Tour of Hong Kong

Description:
Stage 1 -> ITT Climb, 2.4km in Fei Ngo Shan
Stage 2 -> Po Kon Village Cycling track -> 15km qualifications, 30km final
Stage 3 -> Tin Shui Wai ->15x8km 120km road racing
Targets:
1) no crash
2) get some good cycling sessions to conclude a tough training week (leading up to another 70.3 Ironman in 2 weeks…)
3) and (bonus) try to get a decent result…if possible
The Race:
1st stage
In Fei Ngo Shan, did it a few weeks ago just under 8min with training wheels, felt good. 
I feel a bit shitty today but i took the racing wheel (lighter) to compensate…
I had a hill reps session in Fei Ngo Shan on WED so I know the course now!
Basically 1st 900m are pretty fast (feels 8-9% grade with some ‘flats’ parts) -> can go fast, stay seated often
2nd 900m are much harder (probably 12% avg), out of the saddle, trying to keep the momentum
last 500m are tough with a short section at 14% i think…
On Sat I blew up after the 2nd section…and finished ‘ugly’
I had 2 cars blocking the way at some stage but they did not slow me down much anyway, just a bit hard to yell when grasping for air!
Finished in 8min flat, got 3rd (Thomas in 7’47, Kan in 7’59 and me in 8′)
2nd stage
Where in the world can you ride here…? A 1k track in the middle of the city, fully closed for cyclists only.
 
 
 
1st heat had a decent race, 2nd heat were stopped after a few laps due to the rain (track gets easily slippery…shame for such a $$$ track) and we did not get to start at all. Which is a good thing actually (this kind of crit is not my best event for sure…although i would have liked to give it a go) More rest for me then (but a wasted afternoon doing nothing but waiting)
I did a few laps under the rain to see this quite peculiar track! Nice and fun.
 
3rd stage
The real race. Sunday morning. No rain, no clouds, it will get hot for sure…
7am start for 15x8km loops. Out and back on a fairly flat course with only 1 short climb (you do it twice tho) and 2 sharp turns
Strava 
As expected a few attacks on the first few laps. I know Mark is eager to break early, I go once with him but we are caught immediately (lap 2 or 3)
Then he went again on lap 3 or 4 joined by 2-3 other guys. They’re going for it. We’re only 20k into the race, 100k to go…no one from the yellow jersey team in the break, i assume (wrongly) that they’ll get caught quickly. It happened that they were 6 in the break (Direct, SCAA, CS, Neilpryde…i think) with only 3/4 guys working (no idea why CS was not working? Good for us/me since CS guys worked at front to close the gap)
Direct and Neilpryde did a bit of tactical ‘slowing the pace down’ in the pack to let the break get a significant gap (up to 3’30 i’ve heard…? seems a lot…i also heard 2min…)
And before I knew it I was in trouble…I was really expecting racing force (yellow jersey) to come at the front and do some work to bridge the gap (the only chance for them to get some results! But no…nobody came! Awkward…)
Well…that’s unless you ‘hope’ that something will happen. For instance I wont let the break go/win without a fight. Luckily Lewis was also in for a good TT session (without anything to win really…except to do some work for me?) And CS did not work in the break so CS was in for a TT session too (John and one other rider)
So there we were, 4 guys, riding at 43kmh+ avg to catch up the break….with all the pack sitting behind
It took us 70km approx to reel them down…I was pretty spent when we did to be honest
Thank you to Lewis, John and the other CS rider for spending 70k with me at the front bridging the gap!

Back in the game /GC contention, that’s a good news, but pretty tired now and with 50 guys fresh behind!
3 laps to go, a few attacks from the fresh guys…really hard to stay in contact, i can’t sprint anymore…I see James (teammate) coming over at the front so i’m asking him to keep the pace high to avoid any breaks pulling away. it works a bit. Tom is coming over at the front too, same, he’s keeping the pace high so i can jump on any break if needed…1 lap to go still there, basically 3rd overall if i finish in the main bunch…just need to hang on (actually i can even finish 2nd if i play smart…)

1/2 lap to go, Daniel Lee pulls away with James behind. There are 3-4 Neilpryde guys slowing down between James and I…I’m a bit far behind now and probably took the U-turn too slow, i can’t catch them back (i really should have but you’re not thinking straight after 100k flat out, too many parameters to consider, hard to stay focus)
I thought the yellow jersey would go for it, there must be some other riders who need to catch them or at least reduce the gap (it’s not very clear since nobody moved…)
A few ones went actually but real sprinters (+ fresh), no way i can jump on a wheel of someone going 55kmh+ now! even for 50m…
A group formed and we increased the pace to keep the gap as small as possible
Short climb, last u-turn, final climb and final sprint, my legs are cramping, i lost too much time in this last bit
Thomas kept his yellow jersey and won overall. I must say he got really lucky today, now I know I cannot expect anything from him and his team! Next time I will go in the 1st break!
Kan kept his 2nd place overall
Daniel finished 3rd overall (finishing 4th today with probably 15-20 seconds gap on me, maybe more…need to check the final results)
I finally got 4th overall (meaning that it must be a few mere seconds behind Daniel since I was 1 seconds behind Kan after stage 1. Ahah ;-)That last 1/2 lap cost me a lot…….ouch!), I lost a few seconds on the 2 last climbs, spent.
Well done to my Teammate James who came 2nd today (working in the small last break on the last 1/2 lap, which probably helped Daniel getting these few seconds on me ;-) but no problem with that. It’s good to have someone on the podium and i should have gone with them when they took off anyway! Plus 3rd or 4th is pretty much the same for me.
A good day of racing.
Thanks to my fellow teammates for helping me today. Many thanks to our crew Nellie and TJ for everything!
When is the next one? 
Ride safe!
;-)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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