Saturday, 6 August 2011

Etapa 2. Oliveira de Azemeis-Trofa 184.4km + 3.75 vertical km

Today was rainy, cold and very dangerous. I had quite a lot of bad luck initially, including a near miss with a fall (I did a 180º spin, but kept it up; you'd have to see it to believe it) and a puncture, which was in fact just an under inflated tire; I was feeling paranoid after the spin.

So yeah a lot of high speed chasing and some climbing at 45kph pretty much right from the gun. When I got to the bunch I saw a break up the road with a climber team mate and jumped across. Things looked ideal for the break to stick, for the first 40km things did turn over nicely. But from then on, the others just sucked my wheel and I took every mountain pass and all the wind in my face for 60km. Eventually 125km Caja Rural took over. I was knackered and didn't force too much. I am wary of the tremendous length of the race and I knew that break wouldn't stick; I did my duty in forcing the teams behind to be worked over. But what I really wanted was David Livramento to win or place high on GC to provide an x-factor to the race: the guys got real talent.

And that was it! It was an easy race for those on the wheel. I worked my balls of. I finally bonked (after going slowly for a long time) on the final climb. But a 60km solo across those mountains in that rain was excellent.

Sérgio Ribeiro, who is in scintillating form won the race on a tough 6.6km mountain top finish. I came in 14:05 after. Over leaders did their job well also and all placed in the top 10. Things are looking good.

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