John doesn't like hills. Strangely, he has spent the early weeks of the season masochistically riding some hilly TTs for the Hemel, although he did dodge the Sid Latchford, very kindly offering to marshal that day.
So, he's hidden his form under something of a bushel, until last Tuesday when a speed training session exposed his resurgent athleticism. We kept that under wraps of course...
On to today, and he was obviously feeling strong, piling straight into the early break with Graham Dolby on the first lap. Joined by one more, the trio stayed together for most of the race.
|speed session last week. Don't worry, he does have a bike in team colours - thanks Eugene Rack for the pic|
This was surprising because the gruppo was being blown apart by the high pace as they tried to manage the gap. The front of this group numbered only 7 by the last lap including our Paul who was playing things canny as usual and keeping his powder dry.
|gratuitous sponsor promo pic|
They caught John's trio in plenty of time for the finale and it looked like a regular sprint finish was on the cards but John had prepared his own script and in characteristically 'Jean Diesel' style, he launched of the front just before the Ultimo Chilometro: "The guy on my wheel was napping, I had done a quick recce and I knew it was a fast finish which suits me - flat tailwind." And suit him it did - a massive solo effort propelled him over the line in fine style.
Paul had saved a lot of energy playing the team game in the main group so he was ready for the sprint, but couldn't quite get past Phil Rayner, taking 3rd place. "No real surprise there really," he reflects. "He's an ex international sprint specialist so I'm not too unhappy."
*sponsor message* Paul was trialling his new tmgpro VR001 aero jersey. This obviously didn't get him the win but his verdict on the new team issue? "Perfect".