Stage three of Basque Country today marked the midway point of our week of racing. It came with a little irony. It was the longest but probably easiest stage of the race; however, it was the hardest start of the race... on paper... and I think it's safe to say that it was in real life! There are still two stages (and a tt) to go, so maybe one of those two will be harder, but for now I'll simply say that starting a race from KM zero on a 6.5km climb averaging 6.5% is not nice. That pretty well sums it up actually. We raced uphill immediately sending a good amount of pain and suffering through our bodies for the first 20 minutes. Then it was a fast descent with a few other attacks and after everyone regrouped a little, one poor guy attacked and ended up being solo out front. It made for an easier day in the peloton, but I still felt a bit bad for him because he was out there dying a slow painful death.
I was discussing that slow painful death with Frank at a couple different points in the race and actually came up with a new rule I'd like to propose to the UCI. Here it is: in the case that there is one rider suffering a slow, certain death in a solo breakaway, his team has the option to substitute one rider of their choosing from the field. What do you think of that?! Seriously consider it! What if a team like Omega or us had a lone rider suffering out front and then we substituted Tony Martin or Fabian?! The race would take on a whole new dynamic and get super exciting! I mean that's what the UCI wants, isn't it? Ok enough of that.
On other notes, I think almost everyone in the peloton got some form of a sunburn today. I think we're just not expecting that we need to wear sunscreen yet! Let's hope this incredible weather continues and we all can keep enjoying this place. It really is super nice when it's sunny, but it becomes pretty miserable when it rains. For tomorrow I think we'll stay lucky. The stage is what I think is typically their queen stage with the finish to Eibar/Arrate. It is a nice climb and there are always incredible fans up there. I suspect that tomorrow will be no different and there will be deafening cheering on the top of the climb. Hopefully Robert can move up on gc and maybe Frank can score a stage win?! Or maybe one of us can get in the break and surprise them all!! We'll have to see. Come back and find out what happened.