ICYMI: An extract from: 'The Tour According to G'

11 Dec 2018

ICYMI: An extract from: 'The Tour According to G'

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In this extract from his new book, 'The Tour according to G', Geraint Thomas reveals all about the crashes and setbacks which hampered his efforts in the 2017 Giro d'Italia and Tour de France and how he bounced back with the help and support of his friends, family and team.

When you crash the road comes up at you fast. When you crash there is no good way to fall. When you crash your body takes the first impact but your mind suffers for much longer.

The 2017 Tour de France. I am in second place in the general classification, only my Sky teammate Chris Froome ahead of me. I have been in the yellow jersey, winning the prologue in the rain of Düsseldorf and holding on to it for four more days, and I am within touching distance of it still.

Already there have been crashes. Alejandro Valverde, the consistently competitive Spaniard, broke his kneecap after going down on a slippery corner on that Saturday afternoon prologue. I have hit the deck three times in the first eight stages, but all of the crashes were minor ones, all of them ones I could stand back up from and remount my bike. 
Stage nine, from Nantua in the Jura mountains to Chambery, 181 twisting, climbing kilometres away. Seven cols to be summited, more than 4,500 vertical metres to suck from the legs. 
We are on the Col de la Biche, the first hors catégorie climb of the race, meaning that it is too steep and too tough for all but the insane and elite to attempt. 10.5km in length, an average gradient of 9%.  You click into your smallest gear and you begin to work and you feel your legs burn and your heart jumping against your skin.

It starts to rain. A road already lumpy in places and slippery slick in others becomes more treacherous with every cold, wet minute. We are riding at the front of the peloton, a thin white line of Sky jerseys, trying to control the pace, trying to keep attacks at bay and keep tight our hold on the race. Luke Rowe, my old friend and fellow graduate of the Maindy Flyers cycling club in Cardiff, is pacing us at the front. Towards the summit, I’m in fifth or sixth place, uncomfortable but in control, wanting the climb to end but relishing its tests too.

An acceleration coming round outside us. The brown, white and pale blue jerseys of the French team AG2R, working for their team leader Romain Bardet, boyish face but a constant danger in these high mountains. A sprint for the top, for the points the summit brings for those chasing the King of the Mountains classification, but there are no points left, the breakaway has mopped all those up. I stand on the pedals and get out of the saddle, but by the time we crest the top and see the road dropping away in front of us I am back in ninth. Everyone wants to be as far forward as possible to limit the chance of crashing, but there is no real need for this stress. We create it ourselves. 

If a team attacks down this descent, with so far still to race, are they going to keep going all day and hold that advantage? Not a chance. You’d give them 200/1 odds. So why don’t we all just stay where we are and ride down the descent like we would in training? Oh, it’s the Tour, you have to stress, right? 
Geraint Thomas won the prologue of the 2017 Tour de France to secure his first yellow jersey

Geraint Thomas won the prologue of the 2017 Tour de France to secure his first yellow jersey

It only takes one team to start kicking it off, and that leaves you a cruel choice: stay relaxed and drift back, or join in. You have to join in. 110km left; so far my position is not a major issue for the final standings, but on this twisty, narrow descent, you never know what could change.

The further back you are, the more you are forced to react to the desires and flaws of others rather than cutting your own lines. The rider in front of you brakes, you have to brake. The guy three riders up goes wide on one corner and then cuts across the next one, you have to scrub off speed to keep from touching wheels, and when you scrub off speed you have to work hard to get it back, a accelerating out of the corner to stop the invisible length of elastic that holds this line of riders from snapping rather than stretching.

All of us know this. So a race within a stage within the race begins – each rider fighting for each additional position, taking outlandish risks, brushing elbows and shouting insults and angry instructions. You want to take it easier but you understand that as soon as you do then others will come past you. You have to fight just to stay where you are. You have to match those risks or else you will go backwards while going forwards at an eye-watering speed. Sixty miles from the finish, almost two weeks to Paris, and we are racing flat out and wild-eyed.

In this situation I like to give myself a bit of space, a couple of bike lengths. At 50kph and faster, it could make the difference between crashing or staying up. The only problem is that the guys behind you will see this as weakness. ‘He’s losing the wheel. S***, I need to get past him.’ Boys, chill.

