This was the stage that I did well in last year and moved me up to
tenth on GC so I was hoping for a repeat. This meant being awake at
all times and staying in front so as not to be caught out in the
gutter. Of which there would be a lot.
I tried to sprint for some KOM points after 5km which seemed really
suicidal as getting there was incredibly nerve wracking. I managed to
pick up one measly point but was still rather pleased that I had
managed to be there at all.
After that the real racing started and after the first gutter section
I was glad to see that Alain and Jaro had made it as well. Colo was
just off the back but a reduction in pace later on let everyone get
back on again.
After about 55km Jaro and I were mid group as we started a hill. Both
of us suddenly realized something was happening and quickly tried to
move up. As we hit the top of the hill and the wind hit from the side
Jaro and I reached Alain in about 30th position. Then the gutter hit
and we chased like morons, only to have two Frenchies leave gaps in
front of us. This left us in front of the second group chasing our
lungs out. Nothing to be done though, the twenty odd riders in front
were never to be seen again, no matter how hard we chased. And chase
we did! Oh my word!
I could write another two pages about that experience but would prefer
not to be reminded right now…
Shocker of the day: Us in the gutter…
The only thing that gives me a glimmer of hope is how strong we were,
especially Jaro! Then again, that only reminds us of what could have