Over the next five days the New Zealand Cycle Classic is occurring in the Wairarapa. A friend of Qwik Kiwi, Ironman athlete Chris Sanson is riding the tour for the fifth time. Each day he will be giving a qwik interview (Qwik-View) that will be posted here at 7pm. You will gain a Qwik insight into the life of a Tour rider in a multi-stage, multi-day race. Chris is a top level Iron-distance athlete having placed in the top ten in BOTH Challenge Wanaka and Ironman Taupo last year. Riding for the Bike Barn Team yesterday’s Qwik-View can be found here.
QK: Hi Chris, well done today. I understand that it was quite windy in parts and you finished in the main bunch only 15 seconds behind the yellow jersey. How did the team ride today? Did it follow the team plan?
CS: Hi Ray, yes there was a bit of wind out there today. At 30km into the race the pace went down in the cross wind and everything split up. Myself and two others in the team were lucky to stay in the front group but the other two in the team missed the spilt. The team plan was to try for the break but once only 4 got away it was just about looking after Jake who is hoping to ride well on GC. The 15 seconds is a little bit frustrating. There must have been a small gap in the bunch across the line for that to happen.
QK: The break got out to nearly six minutes before the peleton put the pressure on. With 10km left and the gap was comfortably above a minute, I didn’t think the peleton was going to catch them today. What is it like when the chase begins in earnest and who made the call for the peleton to go after the break?
CS: With only four riders up the road and two big teams not represented it was always going to be pulled in close to the finish. ONE Pro Cycling and JLT Condor put the pace on with 20km to go and it come back really fast. They timed it spot on.
Chris riding up Saddle Hill in a previous NZCC (c) Jack McKenzie Photography
QK: Tomorrow sees Stage 2 go from Masterton all the way to Martinborough where you do nine laps of an 8km circuit with multi sprint Primes, covering 136km. The wind is likely to play a big factor with Nor’ Westers forecast giving you a tail-cross wind. What is likely to happen in the race tomorrow?
CS: With everyone finishing together today the race is still wide open. At a guess: again it will start really fast and teams will want someone up the road. With the circuit being only 8k with lots of turns it should be easy to deal with the wind. It’s when there are long straights that people can get caught out. If there is a hard point on the circuit we will have to deal with it every twelve minutes which will catch up on you.
QK: How is your body feeling and what will you do tonight to prepare your body to back up tomorrow?
CS: I found today’s racing pretty hard. I am still feeling sore from racing on Sunday in the Gravel and Tar race, but I’m used to that and we get better as the days go on. The first day is always hard for me as I’m not used to the type of racing with the top end power needed. But I always get better. Each night I make sure I eat lots and will get the massage stick out on the legs, and with the heat there will be lots of water down the hatch.