Stage 1 is in the books here at Tour of Wallonie. It was fast and kind of fun actually. Belgium has a bad rap for crazy, dangerous racing, and I can't say it is unwarranted, but I came to this race with a positive attitude saying I wanted to have fun and do good preparation for Utah and Colorado. I put myself in the mix from the start, doing my job to cover moves. Last year this race was basically won on time bonuses, so if I made it in the break, you never know what could have happened. Nelson was also very active covering moves, and Giacomo and Jakob were in two separate but dangerous moves. It was a good team effort. When it was said and done 2 hours later, 3 guys had rolled away, and the peloton was happy to let them go!
We had already done almost 100km, so the last 60km of the stage went pretty quick from there. In the finale, we tried to deliver Benna for the sprint, but it was actually Giacomo who came up with 3rd on the stage. Of course we would like to have the win, but it is nice to at least have a solid finish for the first stage.
Personally I was happy with how I raced today. I felt like I stuck my nose in there and did pretty good given my tendency to shy away from the typical Belgian elbow rubbing. My sensations on the bike were "interesting" today. I can't explain them really. I didn't feel bad, but I didn't feel good either. It was kind of weird. Almost like I wasn't really there!
Tomorrow's stage is 205km with a few more significant climbs than today's, but it will likely still be a sprint finish. Never know though because today was a pretty tough stage because of the speed and small undulations, and tomorrow will certainly be tougher. Plus there is always the potential for wind. I think the rain looks to be gone for a few days, so hopefully we can avoid it. Monday will be the queen stage for sure as it is like a mini Liege-Bastogne-Liege with a lot of the short, steep Ardenne climbs. Hoping for good legs that day, but first is tomorrow. Ciao!