phew, what a day. it just poured and poured, it was cold, one giant heavy cloud enshrouded the mountain and the peloton throughout. people were shaking and blue by the end, i ‘lost’ two jackets helping folk get warm at the top and don;t mind if i don’t get them back. every soul on that start line, never mind the finishers and the winners, rocked it like kings and queens, they were magnificent.
John Ebsen of Denmark and, for 2015, Androni Giocattoli put in a measured and mature performance for the first 97km that saw him esconced in the elite lead group then did what he does best, powered away with a series of attacks that saw off all challengers then settled into a majestic rhythm that saw him float with a quiet and beautiful violence up those last brutal 17% average 8 kilometers.
i was sat in the lead car providing commentary for race radio and was priveliged to see it all from the best seat in the house.
one hell of a ride and fully deserving of the prize on offer. a worthy champ.
in 2nd was Hong Kong rider Roland Yeung, with Alex Ariya Phounsavath (Destribois) in third close on his wheel.
in the women’s race Tiffany Cromwell and Jo Hogan of Australia both fell early on. Jo’s fall was especially heavy and she almost abandoned. she pushed on nonetheless and managed a quite remarkable 4th. when i saw her just after the finish she looked as though she had just got up from a bad crash, not one some 80km earlier. brilliant ride.
in 2nd and 3rd in the women’s race were 秦欣 and 郭念文 (translations will be provided when available).
the winner though was Marg Fedyna, 50, from Canada. the winner of the Haute Route Pyrenees this year and last and a host of other events worldwide may be largely unknown outside Canada and adventure racing but she, like Ebsen, was masterly on the day. the smile on her face on the podium was priceless as until she crossed the line she had no idea she had won.
she has a fantastic smoothness to her riding and a power that belies her size, and she too is a fine champion, the Queen indeed of the 2014 Taiwan KOM Challenge.
more images will follow as and when they come in.