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PCM.daily » PCM Stories & Story Games » PCM 15: Stories
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The Life and Times | Axel's Army
jandal7
@Croatia - Seems like it Pfft Yep they've been doing well in the summer with results in the biggest early Kiwi races and the return to Roanne should be great for Joseph to see his mates again and continue his development there.

@Aquarius - BananaBanana It's an awesome result indeed, and an interesting position for an 18-year-old to be in for sure, one that'll be explored later.
30/12/14 - matt17br said "Sutty's birthday is more important than [Jesus' Birthday]"
24/2/21 - kandesbunzler said “I don’t drink famous people.”
8/12/13 - welker3257 said [when asked for a cyclist beginning with K] "Tom Boonen."

[ICL] Santos-Euskadi | The Life And Times | [For real doomed] i.imgur.com/c85NSl6.png Xero Racing
[CX] Listerijns & Kiwis

i.imgur.com/PdCbs9I.png
i.imgur.com/RPIlJYr.png
3x i.imgur.com/wM6Wok5.png x3
i.imgur.com/olRsxdu.png
 
jandal7
S6B/E7
i.imgur.com/8iKuzOs.jpg
Level Up!

"Our first big race wasn't in France, but in Italy."

The next week was spent settling in - we chose to rent a different flat for the year as with Hayden there it wouldn't fit, so along with the rest of the increasing number of Anglophone riders on the team (six, with us four Kiwis, Cad and Nick Schultz), we decided to get a bigger flat and split the cost. The result was a pretty unhygienic, barebones but surprisingly cosy and cost-efficient way of life - the biggest room reserved for all our cycling gear.

We had one race before the end of March - a local hilly race, one of the first of the year. None of us had many ambitions to get a result, we all just wanted to finish. In the end I joined a very ill-fated attack, Richie got cramps, Cad got dropped, Schultz also attacked but failed, and Hayden came fifth in the sprint.

Our first big race wasn't in France, in fact it was in Italy - the U23 Trofeo PIVA. A tough, hilly course from the get-go, it was one that Hayden would tend to do very well on. Not many riders tended to finish this one, and Ollie didn't manage it. I tried to keep Hayden safe and rested in the pack to see if he could have a shot at the win. When the decisive move went he was a bit too far back to follow and so had to settle for 2nd in the pack sprint behind Caleb Ewan, which nobody can really be unhappy with, for 7th in the race. Not a bad start for him, or for me, as I managed to come 14th.
Edited by jandal7 on 24-04-2020 06:45
 
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jandal7
S6B/E8
i.imgur.com/8iKuzOs.jpg
New Thrills

Hayden and I went in mixed directions in mid-April. Hayden headed to the Circuit des Ardennes whilst I was itching to see what I would make of the U23 Ronde van Vlaanderen.

Stage 1 actually ended in a mass sprint despite the climb near the end, where Hayden finished 10th. Throughout the day he had conversations with two other Kiwi cyclists, Sean Hambrook, another Kiwi in France and Alex Frame, a year older than him, riding for the Giant U23 team. De Negri and Bole completed a 1-2 for Nippo.

Stage 2 was more selective, being won by a Danish rider ahead of the eventual GC winner Wisniowski. Bole won the bunch sprint ahead of a Russian and Hayden, in fifth! Quickly navigating his way through the adult world of .2, even if it was just in sprints.

Bole finally got his win ahead of countryman Mugerli on Stage 3 as Wisniowski claimed the GC lead from a group of about 20. Hayden didn't quite make it there after some bad positioning but Schultz did.

Stage 4 was a bit flatter. In the end, Hayden was caught out of position down in 22nd. Hayden finished 27th on GC after his trouble on stage 3 whilst Schultz made 12th.

In Flanders, I had no idea what to expect. I knew it had a reputation for not being as hard as the real thing even with the shorter length, but I had literally never ridden the cobbles in a race and not often anyway. I decided to play it by ear and stay in the pack early on. In the end I finished - much more than I expected, and quite enjoyed the race. Despite the pain of the cobbled hills I handled them fairly well, and only had one crash, finishing 31st, in the second group to finish!
 
jandal7
S6B/E9
i.imgur.com/8iKuzOs.jpg
Hill Rush

"The rest of April saw a packed U23 calendar to sink our teeth into."

