UNHAIS DA SERRA - MONFORTINHO, 7th May 2013
Climbing - 2982Metres
Weather - Cloudy and about 20 degrees
Stage Place - 8th
Overall Place - 10th
Today can only be described as riding like a steam train. We started again at 9am and very quickly there was just four of again. First climb was at maybe 10km in and was three climbs in one with a flat piece in the middle of each step. Marco once again left us towards the top never to be seen again.
Myself, Michiel and Adam hung together and worked together. We caught Rodrigo at 18km and I don't remember much till 60km except thinking this is too fast. We finally caught Danny at 65km or thereabouts. The group he was with completely blew apart and only Danny stayed with us. One of the riders was Francisco who is higher in the GC than me.
It was now four and we were all pulling out weight. Adam starts strong and Michiel just gets stronger the longer it goes on. Danny is just a beast and gets on with it. We planned to stop at the top of Monsanto for water. There's an awesome climb up to the top of this village on a steep rutted roman road. Takes a lot of effort but this year I cleaned it with touching down. Even had a small celebration with myself at the top. Love the technical physical extortion of it.
Myself and Adam stopped at the top for water and we missed the others. We caught them at the bottom where they had stopped at another fountain. The four of us just continued to work together and we were going extremely fast. We caught a few riders in the last 20km.
Malcolm (RSA) starts 30 mins in front of us each day. He hung onto our coat tails and was much stronger on the climbs than us. Not bad for a 54 year old. The next rider we flew past and then we caught Pat who was opening a gate. I made sure we all waited till the gate was closed before we resumed the steam train.
At about 8km from the end we lost Danny. I heard lots of swearing and Danny stopped. Found out later he had dropped his chain three times in a row and had to stop to put it back on each time I was just hanging and counting down the last KMs.
One kilometre before the end was a stop sign. Group discussion was made regarding a sprint or cross together. No one was up for the sprint so the five of us cruised over.
I was credited with 8th and it was a very good day. I hope I didn't give to much but having a shower and a massage before 3:30 pm is a luxury. I even managed 90 mins of sleep before dinner. At this time last year I'd crashed twice already and had some long difficult days. The body was battered and tired. Glad I feel much better so far....made some time on my rivals but didn't overhaul anyone in GC. 142 km tomorrow with uphill in the last 40km.
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