In His Own Words: Leigh Howard on Tour de Luis Stage 7

Mon 28 Jan 2013

After strong results in the first two sprint stages of the Tour de San Luis, ORICA-GreenEDGE started the final day of racing aiming for the top step of the podium in the projected uphill bunch sprint. Although the team raced well, a few unlucky moments cost them a chance to contest the sprint. In his own words, Leigh Howard checks in from the airport in Buenos Aires to tell you about stage seven.  

The stage was pretty similar to the sprint stages earlier in the week. The breakaway went early. It was quite a big move with nine or ten riders in it, so it was important to control the gap. The bigger teams sent their riders to the front. Omega Pharma- QuickStep and Vini Fantini contributed to the chase. We had Christian Meier up there chasing right away. He did an awesome job helping to bring the race back together before the finish.

It was a standard but hectic run to the line. Mitch Docker and I have been working very well together, and we were looking forward to our final shot at a stage. Two kilometres from the front, we were right on the front when Mitch got pushed off the road. Without him, I had to look after myself in the finish.

Despite losing my last lead out man, things were looking pretty good. I was on Mark Cavendish’s wheel until 300 metres to go. There was a touch of shoulders and bikes in front of me, and one of Cav’s lead out men pulled out of his pedals. Sacha Modolo (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox), Cav and I were all caught behind it and lacked a good run to the finish line.

Although I had hoped to close out the Tour de San Luis with a better result, it has been a fantastic week of racing as a whole. The race organization was really good. The course was the perfect start to the season. It wasn’t overly hard racing, but it was a good mix of sprint stages, difficult mountain stages and a time trial. It was also nice to race in the sunshine before we face the cold weather in Europe.

I’m flying back to Girona now before I head to Majorca for the Challenge Majorca. I’m not sure if I’ll race all four races while there, but I do know I’m in the line-up for the first race -- a sort of criterium-like course. Hopefully Mitch and I can have a good run in the sprint to kick start the European season.