Today was another stage custom made for the sprinters in the peloton, which meant that our team strategy was fairly simple – work for Robbie and bring it down to a sprint. It was the longest stage of the Vuelta at 220 km, and at 41 degrees Celsius, boiling HOT.
I was starting to feel like I was melting out there. We all took lots of trips back to the cars to get bottles, in hopes of staying at least partially hydrated. With high temps, a long race, and a tough first 60 km, the field in general was pretty hesitant to work too hard. No one wanted to overdo it in the third stage of a three week tour, so it made for a steady day of racing, with the first attack going away and the peloton shutting down everything else.
Despite the fairly mellow racing, it definitely wasn’t any easy day, and people were looking pretty tired by the end. It was one of those days when I was very happy to hand my bike off to the mechanic and get as far away from it as possible – at least for a few hours.
The race didn't play out ideally for us, but once again, tomorrow will hopefully be a better day. Freddy and Robbie are doing a great job working together in the sprint, but the timing has just been a little off. Since sprinting depends on everything coming together correctly to win, little mistakes in timing have been enough to keep Robbie off the podium so far. But tomorrow’s another day, and we’ll try again.
So far it’s been hard to predict how things are going to play out, with no clear favorites in the race, but that should keep things exciting to the end. Team CSC definitely seems confident with Sastre, keeping the entire team together near the front and out of trouble. It’ll be interesting to see how it all ends up.
Now it’s time to start winding down for the evening, since it was a long day and tomorrow’s start will be here before I know it. Thanks again for reading – until tomorrow…