Friday, June 7, 2013

Dauphine #6

Well, I have to tip my hat to Thomas Voeckler, he is one heck of a racer. It seems when he sees his opportunity, there is almost nothing that can stop him. I'm certain he looked at the race book, picked today's stage as one he could win, and so he did it! Simple as that. Unbelievable really.

So how did it play out? It was a big battle in the beginning to get in the move. It took over an hour for the field to finally say they've had enough. A smaller break went away as we approached the first KOM of the day, and I think everyone was happy to see that; however, Europcar had different plans. They immediately organized themselves at the front and began to pull to keep the gap from growing too large, and they actually closed it before the category 1 KOM a short while later. It was there that a reshuffling took place, and Voeckler made his move. The field actually exploded. The front group was maybe 30 guys, with groups all over the place behind. I was in the front group with Haimar and Ben at the top. On the descent, a couple groups from behind chased back on, so we had most of our team back, but the peleton was pretty reduced. At that point, there was hope the pace might ease for a little while, but it never let off! With the new breakaway formed, including Voeckler who everyone knew was dangerous, the chase was on because the sprinters wanted their day. That day was not going to come though. The group in front was too strong, and the course was too hard for most of the sprinters not to be dropped if their teams were able to pull 100%. I was happy to help protect Haimar and survive to the finish myself.

So that leaves us with the two weekend stages to go. Tomorrow's stage is going to be brutally awesome. We have ~4500m of climbing on tap including the famous Alp d'Huez, although it comes quite early in the stage, instead of being the finish. The finish is actually only a category 3 climb, but it is preceded by the category 1 Col du Noyer, along with numerous other climbs before that. In other words, it's going to be tough! Hope I can report good news tomorrow :)

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