Glimpses of a dark jersey with white flash in the corner of my vision. A rider behind me, trying to get past when there is no room. Overlapping his front wheel with my back wheel, that’s where danger lies – a slight twitch either way from one of us and the tyres will touch and the bikes will buck and one of us, probably both, will be down.
I glance back. Rafał Majka, the Polish climber, Bora-Hansgrohe. Aquamarine helmet, white-framed mirrored sunglasses. Another corner, Majka still all over the back of me. It triggers memories of the Tour in 2015, sixteenth stage, on another technical descent, when Warren Barguil came into a right-hander way too hot and clattered into my torso.
I saved him, kept him upright. But he sent me sideways, Mario Kart-style, first into a telegraph pole with my head and then down into a ravine. I’ll let Majka past. Too much to risk at this point, too much to lose. Majka comes past. A breath of relief. Time to settle, to find serenity at 70kph.
Round a right-hander. Trees on the slopes above, patches of silvery light on the road where the water has settled, darker patches where the surface is more porous and the rain has soaked in. I’m letting no one else past now. One is enough. No more danger. No more madness. Sod the buffer, I’m all in.
Round the bend and Majka is down on the road in front of me. One moment I have that image frozen in my mind and the next my bike is on his and the road is slamming me from the side. Squealing rubber and shouts and the sound of carbon breaking and another body cracking and squishing on the tarmac and then a sudden silence.
Geraint Thomas

Geraint Thomas

You crash and you get back to your feet. You look for your bike and your glasses and you jump back on. You chase to get back amongst the noise and the living, and you worry about the injuries later."
It is the seconds bleeding away that scare you, not the sliced knees and elbows or the skin grated off your shoulder and backside. Get back on and ride.
Except this time, I can’t get up. Something doesn’t feel right. I can roll into a sitting position but I can’t put any weight through my right arm. I don’t know what happened to Majka but I can see him a few yards back up the road, jersey shredded across his stomach and chest, and I can see Matteo Trentin, the Italian who rides in the blue of Quick-Step, on the road as well.
A familiar voice in my ear. It is Bernie Eisel, the Austrian who used to ride with me at Sky, one of the good guys. He is with Dimension Data now, and he didn’t have to stop, but he has. 
‘G. Are you okay?’ 
‘Yeah, yeah. You go ahead. Don’t wait for me.’
A snap as Bernie clicks his cleat back into his pedal, and away he goes. A car screeching to a halt behind me, the voice of team doctor Juan Mercadel, a man we call Jimmy. He sits me up and checks my head and neck, my back, my shoulders. On the right-hand side there is both numbness and pain.
‘G. Your collarbone. I think it’s broken.’
You don’t race your bike to hear these things. I have ridden an entire Tour with a fractured pelvis, after crashing right at the start of the 2013 race. I had to be lifted onto my bike each morning, because I couldn’t lift my leg high enough to get it over the crossbar. You don’t race because it makes sense. You are stubborn where others are weak, remorseless where others crumble.  
Geraint Thomas

Geraint Thomas

You know what a broken collarbone means. It’s the end of the Tour. It’s another chance gone."
Another year older, a team leader left without his lieutenant with more than half the race still to come.
‘It can’t be. It’s fine.’
‘G. Sorry. It’s broken.’
I look up. Sky mechanic Gary Blem has my bike. He has re-seated the chain, checked the brakes. It is ready to ride even if I am not.
‘I’m going to ride. Just to make sure.’
Jimmy is shaking his head at me and giving Gary a look. Gary looks sad and resigned but powerless too. ‘The second car will stay with him, Jimmy. We won’t leave him.’

