I didn’t have the smoothest run to get here but you could say my progression has been pretty steady since my crash in late January. I worked extremely hard in training and racing to make sure that I arrived in the best condition to be able to race for the next three weeks and it’ll be interesting to see how my body handles it.
It’s my first time at the Vuelta a España, or a grand tour for that matter and to start in Pamplona on the same roads where they historically have the running of the bulls was pretty spectacular.
The team time trial was a new experience for me and the course was actually quite technical, more than what it looked like on TV. It was pretty hectic with nine guys on that course and there wasn’t much opportunity to pull along the straights because there were so many corners. Most of the time I was concerned with getting through the corners and just surviving - especially if you were at the back.
Sixteen kilometres might seem long but each guy only got to pull a few turns and then it was over. It was good just to get everyone safely through. We had a little bit of training beforehand and everyone stuck to the plan, no one ‘lost their head’ so that’s a good sign for the coming weeks.
Stage 2 was the first chance for the team to try and get a stage win but we just lacked maybe one guy at the finish because Allan ended up getting second. It was a stage that could have also suited Simon Clarke because he's quite a punchy rider and there was a little climb toward the end. We had talked about it in the morning's meeting and thought we could bounce off some other teams but coming in with 5km to go we were all there so we gave it a good go and showed everyone that we have the horsepower. It gives us a lot of confidence knowing that if we have to, we can line it up for the finish.
I think it’s going to be great having Julian Dean and Allan here because they’ve got so much experience and I hope I can learn from them while also contributing my horsepower to the sprint. The next stage was an important day for Cam Meyer because the GC got a bit of a shake up with the final climb that was about 10 percent. It was quite serious even though it wasn't that long and there were splits as soon as the bunch hit the bottom.
Cam was just a little bit too far behind in the lead up to the climb and ended up losing more time that we would have liked. Cam didn't quite have the legs and it was a bit too hard for guys like Allan, Julian and me.
We've got plenty of guys who can go the breakaway throughout the race and stage 4 might be a good day for someone to have a try. We'll see what the plan is for the day once I get on the bus and we have out team meeting.
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Mitchell Docker is riding his first grand tour at the Vuelta a España for Orica-GreenEdge after spending the past three seasons with Skil-Shimano. The 25-year-old Australian had a rough start to the year after crashing during a training camp and while he began his season later than normal, he's motivated for the challenge that awaits over the coming weeks.