The View’s Better at the Front

Filed under: On the Road Again — admin @ 10:55 am

Written by Steven Cozza
August 21, 2009

Stage 3 ended up being pancake-flat and 157 kilometers. During the first hour, the attacks wouldn’t let up. We were riding the front jumping in anything over 5 riders and bringing it back.

The first 10 kilometers of the race was especially hard for me because my rear wheel was rubbing hard, making an awful loud noise. I knew I needed to help at the front, so I did till I could take it no longer and had to go back to my team car to get a wheel change. I stopped and tried to spin my rear wheel with my hand and it wouldn’t spin – I guess it was rubbing the frame.

After getting a fast wheel change, I killed myself to make it back up to the front and do my job. Finally, after going flat out, a break of 3 riders went up the road and the peloton started yelling, “pisssen, pisssen”, which is exactly what it sounds like and means, “Time out – let’s all be friends and let those 3 guys go up the road.” Once we all went pee and the break had around 2 minutes, Tricky Ricky (Ricardo) and I rode the front for the next 100 kilometers.

We kept the break of 3 under three minutes. I was really glad to be riding the front, especially on this day, because I used to live in the area when racing for the Belgiun team Yawadoo Colba several years ago. It brought back some good memories for me.

As we neared the 14 kilometer finishing circuit, it got crazy and we rode super hard with Svein and two Quick Step guys. Other teams kept trying to come over us, but we fought on keeping the pace really high. My goal was to make it to 8 kilometers to go on the front and I think I made it to 6. I was crossed-eyed at this point and could only say “Good luck, Tyler!” in the sprint as they flew by.

He finished second in the sprint today to Tom Boonen. Later I saw on the TV that Tyler got boxed in by Mark Renshaw and was just flying past Tom Boonen, but the finish line came too soon and Tom won. This happens in sprints and especially in crazy Belgian ones!
After the finish, I went back to the bus and was happy to see an old friend of mine waiting there to say hi. It was a great suprise after a hard day’s work.