It's the morning of the time trial in Austria, and I am feeling slightly less than 100% motivated for this pancake flat, 30km of pain. I guess that is my job though, so I must chamois up and give it a go! It will actually be a good test for my fitness and another chance for me to hone my TT skills.
Yesterday's stage was anything short of boring. We woke up to see the trees everywhere being nearly blown over. The wind was whipping to say the least. The tension for the stage ahead was everywhere: breakfast table, bus, start line. The nervousness made everyone antsy to be in the front, so it was a dogfight from the gun. I did my best to fight and kept myself near the front. Amazingly there were only two crashes, and they occurred at the end of the stage when the tension was much less. Riders were probably tired and losing concentration.
Ben King jumped into the first break of the day, and it looked good. I was thinking then that the day would not be as tense and crazy as predicted. Of course some team was not happy though, and the gauntlet was thrown down. The echelons began, and the explosions happened. I made the first group in all the splits, and did my best to stay near Geoffroy to protect his gc position (the best we have!) Eventually the break did go, and Rast jumped into it for the second day in a row. The pace never really dropped actually throughout the day because it was 13 guys in the front, and not every team was represented, so some teams wanted it back for a sprint. We were happy to sit in, although it was not easy with constant wind and turns on fairly narrow roads. I was happy with how I fought for position yesterday and kept myself in the front. I was also pleased with the good, strong sensations I had in my legs. At the end of the day, 10 guys from the break stayed away, and we averaged 47kmh for 158km. Not too shabby for the 6th stage of a hard race!
On other notes, I am very sad for Team RadioShack at the Tour de France. The luck has not been in their favor. Almost everyone has crashed at least once, and both Jani and Chris have sustained serious, race ending injuries. It is the scary, unfortunate reality of our sport. The team still has Levi and Klöden as gc hopes, but Levi has lost over 4 minutes, so Klöden is the real protected rider now. He has ridden really well all year, and I think his form is coming right on time. I think we will see a great gc performance out of him. For the rest, I think the team will be looking for a couple stage wins. I hope the bad luck is over, and I wish them and the rest of the peloton safe riding.