G.P. Lugano & G.P. Chiasso, Switzerland

Good day to you all. I hope you racing cyclists who may have participated in the weekend chariot race at Navan have recovered barring any crashes, shortness of breath, hypothermia or the ongoing question in many cyclists minds at this time of year “why in the name of jaysus am I signing up for this shit again?”. Moving right along to the weekend over in this neck of the woods Fakta participated in Belgium and Switzerland, me doing Switzerland not because im camera shy but the hotel was only 2 hours drive away and I don’t like Belgium too much (went there last year and saw the greatest criterium ever if you were Italian), anyway most of the teams stayed in Italy 20 kms from the Swiss border for the trucks benefit and the budget of the team. When you enter Switzerland from the E.U. you have to pay tax for the equipment in the vehicle, depending on who’s doing the shift at the border you have to have all the material on a documented book which in french is called a “carnatear”, If you don’t have this they can make your life very difficult and mechanics who have driven the 5 to 6 hours to the border don’t like to fill out forms and have a German border patrol little Hitler try to search the truck hoping that you are related to Willy Voet!! So they stay in Italy the truck stays at the hotel and all the small vehicles go to the race. I got hotel detail Saturday as the other mechanic would be taking the truck back to Belgium so he could pack it up on Sunday at the finish in Lugano. Saturday in a nutshell was me cleaning out our truck and washing it and servicing all the wheels in it also washing them and changing tyres.We are having a few problems with punctures in the races at the minute and basically its because the rim strips on the wheels are not wide enough. Frank Hoj punctured 5 times in two days at the Tour of Rhodes. I’d say he was best pleased? The other team in our hotel was Boulangere, the former team Bonjour. Their mechanic at the hotel is in his 60’s and he asked me where Iwas from I said Ireland his eyes lit up. Aaaaaah I was mechanic for SEAN he said with KAS we did the Nissan. Every time I meet a mechanic who worked on a team with Sean Kelly, they all have the same thing to say about him, and they all must have jumped over each other to do the Nissan. I always ask them what was he like? Was he aggressive, an arsehole, moany etc. like some pros can be? They all have the same thing to say and they say it with the upmost respect for the man. “No Sean was a professional never any problems he would come to the truck. Can u just check that for me, put those wheels on that cassette and away he would go.”

Well the GP Chiasso was won by fFgueras from Liquigas. second was Celestino and third was Palumbo. Rene Jorgensen from our team was 12th and the rest I don’t know. Judging by the bikes it was a hard day and also by the looks in their eyes when they arrived! By dinner they were back to normal. Sunday morning we were up at 6.30am. I was rooming with the Danish soigneur Carsten. He asked me what time was I waking up at. I said 6.15am – “aaaah good he said ill wake up at 7.00am so because the riders wake up at 8am????” So the next morning my phone alarm goes off at 6.15am. I was wide awake so I let it ring for a minute or so, he wakes up looks over (the light was off) and then puts his head down. I hit the snooze button, 6.30 it goes off again, he looks over again . I let it ring for 2 minutes this time then hit the snooze button and turn on the light in the room. He bounces up I stay stretched out he goes in has his shower comes out “you said you were waking up at 6.15am Briiian”, – that’s right said I, waking up not getting up!! So he had a pissed off look on his face grabs his breakfast box for the riders and bangs out the door. I get up, dress and go in 5 minutes.you see the moral of this story is the soigneur is supposed to get up before the cock hammers out “cock a doodle doo” and the soigneurs in our team have a problem with getting up early so I play a game of guess with them for what time I am getting up at, I just say i will wake up a little earlier and let them hear my new song on my alarm phone. he had a big grumpy head on him till about 9.00am and then he was ok.

Anyway the race GP Lugano, it set of left turn and then a hill straight away for about 2 miles, not so steep, grave yard side of Howth kind of thing. Then it was easy pace for the hill then it went down and a long straight for 10 kms 2 guys got up the road. One Fakta, Arvesen was there, then after 10 kms on there own, 15 heads came across and buried it for a lap( Oh it was 21 kms per lap and 8 laps)..2nd time up the hill Gerolsteiner went to the front of the peleton, Rebellin setting the pace and it was back in no time. Then 15 guys got away and by the 3rd last lap had 8 minutes. We had 2 men in the break, Kurt Arvesn and former Ras winner, Julian Winn. They rode well. Julian had the 2 way radio on which was good for us in the car because the commissaires radio jacked up so time checks were gone and if one of them punctures you want to know straight away. laps to go Kurt goes for the King of the Hills competition and jumps away and when he goes over the top he puts the head down. They get him back, or to be precise leave him at his 15 seconds, reel him after 7 kms and then they are starting the last lap. There is one climb right after the finish and there is another at about 10 kms or so from the finish it is like Tullyesker, Julian goes south half way up the first climb through total i think “its my first big break away this year lets show them i can move scenario”. He just blows. Nothing else to do but finish we move up to the group and there are 3 others stranded also, that leaves 11, 2 attacks up the hill from the Domenica rider and its down to 10 they bang into the finish we are deviated at the 2 km mark. First place was David Moncoutie, second was Kolobnev and third was Gryshenko. Kurt Arvesen was fourth that was it basically. I feel Kurt should have went for the win instead of the k.o.h. but thats life. he was with them all the way to the finish and I reckon his little effort 2 laps before took it out of him. I’ll end this note on congratulating Liverpool for there super victory over, oh I’ m sorry I forget who the other team was, its not important anyway ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!!! 7th Worhington Cup I do believe. Stevie Gerard hammered in a missile and the boywonder did what he does best bangs them in from any angle!!!!

Ciao for now B