The third showdown in the series was all set to be a cracker day. I was looking forward to some hard racing. The weather was cool and there was a little breeze to sort out the men from the boys.

The pace cracked on from the start as Daikin set the tempo high. The fast pace meant no escapees in the first 20km and things were all together over the first of the rollers. Luke chased down a small break but punctured again! Christo came to his aid and lent him a wheel, but he never got back. He had a hard week in training and just didn’t have the firepower left to close.

Back in the bunch we were down to three men in the team competition and couldn’t throw everything we had at it. We still had a good few cracks. Stuart jumped on grand prix hill but no-one went with him, without a big effort there from the bunch and it was still all square over the top. Down Windmeul road I expected a gutter, but a sharp yellow card from the Thinkbike marshal quickly put and end to that. Ho hum…

We then turned into a block headwind. I tried an attack with Robbie R but was quickly closed down, so too were a few more attacks and we soon realized we were going nowhere fast. So we left it up to Daikin to make the headway home.

We took on the final rollers at 20-10km to go and this would be the last real opportunity to shake up the bunch. No sparks flew here either and it seemed everyone was content to let it all unfold in the last 500m.

The finish is badly planned, over a slight hilltop and round a blind bend, with one lane only and a gravel shoulder. We also happened to catch a bunch of juniors and some short route riders. I was boxed in on the left and getting pushed into the gravel already, I chose a smooth bit of gravel and rode up the inside and popped out in front. I should have just gone from there but I thought it was too far out, the sprint started and loads of guys rounded me as I got trapped on the inside behind a fun rider… with too many dangers for no reward I sat up and lived to fight another day.

Just keeping the legs warm
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