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Col De San Venediano

Col De San Venediano

Last year this race was easily labeled as our favourite of the year, mainly because of staying in a four star hotel with incredible views and not down to having to climb a 20% two kilometer climb four times in the race. The climb had previously been used in the Giro d’Italia and pictures dotted around the hotel showed famous professional riders grimacing as they hauled themselves over the wall. 

 

Our race, a UCI 1.2 International, was 160 kilometres in length and featured 80 kilometres of flat laps to start with, followed by four large laps that scaled the berg each time. The usual opponents were at the race, Zalf, Colpack, Australia national team and the rest.

 

The sun beat down overhead as we lined up at the start waiting for the race to begin. As suspected, the pace at the start was frantic and Bertie and I slipped off the front to form a two man move, before long we were caught by three other riders and we began working together to try and establish a lead. However, one Italian team didn’t want to let us escape and closed us down two laps later. Owen, Scott and Jonny both tried to counter with different moves but no one was allowed to escape the clutches of the charging peloton. 

 

Within no time at all, the flat laps ended and we headed towards the dreaded climb coined ‘The Poggio’ which is actually far harder than the real poggio climb featured in Milan San Remo. Everyone wanted to be in a good position for the start of the climb so naturally the pace in the preceding 5k was high and it was nigh on impossible to move forwards due to the narrow, winding roads. As we hit the climb the race exploded. Ex Zappi rider Dan Pearson, now riding for Zalf for Desiree, attacked on the steep slopes and took with him only three other riders who could stay on his wheel. Knox was biding his time however and was wisely conserving his energy for the final part of the race. Us bigger boys managed to haul ourselves over the climb twice before calling it a day Owen managed three times before the speed became too much. Knox, as ever, was active at the front covering all the dangerous moves but even by his own admission didn’t have the strength to match at the attack of Australian Robert Power and the unbeatable Italian Gianni Moscon. However, he still found himself in the elite second group on the road fighting for fourth position. Approaching the final kilometre Knox had positioned himself well in the bunch and sprinted to a brilliant 9th place against some of the best amateur riders in Italy and the world. The rest of the team rode well and helped Knox where possible, the slightly ‘flatter’ races will suit the us better. This week we are riding in the Pesca Nectarina, a three day stage race which is looked at by some of the worlds biggest teams. The stages will be tough with four long climbs punctuating stage 2 but we have been working hard and head into the race with high hopes. All our thanks also goes to Planet X for providing great bikes, able to cope with the demands of racing week in week out on punishing terrain against the toughest competition. Keep you updated. Ciao!  

5 June 2015