As the season is being planned in the winter, everything is so clean and simple. The calendar has a logical flow with building, peak, and rest periods. You notice the ‘R’s on some other races, but at that point of the year don’t give much attention to your reserve races. But then the season starts for real and you realise that cycling is messy—sometimes, really messy.
Some years are worse than others, but injuries and illness are a constant presence, and when this unfortunate duo arrive at a time of year where teams are running a double – or even triple – race programmes, that carefully-planned calendar quickly has more lines and arrows than one of John Madden’s play diagrams.