NDP's Boswell blogs from Valle d’Aosta


Ian Boswell continues to blog from the Valle d'Aosta in Italy, where through two stages, the team is in good position. Rob Squire sits in sixth, Joe Dombrowski is in 16th, our writer, Boswell is in 30th and Larry Warbasse is in 35th. Additionally, the team sits in fifth and Dombrowski is wearing the Best U21 jersey.

Need I say much more about the stage? With 12,000 ft of climbing, today was a day of survival, or a day to battle on the longest climbs I have ever done. Wearing the KOM jersey I went into the stage ready to defend and get more points, little did I realize how much yesterday took out of me. 6km into the stage the road turned up and I threw in my first attack. I was hoping to get off the front with a small group of riders who would let me take the points in exchange for setting the pace on the climb. I was quickly reeled in only to try again. A few more tries and I was cooked, so I retired to the pack only to see a group ride off the front and the pack sit up. I summited in the second group, but by the time we hit the foot of the second climb the pack (only about 60 riders at this point) was all back together.

The second climb was a bit steeper at the bottom and  attacks began to fly, making the already small pack began to fray almost instantly. Both of our climbing aces Rob and Joe (Dombrowski)  went off the front in the lead group while Larry (Warbasse) and I rode a hard but more steady pace in the group just behind. Countless Km's of climbing later we were just seconds behind the lead group and with 1km to the KOM we caught the leaders. 4 riders went off the front just as we made contact but I was still able to sprint and get a meager 1 point for summiting in 5th. Another long descent with breath taking views and switchback,  we were at the foot of the final and longest climb of the day. The opening km's of the climb saw 4 riders attack off the front and open up a good gap within 1km. In the pack behind we all took a minute to fuel up before we started out final assault on ourselves and the climb.

Despite having already climbing over two Alp passes Rob wanted more, sitting 3rd on GC he wanted to try to improve and climb the ladder to the yellow jersey. So with no teams riding the front Larry and I went to the front and began to set a tempo to keep the riders off the front in check and discourage the riders in our group from attacking. It wasn't long before guys began going backwards, including the yellow jersey. Larry and and I continued on for another 8km's before we were overtaken by a Russian onslaught. Joe and Rob marked the move as Larry and I began to succumb to gravity. Still 17km to climb the two of us decided to save our matches for another day, as easy as that is climbing a mountain.

Rob and Joe went for it up front, however could not match mother Russia's leader who put 3+ minutes into 2nd place, despite having a crash on the final descent. Joe finished 9th on the stage with Rob in the same group. Larry and I came in with the second large group on the road still in the top 40, which blows my mind seeing how much todays stage blew to shreds.  I lost the KOM jersey but am still in contention and plan on chasing more points. Every stage from here on out has a lot of climbing with more amazing views!

Thank you for reading

P.S. Happy Birthday to Gavin Mannion who was treated to all these wonderful climbs today. He was the only one who finished the stage today and didn't look like death, he actually had a big smile. Thanks Gavin for keeping us upbeat!

Boswell enjoys his hard-earned polka dot jersey.
Boswell enjoys his hard-earned polka dot jersey.
Ian Boswell's first-hand account of polka dots and podiums as the USA Cycling National Development Program contests stage one of Italy's Balle d'Aosta on August 23.

Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat"
-Theodore Roosevelt.
This is what my roommate Rob Squire read to me before the stage today. So with this in mind Rob and I went out to race our bikes with passion and panache. Soon after the start Rob and I both made a large break of 20+ riders, we gained time over the pack quickly and had five minutes before the first climb 25 km into the race.
Motivated from Teddy's quote, Rob told me he wanted to win the stage and I told him I wanted to win the KOM jersey (King of the Mountains). As we neared the top of the first climb I went for the KOM sprint and took 3rd. After some amazing and scenic roads through the French Alps we hit the second climb, 90 km from the finish. The break stopped working together, so I decided to mix things up. I went to the front and rode a harder pace and soon found myself off the front. I first told myself I would ride to the top of the climb, get the KOM points and see what kind of gap I had. By the top I had over 1'30" on the break so I decided to ride and see if I could pick up the next KOM 20 km from the summit of the 2nd climb. Not killing myself I rode steady and hit the next climb with the same gap. I summited the 3rd climb and now had 2' over the break. At this point our team director, Marcello Albansani, came up to me and told me to continue but not burn all my fuel, so continued on and rode within self.
By the time I reached the last climb 30 km from the finish my gap was still at 2', and Marcello told me to ride for the win. Riding off the front also hoped Rob who was in the group behind, as he did not have to work with the others who were chasing. I summited the final climb 25 km from the finish with 1'30" over the chasing group which was now down to just 10 riders. After a technical decent I put my head down and rode for the win. The last 25 km was a mostly flat route with a hard 1 km finishing climb that we had scouted out this morning. I gave it all I had and still had a 40" gap over the chase group with 5 km to go. At this point I thought I could win, all I had to do was make it up the final climb which was over 15%.
With 2 km to go I still had 20" over the chase. As the climb approached I got goosebumps just thinking of the win, and kept the power driving on. I hit the 15% pitch and had pain in my legs like I have never experienced before, but with the finish line just 600 meters away I gave it all I had. The fans on the road where cheering, but all I could hear were my legs telling me to stop. With 500 meters to go I looked back and still didn't see anyone, however my speed was starting to slow. By the time I hit 300 meter from the finish I was probably going under 5 km/h, it was at this point I was passed by the chasers. Too knackered to feel emotion, I looked up to see Rob and the others come by at a much higher speed. The last 200 meters were the longest of my life, and I then realized I did what I could and came up just 300 meters short. I have seen riders come up short a hundred times on TV, being caught in the final, but never has it happened to me. After crossing the line I had no regrets, I gave 100% and that’s all I can do.
Rob finished 3rd on the stage, which is a great result. I won the KOM jersey and most aggressive rider for the day, however there is still a lot of climbing to be done before this race is over. Following the stage I gave a few interviews in my broken French trying to win the hearts of the French fans. Tomorrow is a huge day with three cat 1 climbs, so I will recover to my best and give the race what I have tomorrow.
Squire finished third on the stage.
Squire finished third on the stage.

Thanks for reading
Le Boz
Valle d’Aosta
Stage 1 Ville-La-Grand - Ville-La-Grand - 146.7 kilometers
1. Clément Koretsky (FRA) 03:41:59'
2. Siarhei Papok (BLR) 03:42:03
3. Rob Squire (Sandy, Utah/Chipotle Development Team) 03:42:03''
14. Ian Boswell (Bend, Ore./Trek Livestrong U23) 03:42:25'
28. Larry Warbasse (Traverse City, Mich./BMC Racing) 03:43:30
43. Joe Dombrowski (Marshall, Va./Trek Livestrong U23) 03:43:35
91. Gavin Mannion (Dedham, Mass./Trek Livestrong U23) 03:47:24

This Article Published August 23, 2011 For more information contact: