Greetings Cyclingnews readers,
I'm in hot, hot Spain right now having completed the opening stages of the Vuelta. It's my first Grand Tour in a few years, and I'm really excited to be here and racing for Garmin-Cervelo.
So far the biggest factor has been the heat. It's just unrelenting and punishing. Honestly, I've not raced in anything like this as far back as I can remember. Perhaps the temperature isn't that high, some of the local Spanish riders don't seem to mind, but the fact is that most of Europe hasn't had hot summer. Cast your mind back to the Tour de France. It was raining and raining nearly every day and it was like that for me too in training. So to come here and race in an oven has been tough to deal with.
I think I went through 20 bottles during stage 2. I had one nature break during the stage so it just shows you what we’re going through. I was going through bottles every 5km so by the time I’d finished my drinks it was time to head back to the car and pick up more for me and the other guys.
On a physical level the heat means that you really have to gauge your strength and timing. If you go deep just once then you're going to pay for and chances are you're not going to recover.
On stage 2, the plan was to work for Tyler and we did a pretty good job. The finish was tricky and CJ had a great sprint on him but I'm sure that Tyler and myself will have a few more chances to shine in the sprints before the race is over. We were a little bit disappointed with our ride in the TTT on the first day. I think we could have done a little bit better in the TTT even though we don't have the same team here as we did at the Tour, where we were stacked with time trialists.
Still there's a long way to go and we've got a number of aims for the race, including the overall and stage wins.
I'm sharing a room with Paris-Roubaix winner Johan Vansummeren and it's getting late here in the evening. I think he'd like me to turn off the lap top, the lights and go to sleep.
Thanks for reading and wish me luck