Three days after the end of the Circuit des Ardennes was La Côte Picarde, a fairly hilly race. Hayden helped drive a late breakaway clear last year but finished third behind Sean de Bie and the winner and Caleb Ewan, who seems to be his nemesis so far in his career! This time the goal was to try something similar, except now he had me to help him drive pace up the final climb.

The job of Ollie and Richie was to keep Hayden safe for the final climb, where I would start to set pace at the front of the race along with whoever else was doing so. I set to work once Hayden was in position in about sixth wheel. I didn't do much damage but neutralised the climb for him, and the pack was now around 40 riders, including Richie, Hayden and I. In the end, Hayden didn't attack and so the same group began the descent for a shot at the final, flat sprint. The favourites would likely be the Frenchman Boudat and Kragh Andersen, the Dane, both from '94 like Hayden.

The sprint saw me and Ollie doing our best to drop Hayden off on the wheel of the Danes, which was Cort leading out Andersen. Hayden didn't find the gear to go but managed to stay behind the front row of sprinters to take 5th.

Just a few days later was the prestigious Liège-Bastogne-Liege Espoirs, a hilly race with a flat finish and maybe a bit tougher than La Côte Picarde. Last year Hayden was 2nd in the main group sprint for 7th in the race. This year his goal was to win the whole thing. He attacked over the final climb and ended up in a group of three out in front with Teuns and Benoot, both Belgians. They held the advantage. He was a little disadvantaged for the sprint and so just kept on Benoot's wheel as Teuns lead it out. He ran out of road to overhaul the young Belgian but still earned a credible second. Back in the main pack I put in a late attack once it seemed we wouldn't catch up to Hayden and co. I was caught again with 500m left but it was a good feeling to make my first move in an U23 race as I finished 24th in the end.
 
Croatia14
wow they are on the move to something great truely!
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Raziz
This is going well!
 
jandal7
@Croatia14 - Yep it's looking like a bright future for the duo, especially Hayden right now!

@Raziz - Sure is Wink
30/12/14 - matt17br said "Sutty's birthday is more important than [Jesus' Birthday]"
24/2/21 - kandesbunzler said “I don’t drink famous people.”
8/12/13 - welker3257 said [when asked for a cyclist beginning with K] "Tom Boonen."

[ICL] Santos-Euskadi | The Life And Times | [For real doomed] i.imgur.com/c85NSl6.png Xero Racing
[CX] Listerijns & Kiwis

i.imgur.com/PdCbs9I.png
i.imgur.com/RPIlJYr.png
3x i.imgur.com/wM6Wok5.png x3
i.imgur.com/olRsxdu.png
 
AbhishekLFC
Caught up after quite some time. Glad to see the guys progressing well in their careers and challenging for wins now. The only way is up for sure Smile
 
jandal7
AbhishekLFC wrote:
Caught up after quite some time. Glad to see the guys progressing well in their careers and challenging for wins now. The only way is up for sure Smile

Awesome to hear Grin Yeah it's been a good 18 months for them for sure and they just keep improving.
30/12/14 - matt17br said "Sutty's birthday is more important than [Jesus' Birthday]"
24/2/21 - kandesbunzler said “I don’t drink famous people.”
8/12/13 - welker3257 said [when asked for a cyclist beginning with K] "Tom Boonen."

[ICL] Santos-Euskadi | The Life And Times | [For real doomed] i.imgur.com/c85NSl6.png Xero Racing
[CX] Listerijns & Kiwis

i.imgur.com/PdCbs9I.png
i.imgur.com/RPIlJYr.png
3x i.imgur.com/wM6Wok5.png x3
i.imgur.com/olRsxdu.png
 
jandal7
S6B/E10
i.imgur.com/8iKuzOs.jpg
To Top it Off

"The last race before a mini-break was the U23 Rund um den Finanzplatz."

Just a few days laster, the end of our racing period in the north was over with the U23 Rund um den Finanzplatz. Less of a top quality startlist but some fairly big talents in there when you look back - Bystrom, Cort, Pedersen, Walscheid, H. Vaillenos, Kragh Anderson... not a bad startlist. If this was to be a sprint, it would be one for Hayden to go for. We tried and succeeded to slip somebody into the breakaway - Ollie prevailed after helping power away a group.

