Thursday, 9 May 2013



Length -165km
Climbing - 3280Metres
Weather - 17 and misty first thin and 34 later with sunny skies.
Stage Place - 11th
Overall Place - 9th

Another successful day but also a very painful one for many.  166km and we started at 8:30 am today. It was colder and lots of mist about.  Adam who was ahead of me on GC was missing on the start line.  Found out later the doctor had advised him not to start due to saddle sores.

We went up the first climb at 1km which was quite steep and technical.  Just Marco, Michiel and myself by the top.  Long descent and another climb all that was very rough.  I flattered last year here so was being careful.  Last climb at 8km and then it was just the three of us tag teaming it.  We caught various groups and had to deal with the gates everywhere.  Nothing much happened but the pace was a bit fast for me.  When it's to fast I just can't get enough to eat.

We were approx 30 seconds behind Danny at about 60km and then  we come across a bunch of people standing on the track.  Never good because you know what's happened.  Danny was the culprit and although standing was in huge pain.  Broken collarbone.  Our bunch did what we could which was not much and departed.  I found out later that no one stayed out of the 10-15 people that were there.  That really pisses me off.  If I was lying in a ditch I'd like to think someone would stay until help arrived.  (I found out later again that a few did stay.  Those that stayed got given bonus time as well to make up for it.)

We lost Marco and a few others when a gap opened up.  It was long grass and just hard to follow.  Kinda good that he was gone.  The pace was too fast for us anyway and we wouldn't have survived all day at that pace.  They were all way ahead on GC anyway

There was five in the group.  Michiel, Francisco, Morton, Scott and me.  We were working together. Somewhere at about 75km Michael took a tumble.  Followed by Morton a few KMs later and then finally Francisco not long after that.  To finish you really need to not crash.  They are all fine but the conditions were tricky.  Lots of ruts and sand.  I have seen more than 10 with injuries tonight but luckily only grazes and bruising.

After this nothing much happened.  I felt better than the rest of the day finally getting some food and gels into me.  We stopped for water at 95km and 120km.  It got very hot somewhere in the day and easy to miss fluids if your not aware.   I was surprised when I looked down at GPS to see it was 34 degrees. 

We stayed together as a group knowing there was a tough climb to finish.  Long steep rough road to the top of Monsaraz.  Francisco was up first followed by me.  On the descent we sat up to cross together but young Michiel had other ideas.  Caught us on the downhill and sprinted to the finish.  I took the last corner way to fast so settled for third form our group leaving me in eleventh for day.

I have moved up to 9th in GC because of Adam not starting.  Got 1.5 min on 10th and quite a few on 11th.  I need 18 mins to move up to 8th and 11 for 7th.  Still going to be hard to stay in the top ten.  Easy stage tomorrow.  Maybe six hours and fairly flat but it will be hot.

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