A transitional day of sorts here in catalunya where we started in the mountains and ended up next to the sea. The longest stage of the race in 220km and on paper looked good for some kind of group sprint. Sure enough that's exactly what transpired and the Slovenian Luca Mezgec did what he did on stage 1 and 2 and duly put the sprinters to the sword again. The teams goal was pretty simple today and that was to set daniele up for the sprint. Last year he was 3rd so we were very confident in him today and with no GC positions to protect all our hopes as a team today hinged on Ratto in the bunch gallop.
Micheal koch did what he has also done all week and jumped into the early breakaway. By the end of the day he had raced up and insurmountable lead in the sprint classification ensuring he will stand on the podium on sunday in barcellona, provided he finishes the race that is. Micheal has really provided a bright mood in the camp this week with his seemingly daily brave escapes. As I have said before its great to see a guy who normally does so much work for everybody else enjoying the limelight daily on the podium.
Back in the bunch we waited for dario to instruct us on the next move. The breakaway contained a dangerous GC threat so the pace never let up all day so there was no respite. Sure enough as the km's ticked down others joined in the chase for the bunch sprint. We committed our me in the final 30km and its was our boys of salerno and Jean marc who swept up all the remaining escapees. I was rendered pretty much useless today as this virus really tpook the edge of me and resigned to gate keeper. That being a name designated to the rider whom sits directly behind the working team. At 15km to go a 5km 5% climb was the last obstacle. Here is where Ivan kicked into top gear control the pace to firstly ensure a bunch sprint occurred and secondly ratto was there for it. He has an amazing amount of experience so its no surprise under his guidance both things occurred at days end. In the sprint ratto was a little out manoeuvred and was left standard in the wind for too long wasting precious energy and would finish 20th. Still was a fine example of griitting your teeth taday we were so proud of ratto for enen being there to fight for the win, good job ratto!!
On my front sadly today will be the final stage for me in the 2014 volta catalunya. The medical staff, team trainer and team directors have decided I need to rest for a few days and not run myself down at all and keep everything on track for my main objectives in May. This is not something I am proud of but 3 extra rest days will make a big difference at this moment as oppose to suffering with a virus in a world tour race really the decision is easy. I will go to one of the most special training grounds I know off in tenerife and can't wait but first will be a few days rest.
So that's that for volta catalunya! Will do my best to keep the stories coming from atop the volcano in Teide
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