They were pulled back in fairly early, and on some false flats with about 30km left there was a fairly big attack. I followed it and in the end got away with Politt, Bystrom and Pedersen - the Dane who I'd been in a succesful mid-stage attack with before. I won then :)

I wasn't the strongest rider around but I held my own in that group and held up my end of the pace-making bargain. To my surprise, we were staying away. Around 1:30 with 10km left, we could do this! I knew vaguely that Pedersen and Bystrom were decent in a finish - I didn't know much about Politt except he was German, therefore dangerous here. These thoughts were in the back of my mind but I focused on staying clear.

With 5km left Politt tried to power clear. The other two left it but Bystrom launched a counter to bridge the gap, and me and Pedersen could follow. We still had over a minute but we kept the pace going after that until 3km to go, where Politt tried the same trick. I was in his wheel and followed, and everybody managed to in the end. I wasn't sure what to do here but I wasn't going to die/come third in a sprint wondering.

I launched my own move, a bit punchier than what Politt had been trying, with a little over 1km left. I actually dropped him but the other two managed to follow, and forced me onto the front for the finish. I started to attempt some manoeuvres to get into their wheels but these two Scandinavians knew what they were doing. They went past me with 200m left to battle it out (Pedersen 1st, Bystrom 2nd). I sprinted and wasn't far behind, and found myself on the podium at the end! A very good race for me but in a cliche way, although I'd have loved a podium were it offered to me I was a bit dissapointed with third, and frustrated at myself.

Back to Rhône now, and our merry band returning empty-handed as far as victories went. Not that we were expecting any at that point - in fact when we talked over it with Alain it was a real confidence booster as we looked to put in some hard training back in Roanne.
 
Ollie23
I can understand the frustration with third after that finish but it's still a place on the podium, a very impressive result! Congrats!
 
Croatia14
Still a Podium in Frankfurt is a nice achievement really. Great that you are back jands!
ICL20 // Euskaltel Story // Can't Slow Down // 21 and Done // Dreams of a Viper

since 2018: Radsim'05: Astana
Most Improved Team 2018 & 2019 // Manager of the Year 2018, 2019 & 2020

PCM.daily Awards:
Most Improved Member '16 // MG New Manager '16 // Thread of the Year (PCT Roundtable Analysis) '17 '18 '19 // Most Helpful Member '18 '19 '20 // MG Team of the Year (Isostar - Adriatic) '18 // MG Manager of the Year '18 '19 // Member of the Year '19
pcmdaily.com/files/Awards2019/moty.png
i.imgur.com/LIXbw59.png
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RSM-news/PCM.daily 2019 DB Updates: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4
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jandal7
@Ollie and Croatia - Yeah it's a very good race really for Joseph to get a podium in this category!

Been wanting to bring this back for a while but got a bit of block whenever I tried so just focused on continuing some long-term plotting - very happy with how that went Grin
30/12/14 - matt17br said "Sutty's birthday is more important than [Jesus' Birthday]"
24/2/21 - kandesbunzler said “I don’t drink famous people.”
8/12/13 - welker3257 said [when asked for a cyclist beginning with K] "Tom Boonen."

[ICL] Santos-Euskadi | The Life And Times | [For real doomed] i.imgur.com/c85NSl6.png Xero Racing
[CX] Listerijns & Kiwis

i.imgur.com/PdCbs9I.png
i.imgur.com/RPIlJYr.png
3x i.imgur.com/wM6Wok5.png x3
i.imgur.com/olRsxdu.png
 
Ollie23
Keep 'em coming as long as you're having fun with it and it doesn't feel like a chore Smile
 
jandal7
Ollie23 wrote:
Keep 'em coming as long as you're having fun with it and it doesn't feel like a chore Smile

Always enjoy writing this - not planning on stopping till it's done! Grin
30/12/14 - matt17br said "Sutty's birthday is more important than [Jesus' Birthday]"
24/2/21 - kandesbunzler said “I don’t drink famous people.”
8/12/13 - welker3257 said [when asked for a cyclist beginning with K] "Tom Boonen."

[ICL] Santos-Euskadi | The Life And Times | [For real doomed] i.imgur.com/c85NSl6.png Xero Racing
[CX] Listerijns & Kiwis

i.imgur.com/PdCbs9I.png
i.imgur.com/RPIlJYr.png
3x i.imgur.com/wM6Wok5.png x3
i.imgur.com/olRsxdu.png
 
jandal7
@ALL - Wrote this episode a few weeks ago and lost it, so this is a rewrite. This isn't a great one but it's what I needed to get back. Hope to find some time and get a bit of this going more regularly.

