Paris-Tours: Dougall & Van Zyl both go on the offensive

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Paris-Tours would be a frighteningly fast race as riders averaged 49.6km/h for the 231km route. The defining moment of the race came as early as the opening 20 kilometers when 30 riders got clear after a crash in the peloton. We had Nic Dougall make the front selection as the peloton scrambled to try and bring back the lead group.

The big lead group was able to open a decent 4 minute gap though and the peloton were feeling the pressure. Eventually 18 riders put in a counter attack and tried to bridge to the lead group, our African team had Johann van Zyl in the counter. Nic started to feel the effects of covering the first 100km in less than 2 hours and dropped from the lead group, later assisting Johann with some pace making.

Johann’s group were only able to come within 2 minutes of the leaders before they upped the pace and started attacking one another with 40km to go. The increase in tempo was enough to ensure that one of the early leaders would take the spoils.

Nic Dougall – Rider
I think I took 5 years off my life expectancy today. It was really fast for the first 2 hours in the break of 30. I think I did a bit too much work early on and when it really started getting hard I was in a lot of difficulty. A few of us dropped and got caught by Johann’s group. I tried to help him as much as I could because he was riding well. I imploded at 190km and was completely empty. It was good to try something today but unfortunately the legs weren’t really there to get a good result.  

Johann van Zyl – Rider
Today was so fast and really windy. From the start the peloton was split into pieces with groups everywhere. Nic was attentive and made the front split of 30. This was still not the greatest situation for us with only 1 of our riders up the road. I stayed alert and eventually went in an 18 rider group. We never got the gap under 2 minutes so we were racing for 25th place. I got caught behind a small crash from an IAM rider and lost the wheel of Terpstra. Not having that much power left, I lost connection with them so eventually finished 39th. I think we could have done a lot better today. I’m happy to end the season now with lots of great memories and races. Now to put the legs up and start thinking about 2016.

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