Yesterday was my first time doing GP Gippingen and I found it to be a fairly nice race. It was certainly a challenging circuit with a solid 2km climb each of the 15 laps, which by the end was quite tiring! The weather at the start was hot and humid, but that turned to some spotty showers mid-race. For the finale though it had cleared and the majority of the circuit was again dry. There was no neutral start for the race, so it was an anxious start. I managed to get myself in the front of the field, so that helped calm my nerves a little. I had intentions to follow the early moves and try to get in the break, but as I went to jump with the first move of the day Laurent had beaten me to the punch. I waited to see what would happen next and followed some other small attacks attempting to bridge. Nothing really happened and Laurent’s group was eventually caught. A small group of 3 guys counterattacked and managed to get away for the day. I was happy at that point to stay in the field and conserve as much energy as possible for the finale.
As the laps passed and the race wound down I contemplated a late race attack with 4-5 laps to go. I knew it was a long shot and a long way to race, but I thought perhaps catching the favorites off guard could be a good opportunity. I decided 5 was too far and waited. Then with 4 to go some other teams began to show interest in the chase and the tempo went up, so the moment wasn’t right then either. With 3 to go the first major move happened and I went with that. There was a group of maybe 20 at the top with the favorites represented, but no one was really committed to driving it, so there was a big regrouping from behind. I followed several other attacks and made a couple of my own hoping something might stick. There was a moment when 4 of us had a small gap, but the chase behind was too strong and we were reeled back in.
With 2 laps to go the pace up the climb was again strong, but there was still just a general peloton and no select group forming. After the descent I again followed a couple moves but nothing materialized for me. As we approached one lap to go a larger group did actually form in front of the field and we were not present. I knew we had Boy and Danny in the peloton still and I had seen they looked good on the climb on the last couple laps, so I decided that I should pull to keep the group close and give them the best chance of staying in the group over the climb and into the finish because they have good finishing speed and would be our best chance of winning. I pulled for at least 5km and into the final climb at which point I pulled the plug as the attacks started to fly. In the end Danny ended up 4th, narrowly missing the podium and win. In hindsight I probably shouldn’t have pulled and just let the race develop as it would and try to make the final selection myself, but I thought that final break was too big. Really I should’ve been in that group, but I had followed a few moves before that and needed a small recovery. C’est la vie in any case! It all worked out ok in the end and I was happy with my feelings in the race. Now I’m looking forward to a good week of racing in Switzerland. It is going to be a very hard race, but I’m ready for the test. There’s some links below to follow the race. Thanks for reading!