Friday, 24 April 2009

Torque Wrench

Focus your attention on the riders, no not the bicycles, the two up Mavic support bike. Then lets consider pressure.

The roads your about to ride are tight, littered with street furniture, transition from cobble/kassien/pave to tarmac to dirt runoff from tractor usage.They alternate from spectator lined to spectator deluged. The weather also plays its hand. Sun creates choking dust storms, rain delivers a surface that must be treated with respect and a reduced lean angle.

Imagine being closed down by a breakaway group and having to pin the throttle as you round a tight Amstel Gold corner (where upon being confronted by a concrete planter full of flowers). Imagine being at the front of the main group in the Arenberg as the hammer goes down and the tempo rockets, while you're caught by the barriers. Pressure.

Of course some of the motorbike cavalcade have been riding these routes for years, but imagine being the new boy. Pressure.

Notice the pillion on the bike has no gloves and holds a wheel in each hand. The photo was shot in glorious sunshine but the temperature was arctic. Imagine travelling 259km, at speed, holding bare metal with no gloves. Either this guy has skin made of leather or is tough as. Or both.

Pressure: With the Classics drawing to a close, time is running out for the stars of the field to return a result. Will the Cunego/Valverde/Evans/Schlek's of the peleton consider their seasons floundering if they don't record a victory.

Pressure: Will the team owners and sponsors be eyeing their team lists if positive results aren't forthcoming.

Pressure: If results aren't forthcoming for the big hitters is the focus (and stress) placed on the Giro & Tour