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?