Paul Blackmore writes…
Paul Blackmore and Steve Dennis duly took the start line at 4.30pm on Sunday along with Steve Blackmore and two Italian teammates from the Bike Village Ciucci team, Valerio and Daniele, to compete in the Trofeo Cafe Berti 5 up TTT. The podium was the target but a 4th place in the end was an excellent result against some of the best teams from Tuscany.
Saturday the five man team met up to do an 80km dry run, trying different running orders, speeds and change over’s. Last minute replacement Daniele had to turn round soon after we started. Training went well all the time we had the breeze with us, things got harder as soon as we asked SD to go at race speed into the wind. We even lost Richard Blackmore driving the team car.
Our basic strategy for Sunday was to let SD set the pace, and for the four of us to go through and off giving him 30-40 seconds rest.
Warming up on the course it was quite windy, there was a big crowd, we needed Mike Anton to sweep the only doggy corner and we were all getting nervous.
Kitted out in Bike Village skinsuits and overshoes we blasted off and were immediately in trouble. Valerio had trouble keeping SD’s wheel and took him a 20-30 seconds to recover it. Meanwhile at the back Daniele ran into chain trouble and we lost him straight away. Finally Valerio went through, followed by Steven B then me. When SD got his rest and came through again, I was looking forward to a rest but instead got a shout to take SD’s wheel.
Laps 2 & 3 SD continued at the front with me doing a couple of turns to give him a break while SB and Valerio hang on trying to keep our 4 wheeled wagon intact. At the end of lap 3 I was now beginning to suffer, and got slightly confused when the bell didn’t ring and the lap board still showed 2. I was now worried as I couldn’t keep going through for 2 more laps.
Luckily the rest of the team could count, and SB and Valerio did a strong pull each on the last lap and with the elastic breaking SD carried us over the line in 22-17.
The conditions were clearly harder than last year as we were only 15 seconds quicker, but Bike Village management and sponsors were well impressed as this was the fasted time so far. Our top time still stood after the next batch of three teams with just the three top seeded teams remaining.
Much to our anguish the wind appeared to die just as previous course record holdersTeam Baglini started. Fagnini (second last year) were next then last years winners and Italian National TTT holders Cicli Maggi started last. After a couple of laps it was clear we were destined for 4th place but we were all pretty happy with that as we were only 40 odd seconds down on 2nd/3rd place.
Results 1st Baglini 20.57 2nd Cicli maggi 21.37 3rd Fagnini 21.40 4th Bike Village Ciucci 22.17 (Dennis, Blackmore, Blackmore)
So til next year, with a slightly stronger team, we could do it……..?