Tour ’20 – Stages 16&17 – Kamna fulfills the promise whilst Superman flies

After a quiet few days at the start of last week, the Tour de France has been really exciting at the start of this culminating in yesterdays stage finish at the top of a new purpose built cycleway in the sky.

The two alpine stages have been going over new ground and exploring, whilst retaining the tradition of scenary and toughness that makes them the best part of the race (for me at least).

The first of the most recent two stages saw Egan Bernal dropped again before abandoning and Jumbo taking the opportunity to let breakaways go.

In fact the Tour de France 2020 has become the year of the lone winner with the likes of Marc Hirschi, Soren Kragh Andersen, Lennard Kamna and now Miguel Angel Lopez.

Kamna was part of a stage 16 breakaway that included Richard Caparaz and Julian Alaphillippe before he gave the Ecuadorian a fake suffer face and then attacked him.

Villard de Lans will always be about 1989 and Laurent Fignon for me so it was a real trip down memory lane for the race to finish their again.

Kamna was a worthy winner to honour that history pulling away on downhill, flatlands and climbs to make sure he won.

Carapaz and Alaphillippe looked to get over the disappointment by being in the next days breakaway on stage 17 only to be caught by the GC battle.

Meribel put on its finest display for the race arriving and as the Bahrain led peloton sped through the town to get tot the new finish at Col de la Loze it felt like we had the real race back again. For a few minutes there were cheering fans and despite their masks it was a brief moment where covid wasn’t on my mind.

The new bike path looked amazing despite its fluctuating gradient and it had the desired effect on breaking up the GC leaders including Bahrains leader Mikel Landa meaning all their work was not rewarded.

‘Superman’ Lopez got away and behind him the likes of Richie Porte and Rigoberto Uran started to fade.

Then it was the leaders turn with Primoz Roglic putting some daylight between him and Tadej Pogacar as the road got over 20% in steepness.

However Pogacar wasn’t gone for good and he battled back to limit his losses to 15 seconds meaning he is 57 down now against the yellow jersey.

This race is most definitely not done and I am enjoying every minute of it. Let’s see what today brings.

Virtual club 10 mile tt

Jeez that hurt.

I am not that into tss and other measures nowadays but tonight’s riding was up there.

If only the vines were fuller I’d be out of the sun.

For authenticity I created a virtual ride from home to the start om Tacx as well as our regular club 10 course.

So despite the heat and limited shade on the patio I was off to Helpston Heath before taking the start, the virtual start.

Ufford Hill is the bane of my life !

I started off ok but after the climb in the middle i dont mind admitting I was hanging on for dear life.

Happy with the time

The numbers were good but this isnt the real thing however its better than sitting on the sofa watching tv.

So far I haven’t been out on my bike too much during the UK lockdown and I might post my thoughts on that tomorrow.

Tired and hot… the ten is over

In the meantime I am off to get pizza and relax!

N&DCA 10

Thanks to eveyone who either took part of helped with the 10 over the weekend.

Conditions varied during the afternoon along with the temperature, so well done to all.

Click here for the report from Cycling Time Trials website.

Our report is below…

“Paul Lunn roared his way to the Fenland Clarion 10 mile championship on Saturday on the old A1 at Sawtry.

The race overall was won by 2nd claim Clarion rider Dave Langlands with a time of 20:26.

Lunn was the fastest of the Clarion riders with 22:11.

Season 2016 – The 2nd half

The second half of the racing season started with a lot less blizzards but me feeling really under cooked competitively. 

The main objective of that middle third was the time trial attached to the Tour of Cambs. I had ridden well the previous year but even better in the Gran Fondo. I wanted to qualify again for the GB squad but with the understanding that the worlds in Australia would not be viable for my family or I.

The time trial is on roads I know well. I have trained and raced on them for over two decades so there was no nasty surprises in store on that front. 

However the midweek club ten I had earmarked for final preparation was cancelled and I was sick with stomach cramps. I didn’t say anything at the time as it looks like you are getting your excuses in early. But I was hardly eating and had a fever. On the day before the event when I was signing on I was looking for what I hoped would be quiet places should I need to be sick before the race next day. It was a horrible feeling as I had sacrificed family time to train for this event, hours I would never be able to get back. And here I was stricken the night before knowing that it would take some real effort to do myself justice. 

The day of the event was overcast and really humid. It was the start of really warm spell of the summer. I rode from home to the event and started my warm up… 

The start ramp was nerve wracking and I had to concentrate hard (again) on not falling off. I am really grateful to the 10 or so friends and family who were there solely to cheer me on. When people put themselves out and give up their time for you it makes sure you stay honest when you are out on the course. 

I started well and caught a number of riders still on the Excel grounds. However a tough middle of the race after the big climb left me too much to do and despite a complete disregard for the plan and my power meter heading back I was done. 

At the finish I clung on to the railings whilst a helper tried to get my helmet off and give me water. That was the hardest thing I had ever done on a bike. I was oblivious to who was around me for a minute or so before my eyes started to focus. 

I had missed qualification but had done myself some level of justice. 

The time trials carried on coming and the cancellations as well. It got so ridiculous that one week a police chase and stand off closed the motorway near us and the ten course was being used to re-route traffic which was at a standstill and was not safe for a bike race. 

However with two rounds of the series left we finally got the night that I wanted and the 25m07s and 25m06s and 25m11s that had plagued me since May was destroyed in the golden August sunshine. 

I knew I was on for a decent ride at the turn having obeyed coach’s orders and ridden out easier using the power meter as a check. It was headwind (that there was) coming back and yet somehow I actually got quicker. As I hammered round the last roundabout and launched a sprint with what was left I knew it was now or never. 

24m44s was the result and it was job done for the season. The relief was palpable and the ride home against the Fenland sunset beautiful. 

My season was effectively over (I went a few seconds slower the following week), but I had learned a heck of a lot about myself and bike racing. Something that after 22 years of racing I never thought I would be in a position to say. 

The final act of the year was the Alps trip which was covered elsewhere on the website. 

Now I am training with 2017 and some even tougher goals in mind.