By Marty Jemison — Paris-Camembert, 2000. Yes, where they make the cheese……..
208 kms: 130 kms mostly flat to undulating, then two large laps followed by a smaller 20 kms loop. Postal was motivated because Lance was motivated. Lance takes command and when he does, he usually delivers. I had orders to cover the early breaks.
Before the start Johan, again, stressed the point of me covering the breaks…. I assured him that I would not miss a move…. Eventually I did make the break, after several of us had covered several moves.
We were controlling the race from early on. My break lasted for about 20-30kms, never gaining more than 2:00min. Eventually, we were brought back. Lance immediately had the team on the front dialing it up….
The day had been in the gutter from the start, and now our team was causing some hurt for the peloton. No more than 50 riders were with us…. but for them it was too easy, so we eventually eased up. Later we lined it up again, Lance taking pulls as well, then yielding to Tyler, Eki, Cedric, Christian and myself. Lance was asking for a lot, but by taking a pro-active offense, others would have less of a chance.
On the first 25km lap, the peloton was down to 60 riders or so. Many riders were dropped on the first climb here. Coming around the second time up a critical climb, Johan asked for Steven and me to line it up, to go as far as possible. Eki, Christian and Cedric would then take over…. Tyler had managed to get in a break on the first lap. As Steve and I faded back, there were only 6-8 riders left in the wheels of the team…. Yes, over the top others would regain. As I was finishing the climb and standing on the pedals, my chain came off the derailleur pulley and broke it… my bike seized.
The race was going up the road. When Johan arrived, the mechanic jumped out to inspect my bike. It was obvious that I would need a spare (my spare is not on the car). It was also obvious that there was little to no chance to make it back to the front. Johan knew, and I knew, that my role for the team result was over…. He told me to limp it to the finish line (3 kms away). I had been in the break, rode on the front (a lot), etc., etc.
I still do not feel I did enough, but with no spare bike, there was no chance for me to contribute any further. In the big tours, there would be a spare bike for me on a second car, but there is no second car in races like Paris-Camembert.
I heard later that Eki rode an incredible race for Lance…
Job done … Lance came home with 2nd place.