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You’ve been climbing for 20 minutes.
Your legs ache. And your heart races.
Then, it opens. 
The road ahead of you breaks free from the blanket of trees, stretching far into the distance, it jolts up in series of vertical and sharp turns, mapping out the mountainside. 
It’s visually breathtaking. You feel small and insignificant as the snow capped mountains dwarf everything around them; they demand attention and they take it right from you. The beauty consumes you. It nearly knocks you to the ground.
But soon you realise that it is not just the scenery that will take the breath right out of you. The road continues to rise. And rise.  
STELVIO PASS, ITALY. (2757M)

You’ve been climbing for 20 minutes.

Your legs ache. And your heart races.

Then, it opens.

The road ahead of you breaks free from the blanket of trees, stretching far into the distance, it jolts up in series of vertical and sharp turns, mapping out the mountainside.

It’s visually breathtaking. You feel small and insignificant as the snow capped mountains dwarf everything around them; they demand attention and they take it right from you. The beauty consumes you. It nearly knocks you to the ground.

But soon you realise that it is not just the scenery that will take the breath right out of you. The road continues to rise. And rise.  

STELVIO PASS, ITALY. (2757M)

You’ve been climbing for 20 minutes. 
Your legs ache. And your heart races.
Then, it opens. 
The road ahead of you breaks free from the blanket of trees, stretching far into the distance, it jolts up in series of vertical and sharp turns, mapping out the mountainside. 
It’s visually breathtaking. You feel small and insignificant as the snow capped mountains dwarf everything around them; they demand attention and they take it right from you. The beauty consumes you. It nearly knocks you to the ground.
But soon you realise that it is not just the scenery that will take the breath right out of you. The road continues to rise. And rise.  
STELVIO PASS, ITALY. (2757M)

You’ve been climbing for 20 minutes.

Your legs ache. And your heart races.

Then, it opens.

The road ahead of you breaks free from the blanket of trees, stretching far into the distance, it jolts up in series of vertical and sharp turns, mapping out the mountainside.

It’s visually breathtaking. You feel small and insignificant as the snow capped mountains dwarf everything around them; they demand attention and they take it right from you. The beauty consumes you. It nearly knocks you to the ground.

But soon you realise that it is not just the scenery that will take the breath right out of you. The road continues to rise. And rise.  

STELVIO PASS, ITALY. (2757M)

Stage 3. Oh so close.

Before I unravel the happenings of the Stage 3 at Tour de l’Avenir, an incredibly important and vital issue needs to be brought to light: the French and their pasta cooking methods.

I understood (before arriving) that we would not be getting Italian quality Al Dente pasta. That would be foolish of me. But when we notice a giant pot full of pasta steering around in hot, yet unboiled water, a full two and half hours before dinner, that is just shaking-of-the-head worthy. After the slow-cooked pasta has mulled in the pot for hours on end, we get the delicious sludge left as a result. How they can be so closely situated to Italy and come up with results like that I have no idea. Australia is over 13,000km away and we manage to do it alright. Maybe they just need to chat a bit more?

Right, with that out of way, lets get to the bike racing. The race started hard and fast as we snaked along next to a massive lake, hitting upwards of 60-70km/h. It then didn’t let up. Attacks followed attacks, and nothing was getting let go.

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Two from two: the fruits of our labour

The road ahead of me rises slightly, the blurry outline of the tour cars hanging in the hazy distance; they seem to float on the sun drenched road. My legs are burning, the pain lurches and twists through my muscles as each breath squeezes out rapidly - quick, haphazard gasps escaping my mouth with each pedal stroke. I look across to the race motorbike that holds a sign with the time gap to the leaders, the numbers etched across the electronic screen. Thank god. It’s going down.

As the burn in my legs builds to a sharp crescendo, I pull left as my teammate takes over on the front.

We ride ride hard on the front of the peloton in pursuit of the leaders ahead. We ride for a reason. We ride for a win. And that knowledge spurs us on.

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Stage 1. Win 1.

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I crossed the finish line of today’s stage one of Tour de l’Avenir hearing over the speakers something I have come fairly accustom to hearing this year: “Caleb Ewan (or Cabal Evans as it sounds in a thick French accent).” The little man had done it again! And there is nothing quite like the feeling of hearing a teammate has won after the teams hard work on the front; that it had all paid off.

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