My sunglasses? They are in pieces on the road, where the other team cars have driven over them. Another pair gone, another Tour? No, not yet. Clipping in. Holding the handlebars gingerly, starting to pick up speed on the descent. Froome and Bardet and those around them are way ahead, gone into the wet distance, but this is no longer about hanging on to second place. It’s hoping for a miracle. It’s wanting to be part of this race more than anything else in the world, not watching it like a civilian, passive, distant.
My left foot feels loose. I look down and see that the buckle has come undone in the crash. I reach down with my left hand to fasten it. Now only my right hand is on the bars, and it is like someone has flicked a cruel switch. Pain stabs through that shoulder, across my back, into my left shoulder and down both arms. I can’t hold on. I come back upright and try to ride with my left hand only, but my entire upper body is now on fire, the pain jabbing up my neck and into my head. This isn’t okay. This isn’t going away.
A Sky car pulls up alongside me. Servais, the second DS – directeur sportif – is leaning out of the window. His face is all concern and foreboding.
‘G. You’re going to stop then?’
I tell him I’m going to be okay, knowing that this is a lie, knowing that Servais knows it’s a lie. Thirty seconds of riding, the pain ramping up through the gears. Twenty seconds of riding, each breath in hurting. Another glance at Jimmy. Ten seconds more. A squeeze on the brakes, gently steering to the dark green verge. Rain in the air. Head down low. It’s over.
The race doctor pulls up in the ambulance and makes his own assessment. The diagnosis is the same. It hits you as you sit in the race ambulance. The adrenaline wearing off, the pain gripping tight. Your jersey tattered and stained dark with gravel and mud, your hair plastered to your face. Bib-shorts damp with sweat and rain.
Thomas was forced to retire from the 2017 Tour de France

Thomas was forced to retire from the 2017 Tour de France

I still have my team radio in my pocket, the earpiece dangling loose. I can hear our lead DS Nico Portal talking to the riders up the road. It is like eavesdropping on a private party, sitting on the steps outside the greatest nightclub in the world. You were in there, at the centre of it all, the noise, the danger, the excitement, the feeling of leanness and speed and power. And now you are gone, banished, left on the outside with all the others who couldn’t handle it, who didn’t train five hours a day and starve themselves so that their cheekbones stuck out and their faces recessed away so much that their noses and eyes and ears seemed to grow.
By the side of the road is Marko, one of the team soigneurs. They are the uncomplaining worker bees of the unit, washing clothes, giving massages, tidying up our messes. He is there on the climb because he has been handing out drinking bottles to the boys who have already flashed through. He sits beside me and he says nothing, because he understands what I am going through. The ambulance, all calm and white interior, my head a thumping mess of disbelief, distress and remorse. One thought on a loop, holding off all the others: this bette be broken now. If I’ve stopped and I could have been patched up, if I could have ridden just another few miles to see if it settled, if I could have somehow got through to the end of the day and seen how it might have been in the morning . . .
At the team hotel I find out I am not the only one. It has been a demolition derby of a stage, skinny bodies left scattered across the Jura mountains. Eleven men down in total, including Manuele Mori with a dislocated shoulder and punctured lung, Robert Gesink with a broken vertebra, and Jesus Herrada with a dislocated kneecap. Then there is Richie Porte, for so long a teammate at Sky, now switched to BMC to see if he has what it takes to win big outside our safe cocoon. Porte has gone down on the final descent of the day, off the Mont du Chat, 95km further through the stage, up above the town of Aix-les-Bains. I watch the footage of his crash – his back wheel locking up as he went into a series of S-bends too fast, his front wheel slipping off the left-hand side of the road, his bike going down and slamming him into the rocks on the opposite side. He is stretchered off the mountain in a red neck brace, broken clavicle, fractured pelvis. Dan Martin, the Irishman riding for Quick-Step, went down over him, picked himself up, continued on the descent and immediately crashed again. He will only discover upon finishing the Tour in Paris that he has broken two vertebrae in his back too.
The team put me on a private jet to take me home. The Easyjet flight is an hour and a half away; I have lots of luggage, including – having been in yellow – several fluffy toy lions, the traditional daily gift for the race leader from the Tour organisers, ASO. I’m grateful for all that, and I’d rather be at home than in a team hotel that’s been left like a budget ghost-town after all have moved on to the next stage and next host town, but it is when you are at home that it really hits you. I sit on the sofa, trussed up, eating almost normally again after those months of denial and privation, and I feel sore and fat. I know the boys will be gutted for me. I know too that tomorrow they will forget, that the race will move on and attention will focus on the next challenge, the next climb and attack. You are an essential cog in the machine until you are gone, and when you are gone, you understand that while appreciated, you are also disposable.
Geraint Thomas enjoyed his first victory of 2017 at Tirreno-Adriatico

