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Diary from Guyane part 2

The first stage, a 132km long one from Cayenne to Tonata Macouria evolved according to everyone's expectations.

Just like in any other stage race, there's usually a rather big break-away getting a considerable lead to the peloton. We of course knew this usual scenario and tried to play according to it. I tried to be in each and every break-away from the very beginning of the stage. There was also an intermediate sprint at kilometre 10 – since it was the first stage, whoever would win this sprint, would get a sprints-point jersey at the Awards Ceremony following the stage. Murphy's laws play an important role in everyone's lifes I guess, me not being an exception to this rule – you can be in 10 consecutive break-aways and you can be sure it's the 11th one that is going to be successful. Without you being part of it of course. Racing is completely different from Europe in these “black” countries. Lots of break-aways as everyone wants to be in front, but no one is really willing to cooperate and ride hard. The very same script applied to this first stage and I somehow found myself in one of the last groups, completely exhausted from all the attacts and break-away attempts. It cost us lot of precious energy to unite all the small groups and regroup the peloton. As I reentered in the peloton, a 9-riders break-away succeeded in leaving the bunch, very soon followed by a 6-rider one. No one from our team was in front of course (remember Murphy's laws?), so it was up to us, another Dutch riders and the German team to cover the gap. We did not succeed to catch the very front though. Theobald from Guadeloupe won the stage, he outsprinted all other riders in the first group consisting of 9 riders. 6 riders arrived with a 6minute gap followed by some 10 riders who escaped from the peloton shortly before the finish line just to secure themselves a better general classification order. Peloton crossed the finish line one minute later. All Altipower riders arrived in the bunch. For the official records – I arrived in 37th place. Well, we can only observe that we knew perfectly what the stage would look like today and we screw it up completely. Or lets just say we missed out on our tactique today. We wish to do better tomorrow in the 130km long stage finishing in Cayenne, on the Montabo climb. I remember the individual time-trial finishing there in the previous years’ editions.

Very active and restless way of carribean racing is an interesting thing, but the Stories of the day happened doesn’t relate to the race. Story no.1 happened during the race actually, I passed over a head of dead Nine-banded Armadillo. He was about the size of a shepherd dog, I got his blood all over my frame and legs. I didn’t kill him, he must have been run over some car, but according to his still liquid and warm blood I had on my legs now, I bet it must have happened shortly prior to us passing up the road. Story no.2 happed only shortly before the start of the stage. As I went to have a pee next to a road, I noticed a 1m long snake watching me. I felt no need to urinate from that point on and rushed away. Sorry I haven’t noticed the species in case any of you might be interested. All I know is it was a big, colorful, ugly and evil looking snake. There’s planty of vermin all around in this climate, also lots of snakes, caymans and dangerous frogs. Oh, and Story no.3 so as not to forget – as I sit in my room and switch channels as we watch TV, I notice in one of the local channels a space shuttle is just about to be launched from Kourou. As Kourou is only about 50km far-away we run outside and watch the shuttle being launched live as it heads for its journey to space. It flew straight up, after some while the starting blocks that eased the start were released and fell back to the ground. Only a small shuttle continued to the space, it might have been carrying a satellite. Interesting experience, you don’t get to see a space shuttle being launched every day. That’s about all the stories I had to share from today.

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