Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Race Report - If at first you don't succeed.....

14/05/2011 - Northern Combine Race 3: Italo Trophy Race

The third race of the Northern Combine calendar saw TDR venture out to Newham for the Italo trophy race. The weather was both windy and cold but fortunately dry, and with an uphill sprint, the conditions seemed ripe for a breakaway or a punchy climber to succeed. D grade riders raced over 60 km with two laps and C grade was a 90 km race over three laps.

The racing in C was timid at first with small 4 rider abreast echelons forming. One rider who had prior knowledge of the course chanced his arm on an early breakaway but with the peloton keeping the him in check he was left to dangle for a few km's before getting slowly reeled in. With the first lap down the fireworks started.

On having seen what the course had to offer, Palfensa took the initiative, quickening the pace of the front bunch, and causing a minor split in the field. Duggan, sitting around mid pack was almost caught out by the move managing to bridge the gap but bringing extra riders with him. As the bunch came back together after a few km's, Palfensa launched a solo attack up hill (some would say suicidal with a further 50 km remaining to race). Successful in gaining some latitude from the bunch he began the painful task of consolidating the break. The bunch reacted, and began working to reel him in slowly. When the break appeared lost, Palfensa tried again up another hill, but the peloton seemed content to let him dangle and eventually, after an audacious attempt, Palfensa came back to the fold.

Things quietened down for the remainder of the race with one potentially dangerous attack by a group of three quickly shut down. Duggan, experiencing mechanical issues was forced to abandon. As the bunch reached the penultimate corner into a block headwind an attack was made, Palfensa sitting on 2nd wheel quickly countered but felt the twang of cramp occur. Sure enough after a few moments, another attack was forthcoming leaving Palfensa and his cramps slinking back to 12 wheel.

As the attack exploded the bunch rounded the last corner together. In the sprint, Palfensa kicked, cramping and getting 5th place.

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