Posted by Editoress on 10/8/14
Canada's Jean-Michel Lachance has been down in the Caribbean racing the Tobago Cycling Classic. Here is his report for the final stages.
After a enjoyable rest day filled with a bicycle ride escorted by a mobile Tobagonian DJ and an afternoon beach party with limbo, dancing and local food, we were ready for stage 3, a (50 x 1.3km laps) technical criterium in Plymouth.
Heading to the race, the clouds started to be darker and darker and the rain started pounding pretty heavily just as we were about to start the race. With the possibility of lightning, the race was cut down to 30 laps. With the rain involved, I decided to leave out the race wheels and use the training wheels, which had better tires for the rain on it.
Straight from the gun, I followed attacks from Yondi Shmidth and Nick Stopler from Netherlands. The next lap, with Emile Abraham and Winston David on my wheel, I upped the pace to separate ourselves from the peloton, and soon enough we had a good lead. The rain was torrential at some points and we kept the pace high while I grabbed most of the sprint points. Near the end of the race, we tried to break away from the Dutch riders but Yondi was responding to all our attacks with ease. With 5 laps to go I led Emile for the sprint but in the end we finished a disappointing second and third, but both moved up in the Omnium and were now third and fourth, with Winston's lead also increasing over second place and the Team GC pretty much locked up.
Stage 4 in Scarborough was in a much more open one kilometre circuit including a small punchy hill, and this time the weather was hot and sunny. Our plan was to play it safe by riding the front while saving as much energy as possible for the next day's UCI race, after having me take as much sprint points as possible to take the sprint title and try a good leadout for Emile to take the stage win. We rode well but in the end we got disorganized, with riders taking risks and some crashes, and we couldn't achieve a proper leadout, so Yondi Smitdt took the win again. In the end though everything worked out well, as we won the overall, best team and sprint titles.
Car #13 Superstitious?
After the criterium was the UCI technical meeting for the Tour of Tobago and things went backwards. Back in September, I had asked the team (Silber Pro Cycling) for permission in order to accept the invitation to race the Tobago Classic and UCI Tour of Tobago.
The usual rule forbidding UCI rider to race with other teams was supposed to be waived for the event and everything was sorted out in due form. However, the morning of the race, me and Michael Olheiser were told that the request was denied and that we couldn't do the race anymore. The news was crushing as both of us came especially for that one day race and were highly confident to be able to play our cards and try and win the race, after being so dominant in the four races of the Tobago Cycling Classic.
After a quick breakfast we had to switch from being riders to director and mechanic for the other guys. Our team teamed up with the American team Rio Grande on which three other Canadians were racing to provide better support.
Having done the Tour of Tobago before as a rider, I knew it was an epic race but this time I got to see it from behind. In the race, we went straight into action as two of our riders had mechanicals on the first uncategorized climb. Then we hit the first decent and with twisty turns and wet roads, many crashes happened. By kilometer 45 we finally made it to the lead peloton in which we still had Emile, Winston and Andrew.
At that point, the lead peloton was already down to about 30 riders. A few kilometres later, we hit one of the first sets of very steep climbs. Andrew and Emile both got dropped on that climb, but Winston was still looking good. That climb was followed by another twisty decent on which Emile showed amazing skill. He made it back to the group, but not incident-free, as he came close crashing after getting close to a moto and breaking the cleats from his shoes.
On the next climb, luckily, I had duct tape and was able to tape his feet to the pedals! We didn't see the front of the race from that point, but Emile put on a good fight to finish in 12th. I am now on a boat to Trinidad, as we will be racing another criterium there where we hope to take revenge!
Stage 4 unavailable
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