FREIXO > GUARDA
Climbing - 2134 m
Weather - 29c and sunny
Stage Place - 3rd
Overall Place - I think still 5th
Wow, what a day.
Started at 10am today with the other 17 riders in my bunch. We rounded the corner from the start line straight to a small testing hill that's maybe 18% and there was only 4 of us left. Not long after this Jose ( the leader) was gone with Luis in hot pursuit. I let an Aussie do the chasing and we caught Luis before the next climb.
Luis pedalled away again in the climb but I stuck with Aaron the Aussie who was setting an ok pace. We caught Luis at the top after he had turned the wrong way and it was down to the most technical part of the day. Luis rode away from me on the tarmac road before we even got there.
Took the descent nice and easy and passed a load of riders. That would include the leader Jose who was walking...that felt good ! Passed a walking Edgar and caught Danny on the short climb on the other side. Which is more of a walk really except I was running...
We regrouped a bit and Jose steam rolled past. We jumped onto the back of him and chased down Luis and just before the climb we were back together.
A climb in a valley which they call the oven was about 5km long. It's typically a lot hotter than the surroundings but this year it wasn't so bad. Aaron was climbing in front of me so I let him get on. We rode together from here till the castle ruins. This basically marks the top of the hardcore climbing. I'd said I'd wait since he appeared to be strong on the flats and I thought we could make some good time.
Splash and dash with a quick lube of the bike and me yelling at Aaron to get a move on. He said he was ready so I left only not to see him. I pushed on and he came back to me 5 km later. We hit this simple track which was a bit rough and he was gone.
So I pushed on. Basically lots of single riders, a few jumped on my tail but unless they are prepared to pace and draft me they are just baggage. Got rid of most of them within 2-3km of meeting them today.
At about 85km a rider in the distance was spotted. Turned out to be Luis going quite slowly. He had crashed at 70km and was not in the best shape. Blood dripping from his nose and just said he was not feeling the best. I pushed on but Luis is too good for me to get rid of like the rest. We came across the 3rd place GC just before the technical climb. I went straight past and gave it some. Pretty much lost him straight away. We knew at this point there was only two riders in front. It was a going to be a good day.
I managed to cross the line 3rd with Luis in tow. Turns out the Belgain (3rd on GC) had 2 punctures. I don't trust Some tyres and below picture will show why...all had the same brand fitted.
The bike was good but has a new headset on it overnight. The old was shot to pieces. All that in just 18months of owning the bike.
Seems like my training program and hard work over the last few months is starting to pay off. Dinner and sleep calls and we are into the Portugese mountains tomorrow.
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