My name is Steve Lampier, I race for the Node 4 Giordana team, and today I shall be starting the tenth anniversary of the Tour of Britain!
Many of you know me, many don't, so for those that don't, I shall introduce myself. I'm 29, been a UK pro for 5 years and before that I raced in Spain, Holland, France and Belgium. 6 years ago I meet a Girl from Peterborough and after a bout of Glandular fever I decided to return to the UK and race. I also decided to move in with my number one fan Michelle (Buck who many of you will also know from local cycling)
Hopefully that clears up why a Cornish kid is here!
This will be my 2nd participation in the ToB, with 2011 being my first .
Last year I should have raced, but team politics ended that dream! So I'm super, super motivated this year. Preparation had been difficult, as to get really good from form you have to race, lots! and in big races on the continent, but with limted races and so may teams chasing for places its a lottery, but we have had the Ride London classic, a French 4 day stage race, 4 Belgian one races plus UK races including the Alston Homes Peterborough CC RR where I managed to get my arms in the air!
Big miles, fast hard efforts, local club Ten Mile TT's, eating nothing, stretching lots, I think I'm ready for what is billed as the hardest ToB yet with some serious hard climbing stages, a ten mile tt, and two sprint stages,
check them out here you can also check out my daily Training on Strava where I will also be posting up stages every day and finaly follow me on Twitter where I will put adhoc 140 character mumblings @steviel84 so wish me luck, i'll try and get on tele! and keep an eye for my daily inside the peloton blog,
Stage one A fully horrid wet windy slog around the Scottish borders....
Two hundred and ten km's of wetness, well the last thirty km's were slightly dry.
Nothing really to report from my end, except I've never worn so much in a race before! The day went as expected for myself, not to lose time in a split or get caught out in crosswinds.
The finale to the stage was marred by two crashes, one with eleven km's to go on a tight wet left handed bend.
I nearly ended up with them, but somehow kept it up... Then with one hundred an fifty meters to to go to the line, a big "get down". As the leadout guys came back and sprinters faced block headwind, my team mate Roman hit the deck, but he's now up and smiling.
For me it was mission accomplished with no time lost.
I am now back at the team hotel for a massage, something to eat and some time to recover for a hilly wet windy lake district stage tomorrow. Catch you all then.
Stage two Carlisle to Kendal hundred and ninety Km
The lakes, lovely for walking, mint cake is good too but for bike racing, well bike racing in the rain its purgatory....
Stage started well with team mate Mike Northey getting in the days escape.
Good move as we had a thirty km stretch of cross wind along the coast before the lap of the lakes. At least he didn't have to deal with the fighting in the bunch to be in position. We all had to ride pretty hard then as we turned in the lake district itself it was on....
The inaugural first cat climb of the race was mental! I found my climbing legs there as I made it over the top with ten guys.
Sadly it kind of all came together, well sixty guys maybe, so ideal.
Coming into the finish we had two steep climbs which shedded the bunch to about forty. I was sitting in feeling good. Then a well known pro who should know better just sat up with out slinging me onto the wheels ahead. This left me with four km's to go chasing hard. but couldn't quite get there, really hacked off, as maybe lost thirty seconds.
Oh well ten mile time trial tomorrow. I am not sure if it has a ctt course code mind....(ED's note - don't think so as I am sure I read it starts in a zoo)
Hopefully the time trial training (and racing around Peterborough) I have been doing pays off. I wont beat Wiggo or Dowsett but I certainly don't to give away another thirty seconds.
Thanks for reading and for the support
Tour of Britain Stage 3 TT
I like a bit of testing if I am honest, a good 10m evening a bit of an effort with a number on your back to make you go a bit harder.
After a solid days training it is good. But time trialling beyond club ten level is a dark art. I mean whats the N1/10 to a newcomer? and beyond in the UK testing is another world!
Team Sky had the new really sexy looking (30sec faster at 40kms) bolide tt bike. They had their turbos set up with a mechanic and a helper on standby for each rider. Its clear they have really thought about it.
For UK continental pro teams such as us at Node 4, we are at a disadvantage from the get go. What I mean is they have the staff the bikes the wheels, we have some staff, used but good wheels, and 4th hand tt bikes!
Now that's not a dig, its just the way it is, we don't have enough TT's in stage races to warrant the expense.
Now before this even gets to a ahhh bless me blog it isn't !!!
I think f@#k em! lets see what slamps can do baby...
TT was savage with a head wind in every direction. It was on wet roads, twisty corners and through a safari park, no lions chasing me but was not so goody either....
Anyway, I decided to give it all I had, as well you never know... I finished, I think, a respectable 42nd @1min 56 secs to Sir Brad, who did an amazing ride to win by 37secs.
His ride was nuts! I'm now 39th on GC with 3 savage, hilly days to come. I am in a good place the best part of today was only the 8mile transfer to the hotel, which is the same as last night. That gives us some chill time, bit of internet,a massage. I can dry my washing, sort bag and now write this blog with my kiwi team mate James Williamson watching come dine with me, he loves naff uk tv!
