Istrian Spring Trophies
Learning by doing
March's Croatian Trifecta
One-day races Umag Trophy, Poreč Trophy
& the four-day Istrian Spring Trophy
In Umag and Poreč we tried hard to find form in the build up to the stage race, the Istrian Spring Trophy. It was always going to be a learning experience with Alan and Tyler in the team for the first time. For DS Ramūnas Navardauskas the focus would be on building team communication and cooperation.
“In Umag the conditions were really testing. We fought hard but had bad luck with crashes and we got caught out of position in a section of the race with a strong side wind. Our performance improved in the Poreč race, and Kazutoshi spent some time in a breakaway. The guys were more active overall, and their effort really showed. Tyler struggled with a knee injury which was frustrating him. Alan had a go and seized his chance in a breakaway, but it was soon shut down by the peloton.”
The 1.5km prologue kicking off the Istrian Spring Trophy in Vrsar takes no prisoners. It is a short track with two hard corners – there is no margin for error. Alan was our top performer, two seconds off the winner finishing 10th. All the guys made it round and kept upright.
When the skies opened on Stage 1 we were unprepared for the deluge and sudden temperature drop. Tyler retired with knee pain and Kazutoshi had to abandon due to the cold. Jo was our strongest rider and fought hard to finish at the front of the second main bunch.
“It was a really challenging day for us and the biggest enemy was the weather,” says Ramūnas.
The Queen Stage followed and did not bring us much joy. Luca crashed and fought his way back to the peloton, but the effort cost him on the climb.
Coming into the final Stage we had nothing to lose. It was a matter of digging deep to finish as strongly as possible. Takumi showed his aggressive side and kept to the front of the bunch, eager to try his luck in breakaways. Alan and Luca too saw the job to the end valiantly, but we lost Jo early due to fatigue and mechanical issues.
“Every race, every crash, how we deal with the weather conditions - these are all lessons for us. How we learn from them and what we take into the next race is what makes us better cyclists.”