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FEATURE I MALLORCA


so courteously and can’t do enough to help guests ensuring they simply have the best time cycling with the company. On the fast descent Stephen caught me up and we cycled together by the magnificent Gorg Blau lake. The flat road gave me an opportunity to chat a little further. I asked if he thought he would be the last Triple Crown winner, to which he replied he thought it was still possible for someone to achieve the elusive title. By definition tour winners/riders are good all-rounders; however the World Champs can be quite specific and not suit every tour winner. As we chatted about Nicolas (his professional racing son) and how he thought his move to Sky was good for him, Stephen nonchalantly removed his gilet taking both hands off the bars with complete control of the bike even though we were going at a fair pace. Worried that I might veer and knock him off, I concentrated on controlling my bike as I didn’t want to be known as the guy who caused the ex - World Champion to break his collar bone in Mallorca. Don’t think I’m ready for the peloton yet! A short climb and we were at the top of the Coll des Reis, the start of the awesome Sa Colabra. The Sa Coabra isn’t called iconic for nothing. It immediately fills you with awe as you turn and twist down under the road like some sort of scalelectric track built by a 10 year old, before you know it you are negotiating bend after bend as the road snakes down to the coast hugging


the side of the mountain through amazing scenery. Not that you get a chance to really appreciate the distinctive landscape as you need to concentrate to enjoy the gravity assisted plunge down to the sea. Besides there will be plenty of time to admire the view on the way back up the 7% 10km pass. At the start I was following Stephen, expecting to pick up tips on descending like a pro. Needless to say, even though Stephen was taking it easy and not going down ‘like the cables had been cut’, as in his racing days, he had lost me by turn three! After the 26th and final turn we all met up at the bottom looking like a bunch of ‘laughing gas addicts’ on a day trip from Magaluf, with silly ear to ear grins. However when the time came to ascend the grins were soon replaced by grimaces and wide eyes.


Around the dinner table on the first night I had met Mike, a mathematician and cycling analyst wizard. Not only had Mike told fellow guests their best time for time trails, specific ascents and judged their weight to the nearest kg. He also predicted my time up the Sa Colabra. I didn’t want to let him down so I started the uphill challenge determined to achieve the time Mike had set and must have looked at my watch as much as the scenery. At one point Stephen had kindly waited for me for a photo opportunity and I spent a little time climbing the favourite training hill of pro teams with him. Forever the professional he eventually


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