Geraint Thomas enjoyed his first victory of 2017 at Tirreno-Adriatico

The machine marches on without you. The Tour never looks back, only forward. There is no rear-view mirror on a bike. You race your bike, you crash your bike. I have gone down in Europe, in South America, in Australia. I have crashed on roads and in velodromes. I have fallen off mountains and into trees.
You tell yourself you’re not cursed. It happens to all of us. It is an occupational hazard. Crashing during a time trial at Tirreno-Adriatico, over a barrier and bouncing down a rocky slope, breaking my pelvis and scaphoid. Crashing during a bunch sprint finish at the Tour Down Under in 2011, leading out my teammate Ben Swift, taken out as two other riders tried to get through a gap only big enough for one. Rupturing my spleen riding in Sydney, one month after graduating from the junior ranks, landing on top of the stem of my handlebars, not a mark on the skin but deep trauma underneath.
When you’re fresh-faced and your career is ahead of you, you bounce well both physically and mentally. You recover fast and you always have another target to focus on. The pain is temporary, the future before you. When you creep past 30 years old, you are a better rider and a wiser one too. You have seen the churn of top riders, the speed with which the old kings are dethroned and the new kids come through. You have watched friends and rivals win the biggest prizes and seen what it has done for their reputation and sense of satisfaction.
You understand that chances have to be taken, that form can take an age to find. When I went to the Giro d’Italia in May 2017, two months before the Tour and the ordeal on the Col de la Biche, it was the culmination of six months of the most intense training of my life. For the first time with Sky I was a team leader. No Froomey, not at the Giro. Seven of the other eight riders in black were the supporting cast this time; Mikel Landa and I were the twin arrowheads at the front. And I was in form. Tim Kerrison, Team Sky’s coach, is a genius of periodisation, of pushing you in training and then easing off in a way that can get you to peak not just for the start of a three-week Grand Tour but for the part of that race that you will need it the most. 
I won the Tour of the Alps across five days in mid-April, beating the charismatic Frenchman Thibaut Pinot, taking the third stage and then repelling every attack Pinot launched at me on the final day. At Tirreno-Adriatico, the seven-day stage race in March, I had won the second stage, attacking on the sort of steep climb I would encounter at the Giro.
I have always been a rider who could compete across the styles and disciplines. Winner of Junior Paris–Roubaix over the famous cobbles in the far north-east of France, of two Olympic gold medals as part of the Great Britain team pursuit quartet on the track, holding off Alberto Contador and Porte to win the Paris–Nice stage race.
The criticism from some on the outside was that I was tilting at the wrong titles – that I should be focused purely on the one-day Classics, where a man with my six-foot frame would have the strength and power, rather than on the general classification of the Grand Tours. 
I had won E3 Harelbeke, the first of the spring cobbled Classics, in 2015, and come third at the next, Gent–Wevelgem. I loved those bleak, windy April days in the flatlands of France and Belgium, but I knew there was more within me. And so I took my motivation from that. I’m going to show you what I can do. I’m going to prove you all wrong.

Across the first eight days of the Giro, I felt wonderful. Once again I was second in the overall contest, hunting down what would have been the biggest and most beautiful prize of my career, the famous maglia rosa. I’d never felt such form. No danger and no struggles on the first summit finish up Mt Etna, into a stiff headwind. Looking forward to testing my legs on the infamous Blockhaus climb, the brutal crescendo to 149km from Montenero di Bisaccia. All of us rivals were at the front of the lead group as we accelerated towards the bottom of the climb, everyone sprinting for position so that they could cover attacks or launch their own, rather than being blocked and buried in the chaos of the pack further back. Me sixth from the front, blind to the road in front but trusting the rider in front as always, and the carabinieri to have cleared the traffic from our path.
Instead it was the carabinieri who stood in the way. One lone police motorbike rider, parked up by the side of the road just around a bend, directly in the path of the unsuspecting express train of cyclists coming his way. You don’t see him when you’re travelling at that speed and you have no chance of avoiding him.
Wilco Kelderman, the Dutchman in the black and white of Team Sunweb, was on the left-hand side of the road. He didn’t stand a chance. Bang. Down. Into the next man, into me. No reaction time at all. One instant you’re following the wheel and you’re getting ready for the climb and thinking about holding your position. The next thing you know, you’ve been clattered from the blind side and you’re mid-air falling and the road has rushed up to meet you once again, and it’s ‘what the hell happened’ and ‘how am I on the floor?’

