Stuart O'Grady's Spring Day In Hell
I've known Stuey for most of my adult life, although to say we've acted like adults when together would not be true. We've had a lot of fun on our parallel and crossing journeys, even through the worst of times, and the two of us have shared each others bad times, we've also been together for some of our greatest.
He supported me when I was banned like very few others did, and that wasn't an easy thing to do. We raced together on Cofidis in 2004, he was on the form of his life and when Stuey is on the form of his life you better fasten your seatbelt because it's a rock'n'roll ride.
There are many memories from that time when we were team mates, yet one in particular stands out, we were at the Dauphiné and decided to race hard.
In the neutral zone the two of us sat near the back of the bunch, we had a plan, I'd take the left and he'd take the right, I'd be ready to launch before 0km in order to be hitting it at terminal velocity, in the mean time he'd be on the right with enough momentum to slip into the flow of the riders who would jump after me (I was TT World Champ at the time, so we knew everybody would go after me...).
I then rode flat out for roughly 80km in order to fatigue the breakaway and distance the chasing peloton, then we hit mountains, yep, mountains (neither of our speciality), and Stuey took over as I put it in reverse, he ended up winning comfortably. I'd like to say it was one of our finest hours, albeit unconventional.
I was in a hotel in Georgia, USA, the day Stuey won Roubaix. I used some illegal internet connection to find a feed, there are two times in my career when I've truly been emotional to watch a friend win a race, the first was Stuey winning the Olympics Madison in 2004, the second him winning Paris Roubaix in 2007. This is the first time I've ever asked him to tell the story, and as I write this I realise I didn't mention that when we spoke. So here it is, the time my friend won Paris-Roubaix.
In lieu of a Sunday in Hell this weekend, we decided to give you a Sunday in Heaven. We've created some cracking finish-line packs, inspired by the famous velodrome and they're yours to grab now for a special price of just £37.50