First thing this morning was picking up the bike and seeing what they had fixed. They had replaced all four rear wheel bearings and the three bearings in the rear pivot on the suspension. First impressions off the line was that I'd suddenly let the handbrake off. Some of the rear bearings where so screwed that you couldn't turn them by hand.
The day was bright and sunny and forecast to be quite hot. We once again started with the pros. Absolutely great with helicopters flying so low over you that it feels like you can touch them. Lots of dust and excitement, so much that the first crash was on about the third corner. We had a great first 40km. Big group and up over the climbs with them. Some much stronger teams around else helping into the wind.
We were on our own after this. The group was just ahead but pointless chasing in our own to get back on. Next stop was 80km for full water and a few cokes and a lube. Straight after this up into another climb. We could still see the group ahead but various teams were now dropping off. The climb was long and hot and now about 35 degrees. It didn't take me long after this to start feeling crappy. More water at 100km or so and we were mainly on our own. There was a deep sandy section which we both did badly at. Maybe 2km long and it was a lot of running and walking.
The last 20km had an awful section across a damn which was soft rough stone. No traction but ridable. A team steamrolled me here but it ended on a sandy walk again so I was back on. I must have sat on the back for 10km before a rocky climb uphill and into the wind saw me dip off the back. Fanie towed me into another awful headwind to get us home.
Stage Postion 13th, GC 57th
Over all 14th, GC 62nd
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