A slightly more exciting day today; after a tough little climb out of town at the start of the stage, I managed to slip into the day’s breakaway. It didn’t really turn out as I would have liked but you’ve got to try, hey. I saw the group ahead and decided I’d give it a crack. I jumped hard and kept going full gas until I made contact. I actually thought at one point I wouldn’t make it across – I think it took me 3-4km before I actually caught up.
As soon as I was there I was after some info on who I was with and where they were in the GC. An ideal situation would be some guys who had lost a bit of time already and can’t really climb so well. In turn they would not be a threat for GC and maybe we would be given a little bit of space. It didn’t turn out to be such a good break away, to say the least. I was with two of the best climbers in the race and some Russian dude who looked pretty strong and mean. All three of them were all up in the GC. Doh…
It wasn’t going to happen, but what could I do? I was there and I wasn’t going to sit up and drop back to the bunch. I decided to take it as easy as possible and see what happened. If we went close enough to the finish, I would try to attack and ride to the finish alone.
Our gap maxed out at five minutes, unlike yesterday’s 12 minutes. The peloton was a little nervous after yesterday’s successful breakaway and was also fighting some strong crosswinds. After the 2nd intermediate sprint, my three companions didn’t seem too interested in carrying on. The peloton was breathing down our necks and was less than one minute behind. I gave it a go and rode pretty god-damn hard for a few kilometres. Maybe they would let me go…. Nope.
A few teams were trying to take advantage of the strong crosswinds and were trying to split the group. So my day was as good as over; I eased off and waited for the bunch. It wasn’t such a relaxing sight to see the bunch thundering past at more than 60kph in a screaming crosswind. Immediately, I was fighting again for position and trying to recover a little.
Before I knew it we had less than 10km to go. I switched to bunch sprint mode and went looking for the troops and, after just a few kilometres, we got together and were riding well near the front.
With 4km to go we went up a short steep climb, my legs seized and right there I knew my day was well and truly over. I did my last surge in the left hand gutter, pulled out the parachute and passed the baton to the next team mate in line. My work was done and I rode to the finish.
One of our dudes managed 11th, nothing to write home about, but tomorrow we will try again!