Week 2 at Crystal Palace and the weather was even nicer -- warm, sunny and summer-like -- which meant another good turnout of riders. And this week everyone seemed just a bit more juiced to the push the envelope, or in the men's races at least; there were two nasty crashes by E/1/2 riders overcooking the bottom corner in the within the first 10 minutes, and the 3/4s managed another later on.
My legs were feeling quite sore from the weekend's TT and with some of the previous week's fire missing, I was happy to more or less sit in the ladies' race and see what happened. Not quite the same number of riders as last week, but with 14 starters we still had a pretty good field with 11 of us staying together til the last lap. I was happy to have three and a half Kingston Wheelers teammates on the start line with me, the most I've ever had at once!
Annoyingly, we were once again given the bell lap immediately after being overtaken by a group of 3/4 men, meaning we caught them up with 200m to go and had to ride past them to the finish. With the memory of crash I'd witnessed earlier etched firmly in my mind, I made my usual jump to start the sprint, but the second it became obvious that we were going to run into the back of the 3/4s, I hesitated and both the eventual 1st and 2nd place girls sprinted by me. The two of them were shoulder to shoulder all the way to the line, and thankfully the guys stayed out of their way so they made it across safely. Quite a close finish that I caught myself spectating from my position in 3rd:
Emma just pips Claire at the line, photo courtesy of John Mx of LondonCyleSport
I had mounted a camera behind my seatpost to film the entire race, and though it wasn't perfect (at some point I hit it with my leg and it turned frustratingly sideways), it's been pretty neat to watch the videos and see how things behind me went. Sadly I had neither the legs nor the motivation to launch any big attacks, so a half-hearted one in lap 8 for the sake of the camera was all I could muster. I've split the 14-lap race into four parts, all of which are uploaded to Vimeo below, though be warned they are somewhat boring and scratchy-sounding! And I had to compromise between file size and quality otherwise they'd have been uploading for days. Next time I'll get more creative with the editing and music, and see if I can improve the resolution a bit.
2013 Tour de Belgique – Stage 4 Results
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