BRAGANÇA > FREIXO
Climbing - 2468 m
Weather - 32c, hot and dusty
Stage Place - 5th
Overall Place - 5th
Well we started at 9am as the last bunch once again. I stayed close to the front and I'm sure by the first wee bump in the road some were off the back. At 5km the first only real significant hill of the day arrived.
Well Jose Silva was off to never be seen again. Close to the top of the climb a 2nd Portugese rider came past also never to be seen again. I stuck my head down and kept going solo. Hoping to pick up a fast bunch in front.
This didn't happen. I caught Danny and Edgar at about 35km in and though they would do. I looked back post a climb and they were gone...they were the last two left from the bunch in front so it was going to be a long solo day. In fact I think I rode solo from km5 till the finish at km 144
Did a splash and dash for water at about 55km and the guts were starting to not feel very well. You have to get food and drink into you for the energy but when your guts don't want it, it becomes very tough very quickly. My legs were cramping a wee bit and I just had to take the gels and water anyway.
I eased up from about 75 km when I'd taken another gel. The legs felt good but the guts not. I passed a few more riders here and there and guessed that there was 3-4 riders still in front. At 100km I had to take an emergency toilet stop in the bushes. Not great fun but I did feel a lot better after this.
Trundled my way to the finish and had no riders come past me and I didn't catch any more either. Fairly happy with the 5th knowing i'd backed off and that the guts were having an off day. Haven't seen the time gaps or anything yet but a good first day. No mechanicals, no crashes and not a bad result. Long way to go yet and some of the riders will have destroyed themselves on the first day.
Danny was only three mins behind me in 6th and Edgar in 9th about 25 mins back...
I managed to smile at the end of the stage
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