CRASHES, cross-winds and chores occupied Tasmania's pro cyclists as they fine-tune world championship preparations across the globe this week.
Wes Sulzberger and Cameron Wurf have been in the thick of the action in the Vuelta a Espana while Richie Porte is also playing a team role in the USA Pro Challenge, all with an eye towards final selection for next month'sntsseptnte road worlds in Florence.
Crashes marred the 172-kilometre third stage of the Vuelta with Sulzberger's ORICA-GreenEDGE teammate Simon Gerrans among those hardest hit.
The Flowery Gully rider helped Gerrans to the finish in Mirador de Lobeira where they crossed next to Wurf, nearly 13 minutes behind American winner Christopher Horner.
The Hobart rider had also undergone an eventful stage, avoiding numerous crashes only to sustain a flat rear tyre.
``I got the reality check of how exhilarating and also demoralising it can be racing in crosswinds,'' said Wurf, whose role is to support Cannondale leader Ivan Basso.
``One minute you are dishing out the suffering, the next you are pleading for forgiveness and just wanting to be in the middle of a peaceful peleton.''
Basso put in another fine display to continue his climb up the general classification. ``His smile is getting wider and wider every day and with it the morale of the team,'' added Wurf, who is 142nd overall, 24 places behind Sulzberger.
Across the Atlantic, Porte combined mentoring Team Sky's young neo-pros with the altitude training necessary to take on both the worlds' road race and time trial.
``My form at the moment is not so great but I think that's good,'' the Hadspen rider told Cycling Central.
``I guess that's what this race is about for me, just to see where I am. I'm happy. I like racing here. It's good fun.''
Repaying the efforts of teammates who helped him win Paris-Nice this year, Porte spent the seven-day race in Colorado ferrying drink bottles, finished 92nd and even found time to catch up with Boulder-based Launceston triathlete Joe Gambles.
``He knows how to lead a team,'' said 21-year-old Josh Edmondson. ``He's really good with the younger riders. He gives us advice. He's not so strict. He's nice to have around.''
Having narrowly missed out on Vuelta selection, Campbell Town's Will Clarke`s next assignment for Argos-Shimano is supporting multiple Tour de France stage winner Marcel Kittel in the two-day World Ports Classic in the Netherlands.
And West Pine's Amy Cure sits eighth in the Trophee d'Or in France after leading home the peleton in the latest stage. Cure and Grace Sulzbergber finished the 17.8km time trial in sixth and seventh respectively before a crash ended the Flowery Gully rider's race.