Letters from Abroad – Looking Forward to La Manche

Editor’s Note: Peter Horn is an American racing with the Geox-Fuji Test Team, the amateur development team of Geox-TMC. As Geox-Fuji Test Team’s captain, he’s looking to lead the team to victories in Belgium and around Europe, and help break the team’s riders into the Professional ranks.

May, 2011 – Beauchamps, France

This week the team is in France – first in Picardie and then in Normandy over the weekend. This past weekend, we had a race in Beauchamp, where Paavo was 5th and I was 31st. Ok resuls for the team, but if I know myself after racing a few years here, I know my best is still to come. After training hard in the Ardennes last week and taking a few easy days, a fast race like yesterday is a bit of a shock to the legs. But for me, it’s normal and it will open me up for the racing this weekend. As his recent results have shown, Paavo is in great form right now and he’s ready for the stage races.

Our strategy for La Manche is to go for stage wins for him, and the overall win for me. I’m normally at my best in stage races and with a time trial at La Manche, I have a real shot at GC. Paavo is a quick, powerful rider and the rolling terrain of Normandy suits him well. The ideal situation is to have the two of us in the crucial breakaways of stages one and two. That puts him in position to go for stage wins and it puts me in position to take time and go for the lead. The rest of our team is Nat Thompson (American), Thomas Vanhaecke, Arne Casier (both Belgian) and Mathieu Selwa (French). Nat, Arne and Mathieu are always strong and they will be our workhorses. Thomas is another rider with good results so far this season, and his job will be to go for the U23 jersey. Doing that means being in some lead groups throughout the race, so in some stages we hope to have Thomas, Paavo and me racing the final together.

Today we did a very easy two hour ride in the hills around Beauchamps. There really are beautiful fields around here, as the town’s name implies. We spent the first half of the afternoon napping, stretching and doing core workouts. The second half of the afternoon we spent in Eu, the biggest town within 25 kilometers of here. The town itself is only slightly more appealing than its name, but it was a nice enough place to enjoy a coffee and a little walk around.

Dinner’s cooking now, thanks to soigneurs Ann and Noel. But before we eat I’ll take a walk around our place and say hello to the animals. We stay in an old farmhouse that has been remodeled into a small hotel. Outside our door is a nice courtyard with a Jack Russell terrier who’s always running around, and further out, stables with eight or nine horses. There’s a few goats and rabbits around too.

Lastly, the Song of the Week: <Strip My Mind> by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It’s a song I first heard in The Fighter and it’s what I listened to before yesterday’s race. By the way, I only use the < and > instead of quotations because I’m writing with Paavo’s computer; there are a few differences between an English and Finnish keyboard and since I can’t find quotation marks, I’ll just use the punctuation a Finn would use.

The next update will be on the way home from Normandy. Send us the force for La Manche.

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