Against the clock or against the wind?
We left the hotel at 10am this morning for the stage start and didn't get
back to the hotel until after 6pm. Sometimes on long stage races we are not away
from the hotel as long. If you consider that the stage course was only 53
kilometers, you know that we had many hours of waiting around. Riders with the
closest depart teams leave the hotel together. Often this may mean that you
leave the hotel and then wait around in the team vehicles for three hours either
before your depart or after your depart.
Today's stage was long, much longer than the time trials that we are used to.
I was tempted to claim that today was one of the longest feeling trials I had
ever done, but Stage 6's in Zaragoza is still very fresh in my mind. Today's
course was less windy than Zaragoza's but we still had to fight the wind and
there were many times that we were riding slanted.
Most of the course was quite boring, consisting of long straight flats. It
seemed easier to focus on our time trial bars than it was to look at the long
stretch of road ahead. This is what my teammate Peter Farazjin was doing when he
crashed. He assumed that the road continued straight ahead but when he realized
that the course took a right it was too late and went down in the curve,
breaking his collarbone. This happened only about three kilometers from the
finish, which he managed to complete.
Like the last TT, we all watched the race on the television with David Millar
thinking that for sure he had the win this time, however when Nozal was on the
final kilometer we knew that David would not take the win. It was yet another
dissappointment for our team, more so for David. On the flipside, Luis rode a
great TT and jumped three places forward in general classification and hopes to
place even better in the upcoming mountain stages.
Time trials are not one of my favorite things - I despise them. Those of us
who are not good time trialists leave the platform hoping to ride a good time
trial but deep down we know that we will lose a lot of time. I kept checking my
time against Millar's and when my clock hit David's time of 1hr 2min and 20
seconds, guess where I was on the course? I was still 5 and a half kilometers
from the finish. After such a long time on the time trial bike your back assumes
that position, and after the race everyone is walking around hunched over and
complaining about their butt being sore.
I think there are a lot of us who have been surprised by Nozal. We knew from
the start that he was in good form but I think that his performance continues to
impress us all. His success, of course, should not entirely outshine Gonzalez De
Galdeano or the many other riders who are also in impressive form and riding a
Bingen Fernandez Bustinza
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