I try to finish ahead of the pack after a mechanical dropped by a lap with 1.5laps remaining
Race Recap: Tons of People! 35,000 people! It was like a formula 1 race but with no runoff areas! I got the call up, so did Remi. Halfway through the 2nd lap, Carlos was already in front of me though and soon up the road in a two man breakaway with Pista Palace rider Eric Mercotte. They pulled out a maximum advantage of 40 seconds when the first crash of the night complicated matters, helping Carlos and Eric Mercotte (Pista Palace & Old Pueblo Grand Prix Winner) successfully lap the field. UHC got on the front and started to bring them back. Once back together with 55 of the 80 laps remaining (1km x 80laps), I had a mechanical problem on the home straight. From the front of the race, where I was feeling very good, I pitted. When I came back out further down in the field, the race at the front was going insane. It took me a long time, 20 minutes to get back up to the front at which time a 12 man breakaway had formed with both Barlevav and Alzate. Good! I sat near the front and watched for bridge attempts.
Four of the 12 riders eventually attacked again and completely lapped the field whereas the rest of the riders came back to the peleton. Unfortunately no Team Exergy guys were in that second breakaway. No, gruppo compacto, we raced together for the final 17 laps. With 4 riders in the bunch but a lap ahead, the main focus was to just race as best as possible in the final and the officials will figure out the placings later. UHC put their big train on the front and the crowd got louder and louder every lap, well actually, I think the first lap might have been the loudest as I wasn't prepared for the sheer volume. That crowd went insane!
Carlos, Eric and I all found one another in the top 12 riders with 2 to go. It was looking good. Bang, another mechanical for me. I was able to pull off to the side without causing an incident. It took almost an entire lap to fix the problem and as I remounted my bike to finish the race, I had to race the quickly approaching lead car and sprinting riders! Yikes! But the crowd went nuts cause they thought I was off the front solo.
In the finale, Carlos finished 5th and Eric 10th. Luca Damiani won the race from the break and finished in style winning the bunch kick to the line. Remi finished the race strong as well despite flying over the barriers head first during one of the race's many crashes. Every few laps there were 10-20 guys in the pits. It was a dog fight out there!
Awesome racing in Athens. Can't wait to come back next year.