Tour of Kosovo - stage 2 - Race report - Team Car perspective - Neale Watkins reporting:
Woke up in the bustling city of Prizren. It was going to be another scorcher with not a cloud to be seen. The day started with a bus journey to the Albanian border for the start of Stage 2. The boys looked a little hot and bothered as it was already over 30 degrees. Fortunately there was shelter from the sun and the boys took advantage of the copious amounts of water we had in the team car.
This time there was no faffing about and the race got underway at 12pm. The first 8km was a gradual climb and all the peloton stuck together and close to the top Dominic Schils made an attack but this was quickly closed down knowing his position in GC.
The race progressed past Prizren and two riders went off the front and maintained a gap of about 1 min 30 secs for quite sometime. All the time though the peloton were monitoring this gap.
Each of the riders came back to the car for regular feeding. There was great team spirit being shown with bottles distributed to the rest of the team when a rider dropped back.
The peloton finally reached the climb of yesterday’s finish and once they crested this there was chaos with teams wanting feeding everywhere. Arwel James coped extremely well under the circumstances and again all the boys were fed.
The race continued to Pristina before turning south towards the finish. The riders upfront were caught and then other attacks were seen but were brought back in.
With 40km to go there were two riders out front but with the intermediate sprint close, the peloton started to close them down. By the time we reached the final 10km the peloton was back together and a sprint finish was on the cards but then two riders attacked followed by Dom Schils who bridged and they were going hard but then the green jersey leader bridged and eventually it slowed them down so by the time the riders approached the top of the climb they were all back together. The riders then had a fast descent through some wonderful countryside along Kosovo’s longest serious of bridges to take them into the final 2km climb.
Riders were dropping out the back rapidly but not TBW23! They dug in and with 500m to go there was a frantic sprint to the line with the riders in the following positions:
Dom Schils 4th
Matty Dobbing 13th
Ryan Watkins 17th
David Reece 19th
Alex Ashman 40th
Team GC - TBW23 - 3rd.
Matty Dobbing 2nd
Ryan Watkins 3rd
Alex Ashman 18th
Another great team performance and all to play for on Stage 3!
Thanks to Federata e Çiklizmit e Kosovës for some of the photos!
Thanks to our sponsors:
Stuart Hall Cycling. https://stuarthallcycling.co.uk/
Gett Taxi Uk. https://gett.com/uk/
TBW The Bike Warehouse www.thebikewarehouse.net
Le Col https://lecol.cc/?
Clive Emson https://www.cliveemson.co.uk/
Lake shoes http://www.lakecycling.com/
Andrew Hillman https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrew-hillman-48533463?
Wigmore Cycling Club http://www.bc-clubs.co.uk/wigmorecc/