In my first season as a 70.3 pro, I have been fortunate enough to see some of the most beautiful places our world has to offer.
There are very few places which will top my latest visit to the eastern coastline of Italy, to a town on the Adriatic Sea, Pescara.
I arrived here on Monday, a week prior to raceday. I spent the week touring the countryside of villages and mountains around Pescara. Some of the most pristine cycling on offer had me wanting more every day.
Race day arrived, contrary to the weeks weather, a storm brewed up over night, a we woke to a washing machine of a sea and strong winds. The tougher, the better I thought.
The swim was tricky and as per european custom, very rough and aggressive. I swam a wide line and exited the water in around 17th spot, about 1:45min down on the front.
I settled into my rhythm on the bike and pushed steadily up the long climbs. Soon we were a group of around 8 or 9 guys, with 4 more about 1:30min up the road.
On the climb I went to the front and pushed the tempo. The bunch didn’t follow and I was left to chase alone. I was quickly joined by a strong german who powered the flats and soon we caught the chase group of 3. The german pushed on and I decided to hold back to save my effort for the final climb at 50km.
As we reached the base of the climb, I went to the front and put the pressure on again. Again, the chasers didn’t follow and I was riding solo for the final 40km.
I felt pretty comfortable and conserved energy where I could. The headwind didn’t make things easy, especially along the flat open highway heading toward town. The chasers dangled about 30-45sec behind me, but I decided to head intoT2 with a small gap and get running.
Heading to T2 about 1:30min down on the front, I focussed hard on what I needed to do. I have been working on my run and knew I was able to run 3:25/km pace.
I set off quicker than that and was feeling really good. I managed to catch the 2 leaders at 10km and pushed straight past. The 4 lap run allows you to see your opposition at every turnaround, so I knew who was coming from behind and who was hurting.
I settled into a solid tempo on the 3rd lap and then pushed for home on the final 5km. A run split of sub-72min saw me hold off a strong charge by Victor del Corral to claim my first win on the 70.3 world tour.
I savoured the run in through the cheering crowds and enjoyed the hype around an event and win which I had worked so hard for.
Next up, 70.3 UK and Luxembourg.