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Diary from Guyane part 6

There is a (Slovak?) saying: “If there’s no rain, even few raindrops will do it.” People working in the fields must have come up with this saying as they were waiting for a rain after really hot days. But it is perfectly applicable to today’s 5th stage from St.Laurent du Maroni to Sinnamary.

 

A small group of 5 riders succeeded their break-away right from the very beginning of the stage. All my team-mates stayed in the peloton. The time gap never increased to more than 1:30 minutes due to a really strong face wind and work of the Ijsellsreak team in front of the peloton. It’s pretty hilly in the first half of the stage, but it flattens out completely later on. The tempo was pretty calm with only few unsuccessful temptations for a break-away. It was the bad quality asphalt that made this stage difficult. One by one, the peloton ‘swallowed’ all of the 5 men in front and so the fight for a stage victory started with only 20km to go. French riders caused others lots of pain in their legs, one of them tried to escape everytime the break-away of his companion turned to be unsuccessful. Also the riders of the domestic team Velo Club Guyanais did a really good job in front for their sprinter. Really, tactically comparable job with Fassa Bartolo or Team Columbia. There was a roundabout at the red flag sign signaling 1km remaining. Someone in front fell and slowed some of us down so we lost our positions for sprint. In the last kilometre the wind changed – front wind changed to a strong right-side one. Long line of riders was created with the Velo Club Guyanais up in front. As I was still in 15th position what was not that great positioning considering the distance to finish line and the strong side wind causing small ‘holes’ as some of the riders started to slow down. I decided to take my risk to overtake some riders over grass and unpaved sideroad. I was lucky there was no edge-stone nor safety fence along the road. All this was already at the 300m panel board. French Lemoine had even worse position than me as he launched his sprint – I followed him eagerly. Even despite being obviously the fastest 2 riders in this sprint, we had not enough time to beat the great working Velo Club Guyanais team and their leader Marc Joseph. He won, Lemoine got 4th place, I finished 5th. This was a great example of the necessity of a team assistance in mass sprints. It was all the more interesting that it was a domestic, local team showing us, Europeans how it should be done. 5th place in a stage is our best result so far, but I’m quite disappointed right after the finish – I know I could have made it to the podium, it was really close this time. I know I’m not gonna get many chances of mass sprints in this race. After the stage they take us back to the luxurious hotel in Cayenne. I notice there are spruce woods in the Sinnamary area. I find it very rare and it looks really exotic with palm trees mixed on the edge of the pine woods or whatever type of trees that is. Really a huge forest on both sides of the road.

The most difficult stage of the whole race starts tomorrow. It leads from Cayenne to the south, direction Brazil. End of the stage is in a really small town of Regina lost in the middle of a jungle. It’s not a long stage, approximately 130km, but we will ride through troublesome small steep hills for the past 60km or so. I think peloton will be split into 2 parts if not torn to pieces in two 3km long steep climbs starting on 70km. Well, I do know already this stage is not my cup of tea, I will try to help my team mates untill I will be in peloton and then just finish well easy in one of the sprint-riders grupettos in the back.

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