The race was interesting, the course was not particularly challenging, but it was sinuous and dangerous. Early in the race I was not feeling good due to the long journey the day before and the bad nights sleep; the hotel we stayed at was grim, it's a place where women from the road side attend their clients. The team manager was furious with the situation; he had a sponsor visiting the race. Ironically when I raced this race before we stayed in a convent!
I made a few lame attempts to get in the break at the beginning of the race. I had a 50kph off-road excursion at a section where the road cut in. I din't crash but I lost my nerve. I resigned myself to doing a shit race and started preparing my excuses.
When we got near the hills the race continued to be animated: On the first big descent a guy took a plunge of a bridge into a ravine. I was sure he must have died. We stopped the race. As the Portuguese say ~"He was lucky in his bad luck" because he fell feet first into a raspberry bush 4 meters down. And didn't take the longer plunge, just a meter to the left, onto the rocks further bellow.
After this the race began to get animated and I started to feel okay. We were to sit quietly in the bunch until the final 20 k or so, when we were to try to blow the race appart. We raced a tactically perfect race here. On the first hill André Cardoso did an excellent job of marking Santi Perez. Then after his group got reeled in by the Barbot squad I had my go:
- I managed to open up a good gap and had a good companion in Amaro Antunes.
- We got to the final climb with an advantage.
- Two of my team mates bridged across.
- On pulled through a bit to hard and shattered Amaro, then me, then himself.
- The attack would have worked if it had been 5min further on and if my team mates had bridged the gap earlier.
At the end Sergio Ribeiro, who is in grand form won and we came in 5th through Daniel Mestre. I have to hand it to our rivals Barbot, they were stronger than us.
For all those keen on human performance:
The penultimate climb was passed at 1872 VAM in 4:10 min (this was where Cardoso, Perez and a few others got away). The period of about 10min at 180 bpm+ was my attack at the end. Then I just hung on to the coat tails of the peloton till the finish, putting in one other (lame) attack at about 5km to go.