Sunday, April 27, 2008

Stage 6...beaten up by Brasstown

Stage 6 is over and done with....and the fears of time cuts and impending death on the famous Brasstown Mtn have long subsided. The team made it through the stage unscathed and we have a full roster of 8 to ride into the finish tomorrow. This stage last year were were down 2 men and that had implications for our sprint power in the following 2 flat stages.

Today went well for us and we hit the final climb with 4 of us left in the main group. I somehow suffered my way over the first 2 climbs of the day so that i could go as easily up Brasstown as is possible. eventually coming in 11mins behind the winner. It was a hard day with a lot of teams playing aggressive cards in the GC battle to try and crack Slipstream. By the end of the day, Slipstream had lost the lead...but i must say that they rode a pretty amazing stage and it was just a strong rider who got the best of them in the end. Im going to single out Danny Pate who i thought rode like an was pretty exceptional. It was all however to no avail as Trent just couldn't stay with the High Road winner and gave up his GC lead by a measly 4seconds.

Some good photos have emerged from yesterday...not often you get them, so ill share some with you.

I got a nice gap after jumping out of the last corner.

Apparently i was happy when i crossed the line in first.

Always a nice part of making the podium

Those arent bad names on either side of me
You can also check out my online interview at

Now we are heading into the final stage with 8 guys and renewed confidence for a good result tomorrow. Last year i finished 6th on this circuit and the plan is to improve on this in tomorrows finish. Looks like rain and thunderstorms could be a factor that could influence the race...but it should be hard and fast with a few battles still going on in the sprint and GC competition.

Hope to join you tomorrow with some good news...or at least a good story.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

STAGE 5...Winners are grinners

For those who do not was a great day for the Bissell cycling team

I won the stage and Teddy took control of the King Of the Mountains jersey after a stella break away that lasted for nearly 150km. At one point it looked like we wouldnt catch the break and Teddy was going to have the chance to contest the stage finish....but the final kms were tough and it all came back together and then split over the last climb. I got a nice run and a little luck in the finsh and came out in front.

Im so excited for the team who worked really well today and showed what strength we have. It should be a fantastic building block for the rest of the season and hopefully we can keep our boy Teddy in the KOM jersey.

I would love to spend more time blogging, but it is late and has been a very long day. My pillow is calling. Thanks to everyone who sent me emails and messages. Me and the team appreciate all the support.....

You can read all about it on or ....cause i dont want to play favourites. Tomorrow is the big Brasstown will hurt and i look forward to sharing that pain with you in here.

Friday, April 25, 2008

TTT....stage 4

Not what we had hoped for....

That sums up our final result in the team time trial. Al was well and we were on our way to a competitive result when Zirbel suffered a mechanical problem on the hill the third lap and then we had a period were the wheels fell off. We did come back with a solid final lap but the damage had already been done.

But i think that when you look at the team finishing without its 2 clear TT specialists that we still came out with a reasonable time and an OK result. The good thing is that we kept ourselves in a great position for GC as i am only down by 57sec and could easily make that up on Brasstown ;).

In all seriousness, tomorrow's long stage may hold some GC battles, but i think the tour will ultimately come down to Brasstown on Sat. I am pinning some hope and pressure on T. Lowe (Slipstream). My fellow Australian and all round good bloke is looking strong and there is little doubt he has the support of one of the best teams. Can he beat Levi on Brasstown? Time will tell. I sure hope so.

Short one today...internet has been down, so im off to bed now. Hope to have a report for you tomorrow. Long day, 3 climbs, but i am confident i can ride strong and hopefully have a say in the finish again.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Stage 3....

Holy crap.....first 50km took us 1hr and 4mins....i dont care who you are, that is fast and hard.

Finally, after a 70+km/h crash that took out a few people...Ouch...the break got away and there was a lull in the field and time for a toilet stop. Team Bissell was represented by Scotty Z...but he tells me that the break was largely under the control of the Team Type 1 rider who slowly started to tear at the legs of his 3 companions.

But was always going to come back together with Toyota and CSC taking to the front over the closing 50km...what people didnt quite expect was how hard the finishing circuits were. the last 8km was run on a twisty, hill and tight circuit that eventually started to tear the field apart. It was a race coming into the park...and once we arrived it didnt let up, with High Road hitting the front and dropping a large quantity of the field....The closing km's hurt and i dug deep, again with good legs but could not quite produce a great finish after a bad line into the final corner. The fast ass, downhill sprint was taken by Greg Henderson (High Road) after a great set up from his team and i trailed in for 8th place.

Apparently I have been relaxed at one point during this tour....need a hair cut though.

Now we look forward to the team time has always been the focus for our team, with our time trialing now it is time to sack up and produce the goods. Fingers crossed we can all hold onto Jaques-Maines and Zirbel...gotta have at least 4 finish....

Until tomorrow....adios....

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

STAGE 2....

Flat and fast again...that was how stage 2 worked itself out.

