HomeNews & FeaturesRoad CyclingMatt Wilson - Tour of Ireland Diary (2) King of the Mountain

Matt Wilson – Tour of Ireland Diary (2) King of the Mountain

Matt Wilson is the road captain of Team Type 1. He is competing in the Tour of Ireland and filing a daily, behind-the-scenes account exclusively for Bicycles Network Australia. Today’s entry focuses on Friday’s first stage of the three-day race.

Today was a bittersweet in a way. It was nice to get the King of the Mountains jersey, which was really nice. But I was really hoping to do something in the GC (general classification). But when crunch time came, I just didn’t have the legs. I just missed the group and they got away. So basically, it’s now a race for the KOM jersey and maybe a stage. I guess the lack of racing, combined with an attacking day – going after the jersey – sort of caught up with me.

Overall, it was a pretty standard sort of stage: lots of attacks early, then one guy got away and the big teams were happy to let him go. Then they just controlled it to the finish. The only surprise was that Astana, Cervelo and Saxo Bank decided to attack the last KOM. I was expecting a bunch sprint at the end of today. So it was a good move to try and get rid of Mark Cavendish and avoid the bunch sprint. And it worked.

Columbia-HTC had a couple guys that followed the move when it went. They tried for a little bit to bring it back for Cavendish, but they only had a couple guys back there and pretty soon they stopped chase. The Australian National Team, Rapha Condor and the Irish National Team did a good job, holding it at two minutes. But still, it ended up being over a minute-and-a-half (from the leaders to the field) now, so the GC is done.

Racing in Europe is very different when you compare it to America. It’s a lot more competitive, there are better riders and it’s a lot more controlled. When you’re used to doing two-hour criteriums and 120-kilometer road races, then you suddenly up it to 200 km, you don’t have the depth in your leges. Compared to last year, we had done a lot more racing going in, which made for better condition coming here. But some of the other guys on Team Type 1, like (Valeriy) Kobzarenko, said he was cramping and just missing that little bit extra. It doesn’t take that much if you’re just five percent below what you are normally, that’s the difference between making the front group and not making the front group.

I think you’ll find Stage 2 will be a lot more controlled tomorrow now that there’s a GC. Saxo Bank has a lot of guys in the front group and Astana, too. So they might try to get rid of (yellow jersey leader) Russell Downing. But they might be surprised how strong he is. Maybe the numbers on the last day on St. Patrick’s Hill might make it tougher, but for now he’s looking solid.

Previous Diary Entries
Lead up to the Tour of Ireland

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