High Hopes & Heavy legs - Charles Planet of Team Novo Nordisk Talks Tour of Britain Stages 4 & 5
Atlanta based Pro-continental squad Team Novo Nordisk have been animating races throughout the season with their typically aggressive racing and have set their sights firmly on more of the same during the squad’s second outing at the Aviva Tour of Britain. Team Novo Nordisk boasts a roster consisting entirely of racers competing at the highest level whilst living with diabetes and aims to inspire, educate and empower people also affected by the condition.
The race is approaching the sharp end as far as GC is concerned. We get Charles' insights into another day that saw him battling to make the hard-fought break and the team fighting for spoils in the finale- but not before a hawk-eyed Commissaire collared him about a defective frame number from the previous stage!
Stage 4, 9th Sept; Edinburgh- Blyth 217.4km
"I tried to stay at the front in the beginning, watching the guys making moves for the break, and respond. I tried differently but still didn’t make it. It was really crazy from the start because so many riders wanted to get into the break today. The roads make it really so hard compared, say, to the Tour of Denmark where I got away with the break twice. It is both because they are narrow but also that they are not always in the best condition. Together, this makes it hard every day.
Image credits - AP Sports Photography
After missing the break I found all the other guys and we focused on riding together. It makes a difference when you have all your teammates and you ride in one bunch. It makes it much safer and really helps you save so much energy. My legs felt heavy the day, I can feel we are a few days in but when I got to the final, I was feeling strong. I tried to help both the GC guys and Andrea to stay in the front. In the last 5km, I wanted to give Andrea more help but the race was single file and I wasn’t in the best position. I did notice that I did better today on the flats. We expect better and hope tomorrow will go well. It is very important for Javi to be supported and well positioned for tomorrow’s summit finish. If my legs are there, I hope I can really help Javi get a good result.”
And so the riders disappear for their massages and dinner. But the day's work is not over for the support crew - those Orbeas don't look pristine or run smooth as silk each day by themselves and it's the mechanics who work the graveyard shift and their hands that get the grease and road grime on them..
Image credits - AP Sports Photography
For both riders and staff, tomorrow's battle starts as soon as this day's one has finished. A battle that will reach a lofty crescendo atop Hartside Fell in England's stunning Lake District.
Stage 5, 10th Sept; Prudhoe- Hartside Fell 166.4km
“Our plan today was to ride all out for our leader. I worked from the start for Javi (Megias) but unfortunately he didn’t have the legs today. I felt okay and stayed with him all day but it wasn’t how we wanted the stage to go. We wanted to do more in the final climb. Luckily David (Lozano) still got up into the front group and is just outside of the top 20 in GC. It’s a disappointment. We were really looking forward to this stage and expected more out of the day.”
“My form is still good. My legs are still there. I’m super motivated. There are three more days left. I will make the break. I want to go big here and I want to make something happen. As for my teammates, I will work hard for David. He is okay in the GC and we only want to improve that. Right now, I’m really focused on making sure one of us shows our jersey on the front well before the race ends. There are three more days, three more chances.”