The first race of my 2011 season was set to be one of firsts. First race back in 4 months, first race for the new team, with a new director, new teammates and my first race as a professional.
My team Diadora Pasta Zara won stage 4, were second in stage 3, third in stage 4 and 5. For the first time racing together and with only 4 riders this ain’t bad!
Personally I was happy with things physically after some rocky recent months.. I was sixth in stage one after getting in a break over the first climb of the tour, and finished ninth overall, however not at any stage were the team concerned about any GC position, it was all about winning stages and the focus remained this way.
It was a great race and I learned an incredible amount from my director Manel Lacambra. Being on a professional level and racing completely for team results is a totally different ballgame. A 3.5 hour race goes like no time at all when you ar constantly thinking and concentrating on every decision at hand.
When to work, when not to, when to position in the front, when to girt your teeth and hold on, when to look behind, when to drink, when to eat, when to talk to teammates, when to attack, when to cover a move, when to sit on a wheel and recover.. all these hundreds of decisions all amount to the way to win races.
It was also a fun week getting to know my new teammates Amber Pierce and Alona Andruk. It was nice catching up with Shelley Olds again after a short stint together on Proman in 2009. Resepct, communication, fun and hunger for success came pretty naturally for us during the week.
A great start to the season and I cant wait to get on the road in Europe for the start of a fantastic new beginning of my career as a professional road cyclist.