Dan Kogan, who works in the online media team at Sigma Sport, took part in the 3-day Haute Route event at Mt Ventoux in Provence, France, in October 2017. Here he describes his experiences of the event.
How did it go?
The event went well. I was a bit unsure of my form so went into it cautiously. The first day was shortened due to the winds, so I followed the wheels and made sure I was in a good position when we hit the climbs, not too far back but not on the front of the bunch. Following the wheels meant I made it into the break of 9 after 25km. This split on the penultimate climb and I made the move. One rider attacked so we were racing for 2nd. On Ventoux I bluffed a little bit and ended up finishing 3rd.
Day 2, the 141km queen stage, had some tough climbs before a 21km ascent on Ventoux. I attacked as soon as the flag dropped and spent 125 kilometres riding solo at the front. The gap wavered between 2 and 7 minutes. Hitting the slopes of Ventoux my gap crumbled and I was caught and passed by 2 riders after 6km. By the last kilometre I was really suffering and I was passed by one other rider. In the end I finished 4th and maintained my 3rd place on GC.
The final day was an individual time trial up Ventoux from the Bedoin side. I set off early and was setting a good pace. The final few kilometres were incredibly windy and I was struggling to keep my bike in a straight line. As the first rider to arrive at the finish I told the organisers I thought the wind was too dangerous and so subsequent riders were stopped 6km down the mountain at Chalet Reynard. Unfortunately, pacing myself for 21 rather than 15 kilometres cost me my 3rd place on GC.
Overall I was happy with my performance and my legs.
Did the organisation of the race live up to expectations?
The organisation was very slick, we had a thorough briefing each day and the route was marked well. Feed zones were well stocked and at the finishes we were greeted with our bags, warm clothes and food. The post stage pasta parties were welcome, as were the massages.
Were you as well prepared as you could be?
Yes, I believe I was. I felt strong on the climbs and the distance didn’t seem to affect me too much. Maybe with some race speed in my legs I might have finished each stage a bit stronger, but, well… c’est la vie.
What was the most painful moment?
After 120km solo out in front on Day 2 I realised that would have to manage the ride of my life if I was to hold off the bunch on the ascent of Mt Ventoux. I didn’t in the end, but I gave it my best shot.
What did you learn?
I learned that racing in events like these isn’t everything and that I missed out on a lot of spectacular scenery because of it. Maybe next time I will click it up a few cogs and spin along, making sure I enjoy the surroundings a little more.
And your favourite moment of the trip?
My favourite moment was descending Mont Ventoux each day after the day's race. It's a beautiful race with fast, flowing turns and smooth tarmac. Perfect.