Watching a pack of 118 professional bike racers in a peloton from a few cars back is something else. It’s a mass of color washing back and forth across the road; at one moment stretching out length-wise, and the next width-wise. For the first two stages we had a Chinese reporter and cameraman from CCTV following the team around, and yesterday she made a rather acute remark in the team car that the team director’s responsibility was kind of like “management of energy.” Rather ironic that our sponsor for the race is GE.
Okay, was my profile the other day of Rhys foreshadowing of what was to come? It’s clear that he’s above average in Georgia here. All I heard after Stage One was how brutal it was at the front with 4km to go. Riders getting shoved all over the place, and the pace through the final stretch 40mph. Then Rhys rolls Sergey up through all of that and drops him into third position? Definitely on some good form.
For those that haven’t been following the stages, Rhys made both breakaways on stages 2 and 3. There was some controversy yesterday with the Most Aggressive Rider award going to Rhys. I guess we were surprised it didn’t go to Justin England as well, but hey Rhys was the strongest in the break and was the only one who could go with the pack when they were swept up. Today he wasn’t so lucky, the final circuit was incredibly technical and hilly – very tough to hang on after being swept up. Riders were getting shelled in ones and twos handily. Count half our team in the shelled category.
Sergey has an interesting routine prior to race start of borrowing the 4 and 5mm allen wrenches and playing around with his handlebar and stem for 15 minutes. Tilting bar up, tilting it down, getting shifter perch positioned just right, adjusting stem left and right. For him, one day’s perch is not the next one’s.
Tomorrow is the team time trial. After that we hit the mountains for the first time, and the fireworks really go off. Jai Crawford is our climber, 5′7 and 130 lbs…and all business. He made the split today; it’s promising that he’ll be able to make top 10 at Brasstown Bald. He placed fifth at Genting Highlands at 2007 Tour of Langkawi. He pre-rode Brasstown last Thursday and very much liked the climb. Can’t wait till Saturday!