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September 14: Team-mates got me through

Iñigo Cuesta (Team CSC)

Iñigo Cuesta (Team CSC) (Image credit: Sirotti)

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Today was another HARD day, and almost cracked me. It was the last of the mountain days, with two climbs at the end, and with so much on the line, it was a hard day. The peloton was whittled down even more, with more riders either DNS or DNF. That has made it easier to move around during the race at least but makes dropping out seem very tempting!

My team-mate, Olivier Kaisen, spent most of the day in the break, while I struggled from the first kilometre. I just felt totally blocked all day, and it took everything I had and the encouragement of all of my team-mates to make it through. Finally we hit the last climb and I just told them to get me as close to the front as they could at the bottom of the climb and I would do what I could from there. The guys delivered perfectly, putting me in the right spot when we started climbing.

I felt horrible at the bottom of the climb, but things started to get better from there, so by the end I felt okay. I leapfrogged through groups all the way up the climb, and finished about where I've been all race. Funny how I seem to end up in about the same spot whether I feel good or bad going into things! At one point I saw Tom Danielson just ahead of me, so that was my motivation to catch a few groups so I could at least ride with a friend, instead of towing a bunch of random guys to the finish. We rode together for a bit, dropping all the guys with us, and then Tom took off and finished strong. It's good to see him riding so well again after having such a rough start!

Otherwise, there's not much to report. I'm starting to feel the stages now, but luckily there's really only one hard day left. Since things are still close, tomorrow will probably be another fast day and then I'll be set to cruise to the finish! I'm ready to get back to my place in Spain for a couple of days of relaxation - at least until worlds! The end is near and the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter! Now it's time to get some rest before tomorrow. And I need to say a huge thanks to my team-mates for getting me through today - thanks guys! Thanks for reading!

Chris.

Stage 18 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