S6B/E11
i.imgur.com/8iKuzOs.jpg
Peace Out

"Back into it."

Back into it after some time off training and it was the Peace Tour in the Czech Republic. Three days, the first especially suited to Hayden. The second was a MTF, the third finished on a small hill. A stage win on day one was the target for us, and then to see what Richie, Mac or Hayden could do on stages 2 and 3.

The first stage we didn't help out with pace setting as usual. Nothing personal but we don't need to or have the numbers. We set up Hayden the sprint well and he came second, but unfortunately, there was a two-man escape who stole the victory. Day two was the big MTF and we all just tried to hang on as best as we could. In the end Hayden came in the first bigger group in the lower top 10, whilst Richie and Mac were in the 20s and I was in the 30s. A pretty awesome result!

Stage three Hayden was amped up for trying to go for the top 5 on GC. At the bottom of the climb he followed all the right moves and decided to put in a counter of his own with 800m left. It didn't work but he finished in the first group in sixth place, for a GC position of seventh. Not a bad outing but still no sweet taste of victory. Next up was a return to the Pays de Savoie tour, a 2.2 race where I planned to try to suffer less than last year, given the four summit finishes in as many days.
 
jandal7
S6B/E12
i.imgur.com/8iKuzOs.jpg
Big Ass Climbs

"Croix de Fer, Telegraphe, Cormet de Roselend."

The Tour des Pays de Savoie took in some truly massive climbs - Croix de Fer and the Col du Telegraphe being the most iconic. Our squad here was usually the older French guys but Hayden, Schultzy and I had earned our spot in the squad. Mac was also here with his Lotto - Belisol U23 squad.

I was looking forward to testing myself but mostly just abject suffering. I'd rode up some of France's iconic climbs but never raced them at this level.

The first day included a passage of the Croix de Fer first up and it was hell. I was dropped with the first group and wouldn't rejoin. I finished in the grupetto, whilst Hayden managed to come in the reduced front group after a steady uphill finish including two steeper climbs on the way.

The second stage finished at the foot of the Galibier after a passage of the Col du Telegraphe and a short descent. The highlight of the day for me was not suffering up the iconic prelude but the easy pace of the peloton over the stunning Lacets de Montvernier climb. For once I actually got to take in the views and it was a special experience seeing the hairpins below me.

i.imgur.com/wbPBFHV.jpg

However over the Cat.1 climb which followed I was unceremoniously dropped. I had a decent chat to Mac on the flats in the grupetto before the Telegraphe - Valloire finish. Hayden was dropped on the Telegraphe but battled to a top 10 on the stage and therefore the GC.

Two hills in a short TT meant Hayden didn't lose as much time as he normally would in an ITT but still slipped outside the top 10 on GC. I just took as much of a rest day as possible to prepare for tomorrow's summit finish and 4000m+ of elevation gain! Again on Stage 4 I was dropped and finished towards the bottom - a multi-mountain summit finish is not my cup of tea since I've barely done them before. Same for Hayden, who slipped further down the rankings.

The picteuresque Plateau des Glieres was the high point of the final stage and I surprisingly found enough strength to make it over the top with the main group. However on the day's final 5km (at 9%!) climb I was severely dropped, and ended up being caught by the grupetto. Hayden held on to the main front group and even managed to sprint for 7th on the day. He ended up 17th on GC, not bad at all. I think this tour really changed us as we realised to ride at the top (well, for me it was to not get OOT) in these stages we loved to watch it would take much more training.

And so in anticipation of this year's Avenir, Hayden really stepped up his multi-mountain training in his spare time. I went along to most of them as it was my favourite type of stage even if I wasn't as inclined to it as he was.

As for the racing, next up was some amateur racing before another Alpine stage race in a month's time on the Italian side of the border, and a visit to our cousins in Lombardia after.
 
jandal7
S6B/E13
i.imgur.com/8iKuzOs.jpg
Aosta

"Another week in the mountains would be a tough test."

