Thursday, March 10, 2011

Jelajah Tour: Stage 2

Stage 2 was a long stage of 204km that headed north west to the city of Kluang. We headed to the start line into the same heat that we experienced the previous day. We waited in the shade with ice bags on our heads to stay cool before lining up. 

After a hard stage the day before and a long one today, many riders were keen to sit in the peleton and stay out of the draining heat.

The race began in the usual fashion as small attacks attempted to get away. Before the first sprint point, some riders called for a nature stop, which, in Asia, means attack. A large group broke free of the bunch including Jaan and myself. We held the gap until the sprint where Jaan came 2nd and won some precious bonus time. Unfortunately, the break refused to work together as the panicking peleton came back. 

Eventually, two riders broke free and opened a gap of 3min as Tabritz took their time to move to the front. They had a relatively easy day as they ground away at the time gap to bring the break back with 30km to go. 

I moved to the front to try my luck as a spectator on the side of the road dropped his motorcycle helmet. It rolled onto the road and I hit it at 50kph. The helmet bounced off my wheel and went straight up the road where I hit it a second time before it shot off into the grass. 

Fueled by adrenalin, I attacked. After a couple of km's alone, I was joined by three others. Tabritz moved to the front again and chased as we were brought back with 20km to go. 

A lone Giant Asia rider took off and after a few minutes Jaan followed. The final few km's were surprisingly hilly and the bunch was traveling at warp speed for the sprint. 

It all came together for the final km's and it seemed like chaos at the front as everyone battled for position. Jaan and matthias was well placed at the front as a Letua rider launched himself off the front. 

The final spent was slightly downhill and the Letua rider maintained his gap to take the stage win. The road narrowed sharply at the line, causing Jaan to lose ground and cross in 10th place. 

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