Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Three Day Tour - Stage 1

Bitterly cold, windy but dry conditions met riders at the first stage of the 53rd Annual Great Doherty's Three Day Tour. Spirits and nerves were high before the start, with TDR represented in both C and D grades.


Stage 1 was the Newham circuit comprising rolling hills with some short sharp climbs to sort out those not paying attention to which wheel they were following. Presumably a day for a climbing sprinter.

Rolling out. Flag from lead car comes in. Racing.

Two riders immediately attack up the road to an audible scoff from the peloton with 90 km and three days of racing to go. Needless to say they were given significant leeway. The two escapees managed to stay away for two of the three laps.

On the second KOM climb, O'Callagahan kicked and broke away leaving the bunch stunned. After several very difficult sections leading up to the KOM sprint line and one very strong rider remaining off the front, it was looking like a bunch kick. Duggan had managed to hold on to the bunch on the last climb by the skin of his teeth and now sat about 6th wheel trying to recover before the sprint. D'Alfonso was in the thick of the action near the front watching all moves.

With 1 km to go. Duggan moves to the front, placing D'alfonso on his wheel. Looking good for a leadout. 1st wheels into the dangerous chicane, 500m from the line and we're looking good. Duggan ramps up the pace, periodically checking to see if D'alfonso had a clear run. D'alfonso jumps with a good kick but unfortunately 100 too early, fades and has lead out 3-4 other riders for the sprint for second. Duggan finishes well, just behind the sprint for 9th. D'alfonso wasting the good lead out ended up 10th.

A respectable start.

Stage: Duggan 9th (2:36:45), D'alfonso 10th (2:36:45)
GC: Duggan (+1:44) , D'alfonso (+1:44)

(Photos courtesy of B. Mangano)

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