The Volta ao Algarve began and ended in the worsted possible manner for me.
Due to a bureaucratic error, my name had not been added to the UCI database, so when my team went to enter me into the race I was refused. This despite all the paper work apparently being in order and having the appropriate licence and insurance. This was hugely stressful on the day before what to me is a hugely important race. I didn't know I was racing till 50m before the start. So I went to the start line already ill prepared and stressed to the core.
I felt at ease in the group and was optimistic of doing a good job at this race.
Stage two was a mammoth 216km with over 3400m of climbing. Added to this was 5ºC, rain and wind. I went out dressed for this weather, but my attire was inadequate, and I left the start line in Sagres teeth already chattering. This isn't good and I should have known better. Even on the mountain climbs I had teeth chattering and the bike zig-zaging as I trembled. On the descents my body went still with cold. My heart rate would rise above 75% of it's maximum.
When I realized that this was no longer for me a sporting competition, but an exercise in suffering, I pulled over. There was no way I could do the rest alone.
I was and still am really bitter about this.