This first race got me back in the right headspace and I re-focused on getting a good run in the 1/4 final.
Time was passing fast and before I knew it we were back in the start pen about to get called up. I was the worst ranked rider so I had the last lane choice which ment I was on the inside, this could either be good or very bad. If I got a slow start I would be in the worst line for the first bottleneck corner. As soon as the gun went I put maximum power down as leading in this race was a big advantage. Coming into the first corner we were all side by side and with no real room I hit the first corner way too fast and did the classic ‘look at the wall’ then rode directly towards it! I need to go back to riding 101, because everyone knows you need to look around the corner if you want to ride through it clean. I caused some mass carnage and two riders went inside and the French rider ran into me…
I clipped back into the pedal and looked ahead to attempt to get back into the top two riders. I got onto the wheel of Patrick Luthi fairly quickly and instantly went for an overtake as I had speed on him in the straight. We were side by side coming into the uphill ramp towards the church and with such high speed we both overshot the corner. I was on the outside and had nowhere to go except into the fence! My hand and handlebar went in between the fence and twisted my bars. So the race was over for me at that point as the twisted bars were a concern, ‘what if the whole front end was loose?’ I dropped down the stairs and it felt solid. I rode the rest of the lap to the finish, getting insulted by the French locals for taking out their fellow countryman in the first corner (I deserved it). I was very lucky not to have a bad crash and suffer any real injuries (my little finger is a bit banged up).
The course was so short and there were only one or two real passing opportunities. Looking back I could have waited, but it is easy to say that in hindsight. Everything is happening so fast and in the adrenaline filled moment it is hard to know what the right thing to do is. The only thing that I know for sure is that I can’t change what happened and I can just learn from my mistakes.
It really makes you appreciate the races where your able to make it to the finals. Patrick Luthi ended up winning the World cup Eliminator here in La Bresse, proving that he was a very strong sprinter (He also qualified 4th). This also meant that there was a different winner for each round. Further proving that anything can happen in the sprint format.
La Bresse was the final sprint Eliminator world cup for this series. The next world level sprint challenge is the world championships in September. There are a few races in between that might be included into the schedule, so that is always exciting.
The more impending situation is the world cup cross country race on Sunday and with a final look at the course tomorrow, I should be ready to race come Sunday afternoon. I’m really looking forward to this race and hoping that with the shorter sprint race (and no final), I will have strong legs for the XCO.
In order to have good leg’s I need to recover and prepare. Really disappointed that I couldn’t get onto the podium again. It was such a crazy course today and it made for some very entertaining racing. I just wish I played a bigger part in it .
Thanks for reading and for all of the support from everyone.