Procycling - - Prologue -

Iwas happy to spend the last month of the sea­son rac­ing again, af­ter my in­jury at the Tour. Things went well enough that I could even show my face off the front of the bunch from time to time. My last block of 2017 came mainly in Italy, start­ing on 1 Oc­to­ber. A lot of riders are wind­ing down their sea­sons but I was re­ally mo­ti­vated to get go­ing. I hope I can carry that pos­i­tive at­ti­tude through into my train­ing for 2018.

I ended up rac­ing one day on, one day off for the first seven days of the month. I rode the GP Beghelli and Tre Valli Vare­sine and was happy with how they went – I felt like I was get­ting some rac­ing rhythm back. Mi­lanoTorino went even bet­ter – I was able to at­tack on the climbs and I felt like I was hav­ing an ef­fect on the race, rather than fol­low­ing. I couldn’t fol­low Urán’s at­tack, but at least I’d had a head start by at­tack­ing first. I fin­ished ninth – my first top 10 in a road race since stage 1 of the Critérium du Dauphiné. That showed that I wasn’t chas­ing form any more – I was on top of it.

Then I got se­lected for Lombardia. It’s a bit longer, so my role was to sup­port the team. Un­for­tu­nately we lost Jan Bake­lants to a very nasty crash, and he was badly hurt, though when you look at the cir­cum­stances, we should be thank­ful the con­se­quences weren’t worse. On the pos­i­tive side, the team pulled to­gether well and we had Alexis Vuiller­moz and Domenico Poz­zo­vivo in the group of seven who sprinted for third. They were fourth and sixth in the end – a shame to miss the podium, but Nibali is in a class of his own in that race. Mathias Frank was also up there, so Ag2r put on a good show.

I rounded off my sea­son back in France, at the Chrono des Na­tions. Rid­ing a 50km time trial at this time of year is never easy, but I wanted to show off my na­tional cham­pion’s jersey one more time be­fore the win­ter break. My legs were okay, and I got sixth. Not stel­lar, but there’ll be more to come next year. How­ever, not be­fore I go on hol­i­day – I’ve heard Bali is very nice at this time of year, and I’m go­ing to find out!

Pierre was mo­ti­vated to re­turn to rac­ing at the Ital­ian one- day races

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