As we ran toward the end of the stage, a few bad events transpired. First, Jens was dropped from the break because he was tired from his efforts yesterday. That meant we now needed to consider pulling, so George and Oliver started to help. Second, it was not clear we would catch the break because they had a big gap still with 30km to go. The chase was on. Third, Ben hit the deck hard. He finished the stage and went to the hospital to get cleared. He hit his head, but the diagnosis is a little unclear. Hopefully he can carry on because he is much needed.
The final run into the finish got pretty crazy. I was in good position as we approached town, but there was a small downhill where I got swarmed and fell way back. I was worried it was over for me, but thankfully as we left town and hit the base of the climb, the group bunched up a little bit, and I was able to come to the front of the race with relative ease. The climb was pretty short, but it was full gas no doubt. We caught the remnants of the break in the last km, and I was in a decent position when things started to happen, but I got boxed in a little when the final attacks went, so I couldn't catch the leaders. I fought hard to follow and stay close. I finished with the group of main contenders, but we lost some time. I'm disappointed to lose time, but I'm happy to still be in the front.
Tomorrow's stage will be long and difficult. The parcours has two mountain passes over 12000ft/3600m during the 130mi/210km, and there is the potential for some weather, which always makes things interesting! The field will definitely get thinned out, but it should be a small group sprint to the line. Hope we can have a go at it!