2014 National Capital Tour Blog: Stage 2 By Scott Bradburn

By Scott Bradburn ??Cellarbrations Racing Team My previous experience on today?s roads was gained riding the Milk Race in ?97 and my only memory was the stress of picking the right plank on some of the bridge crossings. Apparently things have changed since then. Riders do pre rolls now and the bridges are tarred. I still don?t know if I like the first evolution but I am down with the second. After hitting my ?Top 99? target yesterday, I thought I?d be a little more aspirational today and set the bar higher. Top 20. Easy to say, but looking through the results from yesterday I reckon there were 40-50 guys who would have similar expectations. My plan was to ride at the front, ride conservatively, eat, drink and squeeze everything out on the final climb. Yep, like everyone else. The Cellarbrations team were sitting in 11th before today?s stage and we were very keen to move into the points (Top 10). With Josh stomping up every climb raced over the last month and Declan and myself able to hang in, we had the opportunity to do a decent team GC. I was a little conflicted going in with such a conservative mindset. This year I haven?t bothered racing if I didn?t have the form to ride positively and aggressively ? but you have to weigh up the cost benefit. NRS history suggested that a hill top finish = very very slim chance of a successful break and the GC situation wasn?t in its favour either. Anyway ? the race. Things started with the normal kamikaze neutral section. A Sprint and KOM in the first 10km meant it was not a peaceful beginning. After 20 minutes of crazy fast racing things settled down as a ?safe? break had been established. Search2Retain took to the front and kept things under control for the next few hours, slowly reeling in the break. This gave everyone in the pelo a chance to have a chat and even a wee without the fear of losing contact. Quite different from last year from what I?m told. With 20km to go the break was caught and the speed picked up as the big teams fought for position leading up to the final climb. From my team, Josh and I sat safely in the top 20 thanks to earlier help from the boys. Finally we hit the climb and it was on. I was now about 10th wheel and still feeling okay. Then, a mini disaster ? a dropped chain! First world problems huh, but I might have sworn. I got going as the front group peeled away, at least Josh was in there. Mark O?Brien launched from the front and had a good lead until the final km. Ben Dyball took over and won by 30 seconds from Tim Roe and Matt Clarke, classy ride. Josh finished 6th which is no less than I expected. It?s really great to see his talent now being converted at the NRS level. I recovered to roll in 23rd and Declan put in a strong ride which allowed us to improve our team GC from 11th to 6th. A successful day. Massive thanks to Rusty, Laura and the whole team for their help today ? it?s a luxury not having to worry about getting bidons and knowing if you slip back there will be a guy happy to ride in the wind to take you up the front again. Time to eat!

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