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Tom Copeland is supported by the John Ibbotson fund and this year rides for Division 1 Espoir team BIC2000 in France. The youngster from Surrey tackles the biggest race of his career this week, the Tour of Brittany.
Day2: After being broken in fairly convincingly yesterday, I was in for a pretty tough stage two. My orders before the start were to get in an early break, or at least try, which I had a couple of digs at - once getting away in a small group including Rob Hayles not long after the start - but nothing was sticking.
The fat tailwind didn’t help affairs and kept the pace high with an average of 48.5kmh in the first 90 minutes. Nothing gained more than 15 or 20 seconds on the small twisty country roads until about 80km in when two riders gradually pulled away. This called for a nature break in the peloton and their gap soon grew to a max of eight minutes.
The Rabobank TGV hit the front and the pace was back on. Not long after someone turned the tap on and the skies opened properly. This caused a bit of mayhem including a big crash with at 20 or so riders hitting the deck. Luckily, I was a little way in front and just heard the carnage behind instead of seeing it - apparently not nice!
The pace then remained high until the finish laps where the break still had about five minutes and looked set to take the stage. The finish circuits were up one side of the town and down the other: a steep and twisty descent with lots of slippy white pedestrian crossings - not my forte.
After losing it a bit on the downhill and then having to re-close the gaps on the uphill, the legs soon gave way and I was quickly in the second group being passed by the cars and getting the order to ease up till the finish. This allowed for a quick catch up for some of the GB lads in the group before we finally rolled in, seven minutes down, with the break of two holding over three minutes by the finish. Chapeau.
Tomorrow, lots of small country lanes, and lots of wind and rain forecast. Set to be another eye-opener. Just got to keep trying for the break to get the jersey on the TV, keep everyone happy. If only it was that easy.
Tour of Brittany blog: stage 1