It was good to stretch the racing legs in today’s Giro del Piemonte but I know that I have lost the sharpness that I had at the start of the month.
I got through the race without any difficulties but the lack of racing in the past two weeks definitely had its effect.
I felt average for most of the 184 kilometres from Novi Ligure to Fossano but I was riding to conserve strength for Saturday’s Tour of Lombardy.
Today’s race was typically Italian, flat for the fist 100 kilometres, hilly in the middle and topped off with a climb on the finishing circuit.
We were forty or fifty kilometres into the race before a breakaway of two riders went away and the bunch settled into a steady tempo.
The three climbs of the Monforte d’Alba, La Morra and Novello weren’t too taxing and the speed only shot up over the final 30 kilometres.
I joined a lot of other riders who took the decision to sit up on the final climb which came with 3 kilometres to go and I finished in the bunch.
Philippe Gilbert showed once again that he is in excellent form with a victory to add to his wins in Paris Tours and the Coppa Sabatini.
Everyone today was riding with Lombardy in mind and it’s clear that Gilbert is going to be a marked man seeing that the finish there is perfect for him.
I don’t know right now if I’ll have the legs to be with the leading contenders on the final climbs on Saturday but I won’t be too far away.
It’s been a long season so I’m not stressing about the race and I’m looking forward to the end of the season and to taking a break.
I’ve already started to wind down and didn’t bother to take a look at the route for the 2010 Tour de France when it was unveiled yesterday.
I’ve been racing week in, week out since February so I’m not too bothered about a race that’s taking place in nine months time, even if it is the Tour.
July of next year is so far away that it doesn’t seem right to be looking at the route for the Tour, especially when I don’t know if I will be riding it.
It’s always the same in any case. A few stages in the Alps, a few stages in the Pyrenees with a couple of TTs thrown in along the way. The more things change, the more they remain the same! Am I right?