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August 30: Survival in the mountains

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I survived the first test! Today was definitely a tough day in the saddle – not as long as some other mountain stages that I’ve done this year, but long enough to make me wish at several times during the race that I was laying on a beach somewhere. But I made it through, and will live to fight another day. Di Luca took an impressive win with the rest of the field coming in behind.

Tomorrow we'll be back on the flats for another possible mass sprint. It’s kind of strange to have some mountain days in the first week, since it usually flat for the first week and then mountains after that, but a little variety is good I guess. Granted, I could have used the first week of flat, fast stages to find some form, but I guess I’ll just be suffering through instead. Damn the luck. I haven't seen much of my form since finishing the Tour – I seem to have lost it somewhere… But I'm hoping it just ran away for a little Spanish vacation, so I can find it along the way.

Otherwise, things aren't too exciting. I'm suffering from serious disappointment though, thanks to Freddy. He informed me the other day that my entire mental schedule for the rest of the season was off, and that the world championships are the week after the end of the Vuelta – not two weeks like I had thought. I had my week and a half at my Spanish home base all planned out too – big plans for working on my euro car and fun (non-bike) things like that, but my plans have been ruined. How do you even prepare for World's a week after finishing a Grand Tour? I have no idea, but it'll be interesting to see how it works out. Who knows, maybe my form is hanging out in Austria, waiting for me.

Everyone needs to send good thoughts for a full recovery to my teammate Christophe Brandt, who had a really terrible crash yesterday and is currently being kept in a medically induced coma while his body heals. Thanks.

Thanks again for reading – I’ll be back tomorrow.

Stage 5 results

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From being the USA's top domestic rider for several years to riding for a ProTour team in the Tour de France, Chris Horner is always on the up. A talented all-rounder, Chris had a successful year Saunier Duval-Prodir in 2005, and is now riding for Davitamon-Lotto. As one of the team's key men in the Vuelta, Horner will be detailing his progress in this special diary for Cyclingnews during the race. Australia UK USA