I may have partly landed on a bike as well. 
My teammate Landa was down outside me and Britain’s Adam Yates was amongst us in the tangle of metal and rubber and limbs. I landed on my right shoulder for sure. A blitz of excruciating pain. Dislocated, far more painful in that horrible winded moment than the snapped collarbone. The doctor alongside me, taking the weight off it. I felt it pop back in. Sudden blissful relief. I felt like a million dollars. Everyone, I’m sweet! I’m fine, we’re going again!
Except I wasn’t. I lost five minutes to Nairo Quintana that day but finished the stage. I rode a good time trial the following day, somehow, and came in second behind Tom Dumoulin. The shoulder was getting worse, however, and so was my knee. Lost time on stage 11, a sprinters’ finish that really shouldn’t have tested me, more again on stage 12. It sank in again on those long lonely miles before I abandoned on the night of the 13th: this is it. This isn’t happening.
This isn’t going to happen this year.
Thomas crosses the line after stage nine of the 2017 Giro d'Italia

Thomas crosses the line after stage nine of the 2017 Giro d'Italia

I was standing outside the kitchen truck with Sky principal Dave Brailsford when the decision was made. Look, I haven’t just come here to ride, have I? This isn’t the old days, when it was about somehow battling through, no matter where you finished. 
I came here to win this race, or to at least stand on the final podium. This was never about limping to Milan. Dave agreed. Go home. Recover. Get ready to help Froomey at the Tour. And so that was the call we made.
The physical injuries healed fast but the scarring was deeper. The Giro was my big hit. I was atop the pyramid rather than the solid block one line down. I could make sense of Majka’s fall. 
Racing accidents happen. He hadn’t intentionally crashed in front of me. He was descending to win. But a police motorbike sticking out into the road after a blind corner? That should never happen. That’s ridiculous. At least at the Tour I had won a stage and worn the yellow jersey. I had those days in the lead and those cuddly toy lions to take home. Italy left me with nothing, when I had been ready to prove to the cynics that I had everything.
Christmas was cancelled.
I flew to the north of England for treatment with the Manchester City medical team. From there, shoulder and knee patched up, it was home to Monaco. I had no idea how the Giro was progressing and no desire to find out. I watched none of it. 
People around me were talking about it, about the dramatic final few days, about the ascendancy of Dumoulin. The day Tom sealed it in the time trial on the final Saturday, a few of us went over to Aussie rider Caleb Ewan’s place for a barbecue. They had the race on the television. I sat on the balcony for most of it, desperate not to see it.
I dealt with it like a typical bloke: not talking about it, going into my own little world, being quiet when others are animated, running the accident over and over again in my head.  After the Tour I had been to see the specialist about my shoulder. Driving home, I had got stuck at a set of traffic lights. I looked around me at the humdrum scenes, the red lights and the red faces. I couldn’t believe I was sat here at a crossroads in the centre of Cardiff when I should have been racing in the Alps.
My wife Sara helped me through it as always. She had barely been able to watch those races, thinking herself the curse, understanding what the consequences were for my career and my character. I have always had belief but she buttressed it in those fragile moments. You’re too good for it not to happen. Just keep doing the right thing. Put yourself in the right place and it will happen. She brought a different type of normality. Not the dull emptiness of being unable to race, but the perspective that cycling is not the entire world. Her best friends Cadi, Ffion and Sian had arranged to come out to our flat in Monaco during the Tour, while I was supposed to be away across the border in France. 

Instead I gate-crashed their girls’ holiday, and it was great – normal nights out, everyone in a good mood, not a word of cycling talk. Wales rugby winger George North was on holiday in Cannes with his partner Becky James so they came out for a night. George, however, failed spectacularly to match my drinking and retired to bed at an hour when I was still going strong. 

