It was short, fast and furious!Stage 6 Tour Of Thailand
Finally the last stage, Khao Lak to Phuket 105.5km and with no neutral stage, it would be on from the gun, and it was.
A very early rise at 5am to be fed, packed and loaded by 6am for the 80km convoy transfer to the start - of course, everyone was ready to go at 6am except Thailand.... typical!!
A bit of hanging around the start gave us all a chance to view the Tsunami memorial and chat to other teams. There was potential for Satalyst Giant and City of Perth to snatch victory as only seconds were the difference in GC. Ed and Scotty were a bit apprehensive of the rolling hills at the start, and they had good reason to be.
The race started and straight away the pace was up to 60km/h , attack after attack and in the hills a break away started to form. Soon it expanded to 25 riders and the gap yo-yoed from 1-3 mins.
The race soon split into about three groups, the hangers on, the chasers and the leaders. Ed, Scotty and Heksa missed the break and sat in with the chasers. Heksa and Ed were comfortable in the bunch, Scotty was in a world of pain and started to drift back into the convoy. Yells of encouragement from the team car as we drove alongside him (Convoy was in chaos due to split and not a commissaire in sight) he soon got back on and safe into the chasing group.
The pace was high, 45-49km/h and we really thought the break would be caught as the yellow and the green jersey were not in the break. On and on it went, Malaysia drove the chasers and the time started to drop between the break and the leading group.
We entered Phuket, the end was in sight, 30km to go and it just went feral! High speeds, with good wide roads and slight tail wind. We in the convoy were kept busy keeping enthusiastic scooters from joining in with the riders. One scooter had dad (with helmet) and a kid in front and back (no helmets) driving up on the inside while holding up his phone filming the convoy. A slow drift into the left lane by us kept him in his place behind the car. No amount of hand gestures from us or the race marshals could deter this fan. The police finally pulled him over.
Meanwhile the lead group started to go ballistic, they attacked each other ruthlessly and soon a small break got away from the leading bunch. It was on, speeds averaging over 50km/h meant that the new lead group increased the gap to 4 mins - they were not going to get caught!!
In the end the boys all came home safe and sound in the main bunch. Tired and happy that another tour was over. Beer was the recovery drink of choice.
Off to the hotel to shower clean up and sort out cars, radios etc. then time to celebrate and relax.
A plan was hatched to have a banana tattooed onto Scotty, he was decidedly a bit nervous as we went out.
Mixing with past and present professionals was a highlight for many. Some old pros were giving great advice and tips to some of the very strong Aussie cyclists. A pity that the Aussie cyclist decided that his "years of mountain biking experience" would suffice in making him a great road cyclist.
Thank you goes out to all the support that we have had, mainly our families who have stood by us, to our sponsors; Merida (bikes lasted the testing conditions) Mondo Travel for the great help with the flights, 32Gi - the food, the electrolytes and the recovery drink got us through some very hard and testing days, OCBC Bank Singapore, V-Burger and of course Energy HR
Next year it would be great to put a ladies team in for the ladies Tour Of Thailand that follows the men. (A hatch was planned to combine at team with Indonesia) If you are a keen female cyclist - think about it and lets start training!!