Just finished lunch after the morning stage here at the Tour of Denmark. It was a quick 100km this morning taking only 2 hours, but good news for me is that my legs seem to be coming better. This is a great feeling for me and with any luck, they will be good enough to put together a strong TT this afternoon and help keep me in a high gc position. There is nothing major to report about the stage this morning. I think it was pretty much status quo.
Yesterday's stage 3 though was a bit more eventful, as it should have been when it is considered the "queen stage". The course was considerably hillier/harder than the previous two days, which made the legs tired. To be honest, I was lucky to have made it to the finish in the front group. About 40k to go I was hanging at the back of the peleton and looking to move up, but I really wanted to relieve my bladder pressure one more time before the run in. I waited for what I thought was a good moment, but I couldn't have been more wrong. There were several factors working against me. The first was that I was at the back of the field meaning that when I relieved myself, I was certainly going to be off the back. This is usually not a big deal, but the second factor working against me was that Saxo Bank had decided that it was time to up the pace at nearly the exact moment I was attempting to get back on; this made my task considerably harder. A third factor not helping me was my dysfunctional radio. I think there was moisture in my radio from the two previous days rain, so I couldn't hear anything. I was dumb not to go to the car during the race and get it fixed, but it was almost liberating just trying to feel the race out. Although having contact with your director and teammates is essential for safety, tactics, and course knowledge.
I chased hard down this winding descent and closed the gap just as the field exploded at the base of one of the climbs. I worked my way through the carnage and found myself in the first chase group. Saxo Bank had created a split of about 30 riders. Our group chased hard for several kilometers and maintained the gap about about 200m. After what seemed like forever, we hit another climb and I knew it was now or never to try and get across. I followed a couple wheels and got closer, but it was a hard chase over the top that finally closed the deal for a few of us to get back to the front group.
I did my best to recover as we approached the local circuit and then rode the best I could once there. The two climbs on the circuit were quite challenging and the spectators on the finishing climb were crazy. Thankfully they had barricades up because we most certainly would have been swarmed. The climb was difficult as it was because I had to fight through the guys who were cracking by the top of the steepest grade, constantly having to change my line or stop my momentum to avoid running into them or being squeezed into the barricade. Nonetheless, I made it through, but wish that I could have done something more for myself and also for my teammate Geoffroy who was in the lead group with me. Who knows if we could have played it out differently, but I was just trying to stay in the front group rather than try any heroics; maybe a lack of confidence that I need to get rid of. Anyway, what is done is done and we did the best we could.
Time for a nap now before the TT this evening. My start time is 19:56 I believe. Absolutely latest I think I will have ever raced. We'll see how it goes.