The hangover was stiff but so was the pride of outlasting a man of 6ft 4ins and 17 stone. Because my two big race targets had gone, I could recover the next day on the beach with an ice-cream. Racing cyclists do not eat ice-cream.
You don’t want to be defined by crashes. You do not want to be a rider that others say is unlucky. Better to be called fortunate on the top step of the podium than unlucky in the ambulance. I have never thought I was cursed. I try to move on. Recover, look forward, always another race in the sights.
It’s most difficult when you blame yourself. It was Majka’s crash at the Tour. The policeman and his bike at the Giro. But at the Olympic road race in Rio in 2016, it was me. It was all down to me.
You have to be greedy as an elite sportsman. I had won those two Olympic golds on the track in the pursuit quartet but I wanted three. The road race is also about being part of a team; you don’t find yourself in a good position going into the finale unless your teammates have helped control the pace and the breaks and protected you from the wind, but you cross the finish line alone. It was the first major final of those Games. It could have been the first British gold of what turned out to be a torrent.
And I was right there. My old mate Ian Stannard and Steve Cummings had done a fantastic job closing the gaps on the breaks; after almost 5,000m of climbing and multiple descents of the Vista Chinesa I was on the final drop and thefinal corner, Majka ahead of me and me confident I could close the gap. And on that final corner, I just went in a touch too fast, trying to close that gap in front too quickly and keep open the gap behind to Greg Van Avermaet, and I totally misjudged it. Way too far left rather than cutting a safe line through the middle of the corner, I jammed the brakes too hard and my back wheel skidded out on a road already rough and greasy with rain. That back wheel went into the gutter by a couple of millimetres, and down I went. I remounted but the chance was gone. Van Avermaet was past me, and with him Jakob Fuglsang. Both would catch Majka before the finish along Rio’s Copacabana. Van Avermaet would win the sprint, and I would trail home 11th, jersey ripped, blood seeping through the mesh fabric on my back and elbows.

I knew I could have caught Majka. Maybe Greg would still have caught me. Had it come down to a sprint for the line you would have fancied him. Maybe I was lucky to be that far up, after Vincenzo Nibali and Sergio Henao had crashed themselves at the top of that final descent. Maybe I would have launched my attack early had I been there with Van Avermaet, used my pursuit strength to go long and burn them off. I was feeling great. My legs, after all that work from Stannard and Cummings, having stretched away from Chris Froome and Adam Yates, were fresh enough.
Instead, my mistake cost me the chance to find out. I tried to tell myself not to think about where it happened. Last corner or first corner, it doesn’t matter. A crash is a crash. There were so many scenarios that could have played out that you should accept that what’s done is done. Think of the next race. Just get over it.
Yet I knew it was the one that got away. Thinking of the next goal didn’t help; the Olympics only come round once every four years. It’s rare and special. 237.5km of climbing and cobbles and attacks and attrition, and I was 10km from the flat and the finish. Even now I think about Rio. And I fight the idea that I’m somehow cursed. Rio, the Giro, the Tour, all ended by crashes, but I will not be defined by them. As 2018 came round, and with it the talk that my chances had gone, that I would never have that extra five or 10 per cent that a Grand Tour winner needs, I drew it all in as motivation.
I don’t say these things in public. In interviews I’m chilled. I don’t shout about what I can do or where I’m going next. I’m not a sprinter or a boxer. I don’t care about hype, only about the racing. It doesn’t mean I lack ambition or motivation. It doesn’t mean I don’t really care. It means I do an extra hour of training after already long and punishing days on Mount Teide in Tenerife when the rest of the boys go back to the hotel for massages and food. Working my body to exhaustion and then being unable to feed it and reward it as others would. Going to sleep hungry and waking up so tired I have to let gravity do the legwork to get me out of bed. There is nothing better than proving the doubters wrong. I don’t read a lot of reports because you soon start disagreeing with them and they can stay on your mind. I just hear one or two things and think, right, okay, cool, shut up, I’ll show you. 
Geraint Thomas - My Tour de France

Geraint Thomas - My Tour de France

Before our two Olympic finals on the track, anxiety and doubt were constantly knocking on the door. My teammate Ed Clancy, the great engine of that world-record-breaking quartet, used to be beset by nerves. 
‘What if the Australian team ride an absolute blinder? What if I go out too fast and we blow it?’ Through our tribulations and successes, we developed a collective attitude to get us through. Don’t worry about other teams and other riders. Control what you can control. Trust in your training and the instincts it has honed.
So I did, as 2017 became 2018. It wasn’t easy. I had been in the best shape of my life for no reward. The dangerous little thought worming round my head was this: will I ever get in that sort of shape again? It’s so rare . . . The defence I used against it was unyielding logic. Of course I’ll be in this shape again, it’s not luck that I’ve got here. I know how I got into that shape, the work I did, the miles I climbed, the weight I shed. I just commit like that again and get in that shape. That’s all I can do. Next year somebody else might be super strong. I might have more bad luck. I can’t control either. Obsess only about myself. I told myself 2017 was one ill-fated year. I couldn’t be unlucky all the time. Keep doing the right thing. Find the best form possible. Ride in the right place in the peloton. It will happen eventually. 

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