Damien Shaw no nonsense thoughts on best days of his career
Damien Shaw was on cloud nine when he took the yellow jersey and stage one of the Tour du Loir et Chere in France. He held the jersey for two more days before losing it on the penultimate stage.
By Brian Canty
Damien Shaw has reflected on his biggest week in cycling so far with a mixture of pride and regret.
The An Post-ChainReaction rider was competing in his first race of 2017. But he put any perceived rustiness to one side with and assured display against some very strong teams.
He admitted to stickybottle on Saturday evening that he was resigned to losing the jersey that day because of the hills on the course.
But that didn’t make it an easier pill to swallow when he eventually gave up yellow.
He can reflect on a fantastic win on the opening stage. Between it and holding the lead he has just had the best days of his cycling career so far.
“I still thought there was a chance to hold the jersey on Saturday,” he reflected.
“I was in a big group with guys who had stuff to ride for. But obviously they were too far ahead,” he added of the break that slipped away late on.
“There was quality in that break and they were just waiting for their chance and they took it.”
Shaw’s An Post Chain Reaction team rode themselves into the ground trying to bring things back for him.
Sean McKenna and Conor Hennebry did some strong pulls for Damien Shaw. But it was not enough as he was relieved of the yellow jersey. There was a late smash and grab by Alexander Kamp and a clutch of fellow Danish riders.
So much so that Sean McKenna lost 20 minute and Conor Hennebry was outside the time limit.
The nearest team mate to Damien Shaw at the finish was almost eight minutes back. It was clear they had emptied themselves.
“They worked like dogs out there and they paid the price for it on Saturday,” said the Mullingar man.
“They did a great job, put me in great position at the start. And up until 110k it was all going Dandy. Then the last man dropped and I was on my own.
“They did absolutely everything they could and so did I.”
Shaw felt that sinking feeling when the break containing stage and eventual winner Alexander Kamp got away. And they were not seen again before the finish.
“There were risks I had to take going into the stage; what to follow and who to follow.
“It’s easy to be wise now but the legs were not responding at the time.
“It’s a fair result and I can’t deny that I’m not going uphill with a 65kg guys after riding for three days.
Damien Shaw on the importance of a result
“But look, you couldn’t ask for any more… we won’t get above our station here.
“We got a bonus the first day when I won. And we had our days in the sun and it’s a great experience for the guys.
“It’s easy for heads to drop if you take a beating every day. But it’s a good reflection that we can ride on the front for two days. It shows our ability.
“I got a huge bonus on the first day, it couldn’t have went any better.
“I tried my hardest the last few days and maybe more racing would have brought me on. But look… horses for courses.
“And those really steep climbs are just probably beyond my capabilities.”