Tour of Britain 2010 Part I

Dan Craven, Rapha Condor Sharp’s Namibian powerhouse, writes from the 2010 Tour of Britain.

WORDS: Dan Craven | PHOTOS: Gavin Campbell

ToB Stage 1

Waking heart rate: 52 (nerves?)

Rapha Condor Sharp’s (sponsors, staff, supporters and riders) season highlight is finally upon us and the team got the first day nerves out of the way, all of us finishing safely in the bunch.

Thanks to John’s (Herety) decision to use a campervan for the event, the team has been having a great time and the pressure dissolves nicely as we sit in the back joking away. Everyone is mighty chuffed as hiding from the rain at the start suddenly becomes comfortable and hassle free. Not to mention that we get to sit behind a drawn screen and look out at everyone milling about outside – endless hours of entertainment. And, of course, we have a toilet on board so no need to run around looking for a cafe, tree or dingy alleyway before the start of the race. Great, that is, if someone doesn’t lock you in there…

Team Soigneur, Martyn Frank, currently seems to be reveling in his task of ‘running the camper’, making sure all is clean, stocked and ready to go. Somehow though I doubt that we’ll be making his life very easy. With cupboards full of goodies (less tempting things like apples and bananas or more exciting things like waffles or jelly babies), the post stage drive back to the hotel suddenly becomes a lot more interesting. Of course, we can’t go overboard and Martyn’s keeping a watchful eye on us, but we’re allowed something nice after the stage today was run entirely in the wet. So much for the new white socks we were given last night… Bring on the black socks I say!

ToB Stage 2

Waking heart rate: 60

Pro racing is weird. Expectations for today’s stage were fulfilled, but all for different reasons. Everyone was expecting one of two things: Either for it to be the decisive stage due to some very hard hills and potential crosswinds wrecking havoc with the bunch. Or, a soft move would go up the road, HTC Columbia would control things nicely, bring them back at the end and line it up for another bunch sprint.

Well, it was a sprint (small, but still a sprint), and it was highly decisive, but none of the two assumed scenarios played themselves out. A mere eighteen minutes into the race, two men jumped clear of the bunch, I jumped across to them, only to see Patrik Sinkewitz dragging what appeared to be the bunch back across to us. Only it wasn’t. A split had occurred in the bunch and so a group of about twenty riders got away and stayed away for the rest of the day with a clear gap over the ‘‘demotivated’’ bunch.

With the GC group now firmly established, focus amongst the team changes rather drastically. From now onwards I have one goal for the rest of the tour, which is either maintaining or improving upon my position. The rest of the team is now firmly set on getting into breakaways and hoping that they stay away until the end. With the big time gap created today the likelihood of small breaks has been given the freedom to run and staying away has increased dramatically.

Now all I have to do is stay up there on GC and hope the rest of the boys get into the breaks. Wow… Black on white, that sounds so easy on paper… If only it was.

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION (after two stages)

1. Greg Henderson | Sky Pro Cycling Team
2. Michael Albasini | Team HTC-Columbia
3. Heinrich Haussler | Cervelo Test Team
4. Richie Porte | Team Saxo Bank
5. Koen De Kort | Skil-Shimano
6. Michael Golas | Vacansoleil Pro Cycling
7. Patrick Sinkewitz | ISD-Neri Giambenini
8. Borut Bozic | Vacansoleil Pro Cycling
9. Travis Meyer | Garmin-Transitions
10. Dan Craven | Rapha-Condor-Sharp
11. Christian Meier | Garmin-Transitions
12. Johnny Hoogerland | Vacansoleil Pro Cycling
13. Robert Partridge | Endura Racing
14. Bradley Wiggins | Sky Pro Cycling Team
15. Geraint Thomas | Sky Pro Cycling Team
16. Russell Downing | Sky Pro Cycling Team
17. Andre Greipel | Team HTC-Columbia
18. Martin Reimer | Cervelo Test Team
19. Michael Van Stayen| Topsport Vlaanderen
20. Andrew Tennant | Motorpoint-Marshalls Pasta