Simon Clarke nets fifth place for GreenEdge in Tour du Haut Var
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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Simon Clarke nets fifth place for GreenEdge in Tour du Haut Var

by Kyle Moore at 9:22 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Aussie suffered gearing trouble in stage two finale

Simon ClarkeSimon Clarke (GreenEdge) pedaled to two fifth place finishes in the Tour du Haut Var over the weekend, netting the Australian fifth place overall in the two-day race. 

But it was the extra pedaling he had to do in the finale of Sunday’s decisive stage that had Clarke wondering what might have been at the finish.  Equipment trouble struck as he was moving away with a four-man breakaway in the final 15 kilometers of stage two, hampering the Aussie on the run in to Fayence.

“My battery went flat with ten kilometers to go, so I was left in only the 39 chain ring,” he admitted on the team’s website.  “Hence my riding at 150 cadence for the last ten kilometers.  I only had the 19 cog to ride up the 26 percent hill at the finish.  Unfortunately that ruined my race.”

Indeed when Julien Simon (Saur-Sojasun) sparked an attack on the flats before the final climb, Julien El Fares (Team Type 1-Sanofi) followed, and Clarke lit out after them.  But he was seen glancing down at his gearing as he tried to catch up, and his bright yellow cycling shoes turned to a blur as he fought a gear less than ideal for a breakaway.

Clarke would successfully latch on, and he was part of the four-man breakaway that nearly went the distance, but his gearing malfunction cost him again on the final climb.  He said that good form made the unfortunate problems even more frustrating.

“I’m happy with my condition,” he said.  “When you have good condition, you want to make the most of it.  It’s disappointing when something like bad luck prevents you from doing that.  Hopefully it’s a sign that I can have a good spring.”

Clarke also noted the accomplishments of his team, especially Australian road champion Simon Gerrans, who himself put in a dig as part of a breakaway.

“We rode well today,” Clarke continued.  “With Simon Gerrans, we have a clear and strong captain on the road.  The group that’s here will ride the hillier classics together.
“We all have a fairly similar program, and it’s important that we get to know each other and learn to work well as a group for all the races that we have together in the next few weeks.  I can definitely take away some positives from the way the team rode this weekend.”


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