Wrap-up from the Tour de Taiwan.
In the coming days, head over to the Jet Fuel Coffee Cycling website for individual rider reports, it should be interesting to see the different viewpoints of each rider.
For the team, the 2008 TdT went as well as could be expected, and should be considered a success.
The invitation to the race came very late, when a spot opened up at the last minute. With most of the team at their off-season winter fitness, it was very difficult to gain enough fitness with only 6 weeks notice. Normally, the invitation comes many months in advance.
Most of the other teams in the TdT were racing at a very high level. For sure, all the local Taiwan teams were targeting the TdT as one of their primary goals for the year. For the other Asian teams, the TdT is part of the UCI's Asia Tour race series and those teams are in mid-season form. The Aussie team came from mid-summer weather. The other North American and European pro teams do not come all this way without being well-prepared.
So, the goals for Jet Fuel for the TdT were pretty simple: 1. Survive, 2. Race hard and with honour, 3. Gain experience, 4. Get a couple of good stage results. In other words, try to make it through the race even without optimal fitness, but don't ride so conservatively just to finish that the organizers regret the invitation, with the goal of getting invited back next year and having gained the total experience to come to TdT 2009 with proper preparation (fitness, mindset, logistics, etc.). Any good results would be gravy.
Goal 1. was mostly accomplished, we finished with 3 riders out 5 starters. Rico came in the least prepared and was hoping to hang in as a domestique, it didn't happen but it was a valiant effort. Shane, the U23 guest rider, raced hard and aggressively, maybe with a bit too much youthful vigor in the early stage, as he finished 6 stages. Bryson, our other U23 rider showed impressive strength and stamina for a guy who has only been racing for a few years. Pete showed a lot of veteran savvy, while only able to train in the snow before the race, he was the most steady finisher every day, choosing his spots to exert energy. Daniele was really, really ill the whole week with a cold and respiratory problems, that he finished at all is sign of a hard, hard man.
Goal 2. the guys attacked, jumped in moves, got up in the sprints and didn't leave anything in the tank and generally showed the Jet Fuel colors in the race. This is one reason the team finished 20th on G.C., because the guys were trying to get in moves each stage, but at the price of getting popped off the back late in the stage.
Goal 3., the team gained a lot of experience on many levels. For the younger guys, this was their biggest and most professional race ever. Even for the older guys, it was one of the best organized races they ever attended. For all the guys, it's a heck of a way to kick off the racing season, mentally and physically it was great training. For Brian, the rookie manager, an 8-day UCI 2.2 race was a real trial-by-fire...it turns out he really is a witch! Culturally, the team got a chance to check out Taiwan and the Asian racing scene. Finally, for next year's TdT, if the team should have the opportunity to re-attend, the team will be 10x better prepared at every level.
Goal 4. Not great numbers, but not bad signs at all. A few top-twenty stage finishes, and with a hair more luck in a couple of instances, they could've been in the top-10 or even top-5. Coulda, woulda, shoulda, it's easy to say, but the results were encouraging signs nonetheless. And with proper preparation and a full-strength team, they coulda been a contendah!
All in all, it was a fruitful and great experience, as the Jet Fuel team represented Toronto and Canada very well. For the first Canadian team ever in the Tour de Taiwan, and under such interesting circumstances, it should be considered a successful milestone in Ontario and Canadian cycling history.
Well, that's the end of the OCTTO coverage of Jet Fuel's Tour de Taiwan 2008 adventure. Come back to OCTTO often and buy lot's of stuff when our webstore opens! Or ask you local dealer to order our products!