19 April 2008

Tour du Loire et Cher Stage 4, 192km

Another long day in the saddle with a lot of wind but barely any climbing. The weather looked promising and it only ever drizzled on us a few times, although we did get horribly dirty on the wet roads. Not to mention our back wheels constantly wanting to slide out from beneath us in the corners...
Racing started rather quickly as usual and the group split up a few times in the slight gutters. After about 50km Jaro went in a solo break, to be joined by three others after a while. This turned out to be a great move as not to long afterwards we turned and the side wind hit us again. GLS and co put things straight in the gutter and Alain and I were left just short of the 15 riders in front. Fortunately for us the few riders with us were all keen on working so we got on pretty quickly. As did everyone else after things eventually slowed down.
A few clicks later and we were put back into the gutter. Alain, Jaro and I were situated perfectly right behind the three teams that were doing the work but a sudden corner and a near crash was enough to kill us off as we saw 15 riders go off down the road again. Once again we were left in a small group keen on working and closed the gap after a big effort, to once again have half the bunch catch us a while later.
I tried to break away quite a lot after that but was chased down every single time by the Danes in blue (GLS). A bit later a group of 7 got off the front and we were left in the bunch. Five final laps went by pretty quickly as all of a sudden we realized that the break would not be caught any more (some managers miscalculated that one). I did my best to help Alain in the final but it was Jaro who took him into the final corner at full blast so at least we walked away with a second place in the bunch kick.
The stage finished at around 18h00 which is interesting so we are about to go for a late dinner. Tomorrows stage is expected to be really difficult as it is only 95km, so should be really fast.

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