Paul Blackmore writes…
Four EGCC members travelled out to Pisa, Italy for the second running of the Michelle Bartoli 8 man team time trial on Sunday 22nd March. Steve Dennis, Andy Seltzer and Paul Blackmore were joined by new boy Brian Phillips recruited to add horsepower to the team. Making up the rest of the team were three Italians and resident Italian Steve Blackmore.
The team arrived on Saturday and were out in the afternoon for a getting to know you training session. Despite an agreement to ride tempo and preserve the legs, certain individuals kept upping the pace and messers Seltzer, Blackmore P and S needed mechanical assistance at various times to get back on. So confidence was not too high that the team glue would stick throughout the race on Sunday.
Sunday morning the team all met at 9am and drove to the start at Forti di Marmi. The course was a flat 30 kilometres, a straight run only interrupted by two roundabouts and two dead turns. After a good 30 minute warm up the team mounted the start ramp and Steve Blackmore and Andy lead the team away at 11.05. The team kept a steady tempo with all the team going through and off until reaching the first turn at 8 kms. Here we caught two teams and steadily moved past 16 riders. With a slight tailwind for the next 15 kms the pace increased and the stronger riders started doing longer turns. But the team stayed compact and when we reached the last turn our average speed was 30 mph.
With Steve D doing big turns at the front, catching another team our last 7 kms to the finish was really hard. There were moments but we still stayed together as a team to the finish. Our target was to break 39 minutes, which would match our average speed of last year of 46.4 kmph. We did 37.52 with an average of 48.9 kmph or around 29 mph. A big improvement from last year and a great ride. Out of 174 teams, from all over Italy we came 20th, about two minutes down on the winners the National Fire Brigade team.