What a difference a stage makes, or a final climb for that matter. The last few days had been pretty tough for me and the Garmin-Cevelo boys but after Dan’s incredible ride and stage win yesterday we’re all feeling a lot better and spirits are much higher. Speaking of spirits I’m just back from a dinner toast where we celebrated Dan’s win with a glass – just one – of champagne.
But before today we’d been in the wars and super unlucky, losing both Tyler and Murilo in crashes. They were big losses for us as a team but like at the Tour we want to show that the team can win in a number of scenarios and Dan proved that.
After Tyler’s crash he looked pretty bad and we knew straight away that he needed to go to hospital. The x-rays didn’t show anything and then he had another check-up in the morning. He started the next day but the effects of the crash and the fast start the next day made it just too tough.
Then we lost Murilo. He went down into the barrier. He was talking a corner and came down, breaking a bone in his hand. It’s a sad feeling losing a teammate in a grand tour but these things happen in bike racing. It’s a tough sport and although Ty and Murilo are both down they’re certainly not out and I know they’ll make excellent recoveries.
The next day I got myself into the break. That was a tough day but it was really about testing the legs and going hard and going deep in preparation for the Worlds.
And then our race really got a shot in the arm with that win from Dan Martin. On the bus before the start he said he was feeling good and it was a climb that suited him. It meant that our job was to keep him out of the wind and keep him out of trouble. The wind has been crazy here so it meant a lot of work. We kept him fed and watered and then dropped him off at the foot of the climb in the best position possible.
From there it was all up to him and he carried out the perfect ride.
We’ve raced nearly 10 stages now and off the top of my head that’s the longest block of racing I’ve had all season. The first week I thought that my form wasn’t great. Now I think that was just the heat, and the more we head north, the more the temperature has started to drop and I’ve started to feel better. It’s still really hard racing though and I’m hanging in there and saving as much energy as I can and trying to make it to the finish. Bring on Madrid!