Hi Cyclingnews Readers.
Welcome to the first edition of the Horner Vuelta Diary! It should all be a great adventure, since I've never done the Vuelta before - so welcome to the front row, as they say.
The days leading up to today's prologue haven't been very exciting. Honestly, I was starting to feel like I was Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day, since every day seemed to be a repeat of the day before. That's been the running joke with the team, every morning we walk down and say to each other 'Groundhog Day!'
There's been lots of hanging out in the hotel, a little bike riding and lots of bored bike racers. Waiting for the start of big races is always the hardest time, since I'm not at home, relaxing in my own little world, and I'm not racing either. It's sort of like being stranded in the dreaded limbo. But, we have all survived limbo and the big day has come.
Today's stage was a little different than the usual grand tour prologue (at least the two that I've done), since it was a team trial that was only 7 km. No one really knew what to expect going into it all. Team time trials are always very confusing during the race, since it all sounds so simple when we're talking about it in the team meeting, but while we're racing, things are very different and much more frantic. As soon as one guy drops off the pace, it throws a wrench into the system, and after the first wrench, it's all damage control to the finish.
Today the team was running great, very smooth to the halfway point, but after that things started to come apart, and we rode damage control to the finish. The big difference between the teams at the top of the board and all the others is the amount of team time trial training. Some teams work on team time trialing throughout the entire season, beginning with camp in January. Our practice consisted of a little ride together this morning – jumping straight from the frying pan and into the fire. But our main object today was to get through it without losing too much time, to keep Robbie as close to the jersey as possible, and I think that we did a fair job at that. So we'll see what the next few days bring.
That's everything for today. I'm off to dinner – I love races where I can be at the dinner table before the race is even over. Thanks for reading – stay tuned, there's more to come when the real racing starts tomorrow.