Is it over yet?
I was looking forward to the Ras for like six months, now I am so totally happy that it is over!
Last update ended on a high note as I had just ridden a super tactical breakaway resulting in a top ten on stage 4 and GC.
And then it got ugly.
Stage 5 was long and I came totally unglued over the last climb and following 25km of wind and rollers. Finished in the group, but I needed some help from Fabian to keep me near the front and out of the wind. Lost two places on GC due to a 150km breakaway containing two riders close behind me. TIAA-CREF and Ireland were content to limit the gap to 2-3 minutes to pretect their GC, but it was too much time to keep me secure in 9th. Florian was up the road in that move too, so we weren't too worried.
So, the notorious split stage - 24km TTT in the AM, 83km road stage in the PM. The night before was really rough. Not a lot of sleep, bad stomach problems. I'll spare you the details. Couldn't eat breakfast and my legs felt horrible. Noodled my way through the 24km, when I really should be the strongest time triallist on the team. Got schooled to the tune of 4 minutes by Recycling.co.uk, and lost more places on GC (down to 14th now, I think). Drifted in and out of sleep in the intervening hours between stages.
It was going to be critical to be near the front in the road stage because of some particularly hideous crosswinds. Problem was, I was so stoned I couldn't get anywhere close to the front. Didn't help that we hit the ground running at 65kph either. Every. Freaking. Day. So I missed the front group (obviously), got dropped out of the chase group (crap), dropped out of the third group (double crap) and finally found a place with some other stragglers. So it turns out our DS told my guys in the group ahead to wait up for me, we caught their group and then they went to the front and rode tempo, just the two of them, with me in third wheel for the last 55km or so. Felt pretty pro, but too bad it was cause I was feeling so crap. Anyways, limited the damage and came home in 20th place on GC. Not the worst outcome on the day, for sure.
Next two days were run with a tailwind under the power of Recycling trying to keep in control of the GC lead, with the hired help of the Polish team. Just tried to stay out of the wind and near the front. Not too many problems with that, except for the three wheel changes I had to get. Total for the week - 8. Somehow made up one GC place on the last day. Weird.
19th on GC
19th stage 2
9th stage 4
That's it till I get home in a week.
Next stop - Tour de Beauce.