ALBERNOA > MONCHIQUE
Climbing - 3086 m
Weather - 33c and hot
Stage Place - 3rd
Overall Place - 3rd
Wow what a day. We started again at 9am and within the first few km there was just four of us. Jose lead the way with me next, Aaron and Luis hanging on at the back. A few gates later and Jose was following a rider in the distance. I looked down to see we were completly off track. We had to back track a good kilometre till we came back to the track. Easy to see why we missed it as it was a ploughed feild with the track 30 metres away.
We finally caught Danny's group after a good hour or so and went straight past. Luis had allready dropped and not long after Aaron was gone as well. Just me and Jose. We had a discussion about how much time I needed to keep my third place. Jose said something to me which helped me the rest of the day. "Never give up". I repeated it often.
Jose left me behind at roughly 45km on a rough uphill and I was 50-100 metres behind him on top of a dam wall on Tarmac. I came across him a few minutes later on track as his GPS was switched off. Offered to help but nothing that could really be done except swap batteries. I continued and he come straight past me a few minutes later saying it had just switched off. At 50km I came across him again at the first water point of the day. We left together and I spent another 10 km in his company before the first climb of the day.
The first climb was good and not to bad. Just long but not to steep. Down then through a checkpoint before going back up the other side. Again not as bad as I remember from last year. The next big hills were due at approx 110km. I took some water and a coke at a shop somewhere at 90km. Poor shop keeper and lady he was serving must have though I was mad. Drunk half the coke in the shop and threw two litres of water into the camelbak and into bottle and back on the bike quite quickly.
I tried to rest till the next big climb but never really works. Knew I has to push on and get Peter. Finally saw three riders in the distance and knew I finally had them. Right at the bottem of the big climb. Used to be an awful climb. It gets steeper and used to get rockier towards the top. In the three times I've done it this year was the easiest. Road in much better condition. I must have distanced them 2-3 mins on this climb.
Post this there was only two Tarmac climbs to go. I pushed hard to get us much time as possible. I was told I was 7 minutes behind Kate but was only really interested to get time on Peter. Turns out I was only 2 minutes ( I'd miss heard) and everyone thought I would catch her. I put as much effort as I could into these two climbs. I'm sure it will not be that past put hey I've ridden hard the last eight days.
I finished third for the stage and approx 90 seconds behind Kate. I also finished nearly 10 mins in front of Peter which makes tomorrow much easier to keep 3rd in GC. He's 18.5 mins down but gets a 20 minute head start.
Fingers crossed all will go well tomorrow
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