Tour of Thailand, Stage 4
200km’s of undulating terrain formed today’s quest. 100km’s of relatively flat racing until the undulating 100km final. Once we were into the hills everything changed, in a good way.
The group immediately began to splinter as all the Satalyst riders pushed forward. On several occasions we were represented by no less than 3-4 riders. We had talked about the prospect of this section of road forcing a significant split in the group as we all managed to make the front of the splintered peloton through the mid-section of the race.
From here the group came back together as another section of uphill road forced a small move to go off the front. Eventually we had Henry, Paul and myself in the group along with a good number of GC riders. From here continuing attacks whittled the group down further.
Henry was intent on claiming the KOM points and jersey for today’s stage and formed a good three man group up the road with 5km’s of the climb remaining. Some of the best riding I have seen from Henry. Eventually Paul managed to bridge to his front move as the front group had split in two.
Paul hit out for the KOM and took the points and the KOM Jersey for the tour, as this is the only KOM stage. From here the group came back together, with Henry and I working to bridge Paul to moves and keep him in contention.
Henry again hit out in the final 5km’s and rode solo for a good part here, another impressive show of strength highlighting how with age a bike rider can continue to mature.
From here on end Henry was pulled back only to drive Paul again to the front for the final sprint, with 3 riders clear off the front, Paul had 4th sown up, until a Korean rider smashed into his front wheel at 69km/hr destroying a $3000 wheel set. Luckily Paul kept it up and rolled over the line with no points claimed toward the green Jersey. Had this incident not occurred the Green Jersey would rest with the team.
A clear indication of the team good fitness at present was today’s race. Everyone played a pivotal role, Alex and Peter rode really well through the first 2/3’s of the race to set us up for the final nicely. Tomorrow features the final 200km stage over undulating terrain where we again will look for opportunity to move Paul up on GC. Good times, strong riding.
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