We quite literally set sail in the 2013 vuelta espana today. The start line of the TTT was set on a temporary glass bottom jetty which required teams to take a short ferry ride to. Certainly quite unique and considering my back ground in water sports I felt it was a good omen for the cannondale boys for the first stage. Alas by days end it would not prove to be the case on this occasion.
We certainly had high hopes heading into todays TTT and started with this enthusiasm. Ultimately it was probably our downfall as before half way we had already lost 3 riders and a 4th had set up camp on the back. Its so easy to push a little harder than your body wants you to in a TTT. Firstly your adrenaline is pumping as its a race, secondly your team mates are all giving 100% on the front and you are constantly champing at the bit to get forward and do your bit, and thirdly you simply don't want to be seen to be letting your team mates down. So sadly all these positive and team orientated objectives can unceremoniously come back and slap you fair in the face when your legs decide they won't do what your head is asking them to do.
So our situation was this and very early it was clearly evident we had 2 extremely strong me in dall antonia and Basso and there fearsome turns of speed were putting the team well and truly aboard the pain train. Dall antonia particularly is an absolute machine in these TTT's, I guess you only need to see the destructive leadouts he performed for elia viviani at the giro to understand the horsepower that bloke has in these type of efforts, he is truly I highly valued team mate.
Back to the day and I immediately knew with our final 6 we had a few more in trouble so took on the role of keeping the pace smooth for them to recover and fill in the gaps on the climbs when they just needed that little extra breather. Its was no point me putting the pedal to the metal aswell as at the end of the day we needed a minimum of 5 to finish as the team time is taken when the 5th rider crosses the line. As it turned out with 5km to go we nearly had 3 left so caution was needed by someone and today that person was me. Its days like today that my rowing days really come back to me as in a rowing boat its no point ripping the side of the boat if your partner or partners cannot match you, you will simply go around in circles. So today was just where we were at as a team, that's why they call it TEAM time trial as you need to pull as one and as one that was what we were able to achieve out of today.
The positives were that Ivan looks in absolutely impeccable nick and is certain to get even stronger as the race goes on. Also every rider absolutely committed to the cause and while it may have meant a few seeing red a little earlier than they may have hoped it still shows how determined we all are to give all we have for the teams objectives so that's a huge positive out of the day. I was really happy with my ride today, was a big improvement from the giro I believe and also I did it with a much cooler head today. I would have loved to lay it on the line a little more but in the end so long as I am improving in the discipline I can't really ask for much more of myself self. I now have another 20 days in which I can bury myself till my hearts content to keep ivan in the GC race so I am certain to not have any drama ex pending any extra energy I may have kept in the tank today.
So that's day one down, not a great start result wise but one that's behind us now. Tomorrow immediately sees a mountain top finish so there will definitely be another shake up of the field there. Judging by what I saw of Ivan today you would have to put pretty good odds on him climbing back up the GC rankings by days end tomorrow.
So in true what I believe to be true vuelta style its almost midnight and I am still wide awake so time for me to knock out a few more pages of sean kelly's book to calm me down and get some shut eye, the adventure has only just began!!
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