Stage four, Stoke to Llanberis
Stage racing is all about tine management. Not only how much tine to gain to get the lead or how much can I lose to stay in the race. It's also how much sleep can I get, how long can I lie down before dinner, that sort of thing.
Age old cyclists adage is don't stand when can sit, don't sit when can lie down!!
Always think of recovery. That said recovery for the next day doesn't start in the evening or even after the stage finish, it starts the day before the day before (if you know what I mean) at the stage start. Its what you eat in the day. Consume too little and you will go boom in the current stage or next days racing.
You can also eat too much and feel sluggish on both days.
The same goes for clothing. You have to wrap up to keep warm. A few people who should know better wore too little on Sundays cold wet stage. They were the ones who blew to pieces the next day.
So in summary look after yourself today... you'll be good for two days time then.
Not so much to report today. Mike (Northey)got in the days move which only got caught with 1km to go. It was a solid ride.
For me it was steady away, wasn't easy but steady enough. Tomorrow will be a big day out, the queen stage, don't miss it on TV.
Finally, last night at ten pm we had a unexpected visitor,' UKAD'...
They arrived to take blood and urine sample from myself and two team mates. They also saw Garmin, MTN/Quebeka and Cannondale.Luckily unlike my team mate Roman, I hadn't just been for a pee so it was seamless, so to speak.
Its all good though. I am a clean rider and more than happy to do these tests
Stage five, un pronounceable Welsh name to another unpronounceable Welsh name
This is the day the what not hits the fan with four cat one climbs including two ascents of Caerphilly mountain. Wow!
Race started in a downpour, as is normal in the Tour of Britain this year.... A move went for some TV time, I just sat in and waited. The cat one climbs of the Brecon Beacons actually did nothing as the wind wasn't as strong as teams hoped. Maybe a relief for some after the hard racing.
So a full on charge into Caerphilly. I was placed well, but on the climb I got into the lead group of twenty.
The next ascent I was dropped from the Wiggo, Quintana and Daniel Martin group, but they are Protour and Tour de France stars....
I was in group sprinting for fourteenth. I am actually very happy as there were only three UK based pros left at this point. Those pro tour guys have another gear, like a bigger turbo. I was very impressed. To be honest I am not sure where I am but it gives me confidence for tomorrows hill top finish on Haytor.
Stage six, Sidmouth to Haytor rocks
First ever summit finish in the Tours history, a hard day out in Devon.
Three ten min climbs during the stage hurt, but the descents an 'Lil kickers 'deaden the pins just as badly....
This was a day I've been targeting since the route was released, as being from Cornwall I know the roads. Also my Mum could come to England and watch...
With this day being the summit finish I knew the GC would be decided today.
The stage started flat out, up a big climb, the bunch was in pieces. But I was feeling good. Then we rode a good tempo once the break got established. So it was a full on sprint into Haytor. I wasn't the best position but my team mate Mike made sure I was where I needed to be...on the 'gc' guys wheels as the road kicked up.
I was climbing well, best I've climbed in... er well ever actually. Who needs mountains when we have long fen drove roads?..... :0) (Yaxley Riders agree!!!)
There were only two UK based guys left. I came in a absolutely 'foddered' in twelfth and now seventeenth on the general classification.
I am happy and my mother got to see me... Now we have a long transfer to London to get done now. I am pole position in the sports directors car, feet out, sat nav, playing TV and stuffing down some food. Don't tell him but soon I am going ask for a toilet stop!, are we there yet......
Stage 7 Epson to Guildford
A stage that should have been basic straight forward sprint for Cav, wasn't.. well it was for him but not me!
The stage started but my gears where all over the show, and getting worse so had to change to my spare bike after the mechanic for some time tried to sort it by hanging out of the window with a screwdriver and Allen keys.
A hard chase saw me back in the bunch. I waited to after all the hilly twisty Surrey lanes to go back and get on my race bike. Sadly I was told that the cable had snapped, so instead changed my front wheel, from a 82mm deep front to a 50mm deep. The reason for this is I don't like the 'whippy' feeling it gives you as it catches the wind so another chased followed to get back to the bunch.
They got faster in faster into the run in, I was too far back, with no team mates to take me forward. In the rapid last 10kms, I needed to get close to the front so as not to be on the wrong side of the time splits that would happen on the Guildford cobbled climb.
But I was too far back couldn't move up. As a result I lost 6secs to Marcin Biablocki who started the stage only 10secs behind. So now he is 4 secs behind me. I am saying it was a miscommunication with the kiwis in our team , ohwell! still 17th on GC.
Finally there were lots of people out today, madness!!! Tomorrow, last satge, in London town, looking forward to it!
Finished...... Home now, its been a mental week but so good.
I'm really happy with my seventeenth overall, and my climbing on the two gc days. Being up there with the worlds best blew my mind.
Today was a big elongated crit in London. Not my cup of tea results wise. I like crits but this was a case of not losing time in a split, and in that respect it was job done.
Thanks ever so for reading my drivel, and the support.