Some days it feels like you are simply chewing on your head stem the entire day! Today was one of those! It took 90km for a breakaway to form just intime for the first climb of the day. By this point however we were only 90km from the finish so the peleton was never letting anyone get to far away. Near the top of the climb it started to hail ever so lightly resulting in a temperature drop of around 15 degrees just in time for a 20+ km gradual decent on what I would class as a glorified footpath! Brillient!
So after being single file preying for the bottom of the decent we were 30km from the finish and finally the final climb of the day was on us. The sprinters that could climb ok smelt the victory and on the 5km gradual drag the past was kept high and consistent. This provided the first opportunity for me to get some rest for the day as it was easy sitting on the wheel and following the tempo. 1km from the top the big guns got frisky and started attacking so I had to open up the jets for a couple of minutes and ensure I remained in the front selection of a 10 or so riders. We were never going anywhere and the break was now dangling 15-20seconds off the front with only a 14km plunge to line remaining. I immediately attacked on the decent, not so much to get away, I am not that nieve that I could get away on the decent! But merely to keep the pace up as I know our spinter who can climb very well daniele ratto was in the group just behind and was up for the sprint. So down we plunged with me at the helm and the radio was buzzing with ole ole ole tirra WURF which means stay on the front and drill it!
So that's what I did, got some great help from BMC and with around 4km I realed in the final escapee's and at 3km I was on the rivit and handed it over to the bmc boys to keep the pace high for the run to the line. In the end daniele ended with another fine 4th which is a great result at this level. Also some consolation for me with an aussie winning so although the work for the team may not have resulted in a cannondale victory I was pleased to see simon gerrans get up there and take a win at the end of such a hard day on the bike.
For me today marked the first time I had been at the head of the world tour peleton for some time as I tapped out a tempo between 5-3km to go and it was a great feeling. Suffered I little bit as a result, been a while since I have dialed it up to 60kmph to string out the bunch but that what I am here for this week, to see where I am at and make sure I make I step forward from here.
Tomorrow looks really nasty with a twisty hard circuit around the city streets of barcellona. After today there will be some tired pins that's for sure so will have to eat a big bowl of grinta (determination in italian) for breakfast and do my best to finish of the tour in a strong way.
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