Sunday, July 4, 2010

Austria Day One

Austria is beautiful! We arrived yesterday without any problems thankfully. We embarked on a nice pre-race ride rolling straight up a 6km ascent from our hotel that gained 500m. Not so bad for just rolling out the door. Only had the option to go up or down, so we chose up first. Sensations weren't bad and the surroundings are great, so I was ready to take on the first stage of Tour of Austria.

Stage one was today. It began with a category 2 climb starting 6km in, but things were tranquil and there were no problems. The rest of the stage was status quo with a breakaway and inevitable catch. The finish was a bit hairy with two sketchy turns in the last km of the race, but we got through all good and unscathed; unlike the finish to the TdF today! Holy crap that was nuts. I think we had a couple guys up in/near the top 10, so not too bad for the day.

Tomorrow is the beginning of the real race. The finish is on an hors category climb that from what I have heard (haven't actually looked myself) that averages 13% gradient for 13km: yikes and ouch. I believe that it actually has sections where it goes upwards of 25%, so it will be a real leg burner. It comes at the end of a fairly long day, too, starting the climbing at about 150km and the real HC starting at about 165km of 180ish. Whatever the real statistics, it will not be a group finish tomorrow and the general classification will experience a real shake up. Stages three and four are also real tough stages, but one day at a time!

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