I got to the start still not feeling very good. Something was not right and I was feeling queasy.
In the team meeting before the race I was asked to cover moves (follow them - be in any breaks that form) in the first two laps. This worked well for me, as I wasn't sure how well I would last as the race wore on.
Why do we want to cover moves?
If a break happens to get away you want to have a rider represented. This means that your team can "relax" behind. It becomes the responsibility of other teams to chase, "we are not chasing, we have a teammate up there". If a break gets away and you don't have a rider represented then it becomes your responsibility, "Shit, we have no-one up there, let's bring it back." Chasing wastes the energy of your riders, giving you less options at the back end of the race.
In general, it's much better to have a few riders following some attacks than to have to use up your team chasing one back if it is threatening. If you have no rider represented you have no chance at winning, your on the back-foot.
Additionally, for this particular race, the first couple of laps were likely to be very hard and fast, you want to save your best riders - or rather, riders most suited to the particular course, for later in the race, when more threatening moves are likely to happen and firepower to chase them back is waning in the bunch. Even tough in a race like this, these early moves have little chance of going anywhere, you still want to have a rider represented, just in case.
Why did this work for me?
As I was feeling average, I didn't actually want to get away with a move. The last thing I wanted was to be stuck up the road all day. But u still wanted to be useful while I was there. So, when I chased a move (a few riders trying to get off the front and create a gap), I did not ride hard with the other riders. Instead, when I was in the move, I would just "sit on", this leaves the other riders with a difficult choice. Either they keep working and potentially tow me around the course - They don't know I'm not feeling good and will likely not make it. Or, alternatively, they decide "this combination of riders is no good" and sit up, letting us get consumed by the bunch. This move is effectively "neutralized" and another will try and go. While I'm recovering, a teammate will ideally cover the next move. If he feels good, perhaps he will ride with the group. But, our main objective is to make sure we are represented so the team does not end up in a situation where they have to chase.
The race was 13 laps of a 12km circuit. With two climbs each lap. The finishing climb ran past the finish line and onto a 600m cobble section that weaved it's way through the old city. The side lined with cafes where people relaxed and had a coffee while watching the race fly by. It has a great atmosphere and is a race I'd love to do healthy and in top form in the future.
I covered moves for the first 5 laps and felt pretty good. Once racing I did not notice so much how sick I was feeling. From here on I tried to conserve energy, hoping to make it through "the selection" if was always going to happen that in one of the climbs riders would go absolutely full gas and splits would happen over the top on the cobbles and flat open sections when it was all strung out. With 5 laps to go it happened. I just held on over the climb and cobbles, but a rider a few wheels in front dropped the wheel (couldn't keep the pace anymore) and I did not have enough in me to close the gap. I continued to chase and the bunch slowed before hitting the final climb 8km later. I did manage to get back on but was unable to get over the climb with them the next lap and was again dropped. This was the end of my race. I pulled out and almost immediately was not feeling good. I'd managed to mask it while racing but it caught up with me and am spending the day in bed today, hopefully I'll be on top of it soon.
The team rode well with 5 riders finishing with the selection of around 50 rides. Slovenian teammate Rok finished 6th and Croatian teammate Viktor 8th.
Time to look after myself for a few days.