A - WINNER MIKE HOLT
plan for the Vuelta was to improve my times
and placing from last year. Stage 1 - The
TT course is a rolling out and back course.
There was a headwind going out and a nice
tailwind on the way back in. I was the 10th
person to go. Last year my time for this 18:22
and I was figuring I would be able to get
in the high 17's this year. I started a little
to quickly and could feel it my legs for the
first minute or so, but then I settled down
and got in a nice rythym. I passed 2 people
before the turn around and 2 people after
the turn around. In the end I had a time of
17:24. This put me in 4th, around 50 seconds
behind the leader, Allan Armstrong, who had
an outstanding TT of 16:38 (a new course record).
Stage 2 - Crit. Im not big fan of crits so
I wasn't looking forward to this stage. The
plan was for the guys closest time wise to
sit in and for everyone else to attack and
make Allan bring them back. Once the race
started people started taking off. At one
point it started to look like the only people
left in the pack were the top 4 riders. The
pack would catch most of them after a couple
of laps but it went this way the first 10
laps. At lap 10 Allan put the hammer down
and broke our group of 10 down to 5. This
acceleration dropped the 2nd place GC rider.
He kept the pace real high for the next 5
laps and we caught everyone but 2 riders.
After resting for 2 laps Allan took off again
in effort to drop us and to catch the 2 man
break in front of us.. It was like this until
the last 500 yards or so. Right before the
last turn we slowed to about 10 mph and watched
each other. I think Allan was watching Todd
and I got about 5 yards in front of them.
When this happened I took off and hoped I
could hold them off. I survived to pick up
3rd place and the 10 second time bonus.
Stage 3 - 48 miles Road Race. I was in 2nd
place, 40 seconds back, Todd Studenicka was
in 3rd, 45 seconds back, and Daryl Spano was
in 4th (around a minute back). Everyone else
was a couple of minutes behind us. The plan
was to attack and get Allan to chase and tire
him out before the climbing time bonuses.
Todd took off as soon as the race started
and was caught a few miles later. Then he
took off again and was caught right before
Sycamore. Going up Sycamore Daryl, Allan,
and myself battled for the first time bonus
but Allan beat us to the top and gained 10
more seconds. Time for a new startegy. This
time Daryl and I would attack. At the climb
up Uvas Dam we took off and they chased. We
caught one more rider and got about a 1/4
mile away from the pack but then Allan brought
them back to within a few yards off. Daryl
and I even slowed to meet the pack but they
slowed at the same time so we took off again.
The road race now became a 2 man TT for the
last 2 laps. We must have looked like the
odd couple out there, with me weighing over
200 lbs and Daryl about half that. We pushed
it pretty good and got over Sycamore in front
of the pack, Daryl gave me the time bonus.
I was hurting pretty bad at this point and
did what could to hang with Daryl. His pulls
definitely became longer the last lap. But
we mangaged to hold off the pack and Daryl
took first and I got second. We finished 2
minutes in front of the main group. With the
time bonuses and the extra 2 minutes, I moved
into 1st and Daryl moved into 2nd. Thanks
to everyone who attacked, pulled, and blocked
wind for their efforts.