My week of racing in the beautiful sunshine of catalunya spain came to and end yesterday with a great inner city circuit right in the heart of barcellona. After 70km dordle along the Mediterranean coast to the city centre we hit the final circuits for one last 50km of what turned into torture! 8 x 6km laps which was made up of 2.5km in climbing, the same in descending! And a little bit of flat thrown in although I can't quite visualise where the flat bits were! The pace ramped up as soon as the laps began with the top 5 GC spots all separated by no more than 40 seconds there was sure to be fire works!
I settled in closer to the front than the back and awaited the fireworks to begin in ernest. As I predicted with 3 laps to go the wick was lit up by home town here purrito rodrigues and as I would turn out for a few min later I was in the right spot at exactly the wrong time! Having paid dearly for following his accellerations in the pyranees 2 days earlier I should have learnt my lesson! Alas I had not and set of in pursuit of him with my vand den brook and gesink. Alas after 1kn or so full block chasing the little spainaid I had to retreet to the protection of the main field and lick my wounds at another failed attempt to match it with the big guns!
The group was still large and of course rodrigues came back, I should have realized this before I went after him but I didn't! The couple of laps I was able to recover in a heavily garmin controlled peleton and by the final climb I was ready to launch again for the line. I moved up as we crested the climb for the final time and all of a sudden there was a wall of riders ahead of me and the rd totally blocked. So back into the bunch I went for the final plunge down to the line and that was the 2013 volta catalunya done and dusted. 18th overall would be my final GC position at the conclusion of the 1000+km covered so I was content with that.
For the team our rock spider christiano salerno finished safely in the field to wrap up his kom jersey and along with ratto's 2nd and two 4th's our group of cannondale men could hold our heads high considering the quality of field that assembled in catalunya this past week.
As for my assessment of my own performance?? I was about 5% off the top guys this week, around 25watts @ threshold give or take. I anticipated my level to be around 90-95% so all in all I am where I expected and I am very happy with where that has me compared to the riders I raced against this week. I knew I could grind and knew I had no more than 500 watts for 5' in me at the crucial moments in the race. As expected this was the point the brought me undone in the pyranees when I had to push beyond that initial effort. I have done no motor pace this year so expected to suffer a lot from the race rythm of world tour. As expected I did suffer! For the first 2 days it was everything I had simply to stay in the peleton when they were going full hook. This would have had a fatigueing effect on me so motor pace and now having the rythm there will eliminate that going forward to a large extent. Fortunately when we went uphill I got to recover a lot of the time. So from here the real work begins, I know now my foundations are good and its just a matter of not over doing it, absorbing the work, and having a good look at what I can do the eke out that next 5-10% before the giro begins on may 4.
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