The first 60km was on like never before as the field tried to establish a break away group that they were satisfied with. There were a few times that it looked like it was going to work out, but many over ambitious and unsatisfied domestic teams kept forcing the issue and making sure they were represented. It was an weird finish to the attacking, when Justin England (Toyota) rolled off the front and suddenly found himself with a 3min gap....he was later joined by another 2 and the trio worked their way out to 7mins. Astana, High Road, CSC and Gerolsteiner went to the front and began to bring the gap down slowly.

With 20km to go the field was all back together for the finishing circuits around Augusta. A long and gradual uphill was countered by a crazy fast decent that meant trying to hold good position was a tough ask for the smaller teams.

A mass pile up with 700m to go caused some chaos, but it didnt have any effect on the winners for the day. The true sprinting talent of the field came to the front and JJ Haedo took the sprint ahead of Greg Henderson. Ivan Domingez held onto his GC lead after running 3rd.

Personally...well maybe 15th. Nothing to write home about really. Had good legs for the sprint again, but when BJM ran out of legs with 1200m to go i was too far back to do anything heroic. Still positive signs for the flat stages and the team is looking and feeling good for the remainder of the tour....except maybe Jeremy who came off 2nd best in an incident with the Toyota team car....Have to wait and see how he wakes up in the morning.....

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Let me start this entry by eating my words a little....while i spoke with complete facts in last weeks post and this is in no way an apology, i am one to give credit were credit is due....Jelly Belly made up for a more than lack luster Redlands by riding a strong race today and delivering their man (Nick Sanderson) to the line for a podium position....So congrats to them for proving me wrong....

Stage 1 was a short and extremely flat stage that was only at danger of splitting if the wind reared its ugly head in some of the exposed areas. Needless to say that did not happen and the pace was high for the duration of the 70miles. We (Bissell) represented well in most of the attacks and can officially take the honors for the first attack of the 2008 Tour with Tom Zirbel throwing it down some 15km into the stage. From then on the race went from a nice easy roll to a flurry of consistent and damaging attacks. It was not until nearly 35km to go however that a break of 6 was let loose and Garrett had us nicely represented.

With an abundance of sprinters here, however, it was never going to survive and was always destined to be a bunch kick. Numerous railway crossings in the final 4km added to the excitement as many teams tried their luck with big lead out trains. It was only in the closing km that Gerolsteiner took the lead and attempted to deliver Robert Foster in first. He was overtaken in the closing 200m by Domingez and Sando however and finished in 3rd. After some great help from my team mates i held good position into the last km and ended up in 4th place.

I had great legs all day and am very happy with how i feel early on for this tour. My physical preparation has been perfect and a few little judgement errors in the final 300m may have cost me a podium position. It is however a positive start for the team and hopefully something to build on for the coming week.

So congrats to Toyota, who will wear the first yellow of the tour....but we are in the wings and wont be laying down this week....mark my word.

PS. To my Jelly Belly rider, who left a comment on my last post i say this....I have never claimed to be a rock star cyclist...ever. I have no problem with taking your comments on board and similarly am willing to concede that i am not a big race winner. But if you are going to get personal then you cant finish with calling me invisible and not leaving your name to it and you have to concede that you guys didnt have a good Redlands or explain to me how i got it wrong....Fair?

Thursday, April 17, 2008 we come

Its been a while......but i am back in the US and have just, today, finished my build up to Georgia. It included Redlands in Cali...starting 2 days after i got back on US shores....needless to say it took me a few days to get back into the swing of things and although the results didnt look great on paper, Sundays race may well have been one of my best rides ever. Vennell and i spent all day off the back after a crash 10km in. Loosing a good 3 mins in the first lap, we proceeded to pick up others falling off the bunch over the following 140km...used them up and spat them out the back eventually only finishing 4.5mins down on the lead group. Not bad for a 2 man effort. Team wise a good result with Burke making the podium in 3rd after reading the break nicely in stage 1.

So now looking to Georgia....a flatter race than last year and including a team time trial, so it should be feeling fit and ready and looking for a podium on a stage at least....high ambitions, maybe...but otherwise whats the point of being there...we're not just making up the numbers, like...say...Jelly Belly? (not trying to be a prick....but 1 finisher in Redlands, as defending champions....Colavita and Kelly/Benefits have the right to be a little pissed).

Ill finish with some more family photos from my UK trip. Just so there is no one who feels left out.

Me and my Grandfather....its scary how similar he and my dad are...genetics i guess.

Checking out my bike...not sure...but i think it was the more popular than me.

Me and my dads sister....It was great seeing all these people for the first time in 14years. A lot has changed since i was 10.

It would seem i had a lot of family in the UK who i didnt know. Some of these people had not seen me since i was 18months old.

My god parents...not sure if that is an irony since im not religeous.

So thats it for the moment. I will try and bring you some video diary's from Georgia...maybe feature some of my team mates. We'll see what happens.