A very hot July saw two major amateur races take place in Rhône for us to take part in. One Hayden was sure he could win over some rolling terrain, the other one was rather flat. I was hoping to ride aggressively - I loved the thrill of .2 and U23 racing but Finanzplatz aside I'd been missing being at the front of affairs. I attacked in both, the first flat one at the start, where I held on to the final splintered bunch to finish 24th. The second one Hayden and I had made a plan where I would try to drive a move away that he wouldn't have to chase.

However in smaller races things don't always play out as they might in a peloton. Over this rolling loop I broke away with 24km to go and two companions. However a) we never caught an earlier move and b) we were never caught.

I ended up leaving my companions behind on the final lap and rolled in fourth, best of the bunch. I was pretty happy with that, a little confidence booster for sure.

The next race we did was the U23 Giro Valle d'Aosta, another mountainous stage race. An uphill prologue, some mountain days and one medium mountain day were on the menu. Hayden wanted to ride for GC but also had one eye on the medium mountain Stage 2 if he got the chance to sprint from the bunch.

7.3km at over 5% isn't nice in a RR but for me a TT of it is even less fun. Don't get me wrong, I love climbing, but it's damned boring to do TT climbing. Just get some scales and a power meter and be done with it. Many couldn't be bothered trying but unfortunately I am cursed to not be able to do that and so I climbed to the upper middle pack. Hayden finished a little outside the top 10.

Stage 1 had two Cat.1 climbs including a summit finish (which was false flats after the climb really). I made it over the first one with the pack but was dropped on the second one. Hayden finished just outside the top 10 again, in the second main group. Stage 2, however, was a great day as Hayden followed the attacks on the final Cat.2 climb and, although he was too tired to win, sprinted to third from the reduced group and moved to the top 10 overall.

Stage 3 had lots of climbs but with a flat/false flat finish may not result in the biggest of gaps. Hayden again climbed into the second group and stayed in the top 10, slipping to 10th though.

Stage 4 was to Cervinia, a staple of the Giro Valle d'Aosta. Short, at just 110km, but with a Cat.2 midway through, a Cat.1 Col St. Pantaleon before going down and straight back up to the Cat.1 Cervinia. I decided it's the last day so what the hell, let's go in a break! However, getting into a breakaway is easier said than done and I'd suffer for my many efforts.

i.imgur.com/xWTkwf6.jpg

That's basically how I was on the St. Pantaleon and Cervinia climbs, except Majka won that stage and I... didn't.

Hayden climbed well and secured his top 10. Certainly showing great signs of progress looking to improve his climbing. He was a pretty good all-arounder by now on the U23 scene, despite not being among the best, with hills, sprints and even these mountains. As for me? Suffering mostly, but I knew that I had fingers in a few pies for different parcours types, but I'm nowhere near the U23 top. Finanzplatz told me that I could compete with some luck, and hopefully in a year or two, could compete how I could in the juniors (not at the top, but thereabouts).

After Valle d'Aosta we headed across the North of Italy to see our cousins in Lombardy - a nice relaxation from the constant training and racing.

4/4/2018
Hey Lana,
I've got a race in Flanders soon. If you want to meet up I'll come down to Brittany after?

Miss you,
J
 
jandal7
@ALL - I got myself into a bit of a rut with some samey reports and combined with MG, TCT, real life of course and some others this has been on the backburner. However the best way to come back is to use my main inspiraion for this story this year which has been plotting future events some more. So let's start... now!
S6B/E14
i.imgur.com/8iKuzOs.jpg
Ring Ring

"As PCM tells us, July is contract time."

"Oi Joseph! Some Belgian dude on the phone for you!" Cad shouted. I leapt off the sofa and rushed to our landline. Phone calls from various unknown Europeans were exactly what was wanted in our apartment for a few weeks now. Nick had already got one from Ettix - Quickstep's development squad to snap him up for a stagiare contract and though it was unspoken, Hayden in particular was hoping for the phone to ring.

"Hello, yes, this is Joseph."
...
"Wow, uh, ok."
...
"Yes of course I am!"
...
"Yes I will, I'm sure he'll want to sign."
...
"Goodbye. Thank you Mr. Merckx."
4/4/2018
From: Lana
That's going to take a while. Guess you'll have to spend the night ;)
 
Aquarius97
Axeon contract i guess? Grin
Manager of [MG] Repsol - Netflix


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