The weather also held of and except for the absolutely freezing start was ok. Thankfully it didn't rain. I am not fond of cold an rain.
The race started at 06:00 the day before with a massive car journey or a thousand kilometers or so. We arrived sometime about 17:00 and went out training. I felt good training, although, I was evidently tired after such a huge car journey. Still, I felt that by the next day things would be okay.
The next day, race day, started at 05:00 according to my body clock and 06:00 according to the Spanish clock. I had slept okay and was looking forward to the race. Breakfast was a bit of a chore as the hotel provided us with horrible sticky buns and some re-heated spaghetti complete with dry bits and some omelets.
The race started of badly, as the break went right away and I wasn't in it, although I jumped at each successive opportunity there after, all of which failed. Retrospectively (I didn't appreciate this at the time) I saw some fantastic team work by team Saxo Bank defending their man in the break, Andy Shleck, by closing down each and every attempt made there after. Looking back it was top shelf racing I was witnessing, with all of them mucking in to get the work done.
Anyway, for the first 2 hours I felt like I was a top notch bike racer ticking over nicely at 120 bpm in the peleton rubbing shoulder with many illustrious riders form the Grand Tours. However this view quickly changed when many kilometers later, when I found myself gasping for oxygen on the first mountain of the day and finding that in fact I was a good bit of form. I would normally get criticized for this, but I know I was 6-7% bellow par.
I muddled on anyway, climb after climb, especially enjoying the descents and disliking the run ins which were always done at a sprint. I finally dropped of the pace about half way up the penultimate climb of the day, found myself a couple of russians to ride hope with and then got caught by an "express" grupetto powered by the remnants of the Euskatel-Euskadi team... I quite enjoyed the express ride home, it made a change from the normal given up type grupetto ride.
All in all, although mediocre in many ways I am happy with with how this race went. The next will get better all the way to September.