Robin Hood Monumental
Tour Des Hautes Montagnes 2008 - Stage 19
Stage 19 of this year's tour was from the well known ski resort of Robin Du Bois back to the well known ski resort of Robin Du Bois over a demanding 5 mile and 850ft route including three category 4 climbs over the Col de Birchins, Col de White Edge and, following a brief descent into the valley, Col de La Great Big Concrete Monument.
The mass start saw Team Long Eaton setting a cracking pace, with King of the Mountains Phil Walters off over the Col de Birchins in a three man breakaway group including Ian 'El Pirato' Adkin and Glen 'Fall Guy' Coleman. The pelaton followed behind containing Debbie Colemen, Andy Colgate, Sean Gauton, Colin Bostock, Tony Vardy, Phil Abbot , Jonathan Vardy and Andrei 'Send in the MRT' Vias. Meanwhile on the A617 Andy Dickinson and Pete Sturgess were both pulled out following the discovery of EPO (enraged police officers) close by their car.
Near disaster struck The Fall Guy on the next section with Sean Gauton heard to utter 'I'm sure he did a complete somersault' as Glen Coleman lived up to his name with an exquisite display of bracken surfing.
Back on the route and approaching the final col, Phil Walters, whilst turning and offering a hard stare at his nearest rival prior to executing a well-rehearsed kick for the summit, ran straight off the edge and plummeted at least 18 inches into some bracken. Wow, a close call!
By now the race referee had pulled out (actually, he never turned up in the first place) and the groups closed. On the final descent Coleman once again showed what a hard man he is by trying to break open a substantial boulder with his knee!
As the group came within sight of the finish line and with the 'same time' rule applying a huge pile up finally occurred as Colgate suffered a blow out just metres from the line, The resulting devastation was horrific as runner after runner piled up in a great big, well, pile of runners with only Debbie Coleman and Sean Gauton able to avoid the melee owing to the fact that they were actually watching where they were going.
The final times were Debbie Coleman (60mins), Sean Gauton (+10 secs), and everybody else given the same time of 61 minutes.
At the end of the stage Debbie Coleman was awarded the Maillot Jaune, Sean Gauton the Polka Dot Jersey. The Green Jersey went to Peter Shilton and the best young Rider was Roy Rodgers.
Wednesday's stage to Croyden was cancelled when Tony Vardy failed a drugs test after it was found he hadn't been taking the tablets for a while.
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