Memorial Manuel Sanroma

XVIII Memorial Manuel Sanroma – Almagro 2-Stage

posted in: Races, Solyo | 0


My first race of the season was the XVIII Memorial Manuel Sanroma, a 2 day stage race in Almagro.

I totally tuned my bike up. I cleaned my bike twice this week. I was scrutinizing every part of the bike. The bike was ready to go…


CLUNK! for a few seconds I didn’t know where that noise was coming from. I was cruising around on the bike after I had signed on for my number, half an hour before the first race, and this unusual clunking sound sure surprised the hell out of me. I stopped, and I noticed that the rear derailleur was hanging down and flapping around like a rag doll. It was all over the place! I knew the only option was to ride the team spare bike.


Mind you, the team have recently bought new spare bikes, and they are Giant advanced propel – the bike is a beast, and much better than my bike. The only problem was the bike position. It had a really wide and high handlebar, and felt like I was riding a chopper! I could see the “Oh Jesus, not again!” facial expression that my Sports Director Ivan David was making when he saw my bike. I quickly figured out that the hangar had snapped in half.

The first race on Saturday afternoon was 105km flat, across the plains, with strong wind. It was going to be my day, as the course favoured me. I decided to pretend to myself that the bike setup was my style… chopper style! Man, it was awkward to race, and I couldn’t focus… but that bike is damn fast. I could immediately feel the stiffness of it, absolutely incredible!

Anyway, it wasn’t my day, and I couldn’t produce enough power output, or maybe it was just psychological because of the bike situation, who knows. The bike was ultra-fast, however it was very uncomfortable to ride, and I had a back and hip pain. The stem was way too short and the handlebar was so high that it kept scraping the skin of my knee every time I got out of the saddle to power down. So my knee was bleeding for the whole race. Nevertheless, I did finish the race in the 2nd group.


My legs were shaking after I got off the bike. They were in shock from consuming so much speed after a long winter of training base miles. I knew that I needed to eat and get well rested, so I did. The shower wasn’t what I was expecting at all… it wasn’t even working, so I had to use the bath with cold water. The hot water wasn’t working either!


On Sunday morning, the 2nd 145km race was a mountainous stage… flat for 50-60 km, then the climbing started, with 60 km flat on the way back. I was pumping myself up for the climbing. I was riding the spare bike again, with the ‘chopper’ style set up, but this time my body was starting to get used to the awkward bike position.

Because of the change of bike, I didn’t have my Garmin with me,  so I was racing blind, without knowing how much distance I had covered. I was eating my bar in the peloton when all of a sudden we entered into what I called ‘welcome to hell!’. A very narrow road, similar to Paris-roubaix, but without the cobbles. The road surface was appalling. So of course there was already a crash, with about 6 riders down, blocking the road. I managed to cyclo-cross my way around them on the grass. The peloton split in two.


The road was very twisty with continuous up and downs, It was insane. I was passing riders one by one, and the peloton was stretching into a single file, with some gaps opening. It was a real mess. Then another crash! This time several riders went down, and one of their carbon wheels was bent in half! I wouldn’t dare to damage the team bike I was riding! The peloton was scattered and blown apart before the climb. When we got to the 8km climb, I was time-trialing up the mountain and I was surprised how my climbing has improved since last season. I wasn’t sure if it was the bike or me!

I was passing some riders up the climb, and we made a small group over the summit, working together, but the group from behind caught us, then the group got quite big, as we caught more riders. Later, 2 riders attacked. I wanted to join them, but I was waiting for the right moment. There was a short climb, 5 minutes at least I think. I went to the front and went full throttle, then bridged the gap to 2 riders at the summit. It was just a perfect move. We were together really nicely and we were extending the gap, and eventually we couldn’t see them in sight behind, so we kept it going.

All of the sudden, one of the riders team car came along and the director was shouting – then the two bloody riders began holding onto the car and went off into the distance at high speed! They went off then disappeared. I was in shock, and furious! I mean, I did shout at them, but they didn’t care! It was just like that! I thought to myself that I have to carry on, as I didn’t have far to go to the finish. I thought I had something like 10 kilometers to go, but without my Garmin I was wrong. It was more like 40 kilometers to go!

After soloing for 20 kilometers against really a strong headwind, I finally got caught by the group behind, and I stayed with them to the finish. I was very frustrated and wanted to confront the team who had cheated, and say “You are cheaters”. But it’s not worth it. Now I don’t care, and I know that they are not true sportsmen to cycling. They’re going to cheat again anyway.
I have already moved on, feeling positive for the next race already. All I need to do is to repair the bike, then get back in action, it’s as simple as that.

Bring it on!



Memorial Manuel Sanroma









































Stage 2































































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