Today was an honorary stage for Amgen's Breakaway from Cancer campaign, so they gave us numbers with a space to write who we were riding for. I chose to ride in honor of my Aunt Mary Ellen. Keep on fighting Aunt Mary. We love you.
The stage today was dubbed the queen stage and I think it put in a fair bid to be named that. The start turned out quite tranquil despite the chance for chaos with the 20km+ ascent of Mount Hamilton coming only a few km into the stage. The break went quickly though and the field probably breathed a sign of relief as we would just ride a reasonable tempo to the summit. From there the stage was under Sky's control. The parcour was pretty tough between rolling roads and some wind. Finally after 150km we were into the final approach of the climb. The team did a great job of taking care of me during the stage and helped position me well before the base of the climb. Once the climb started I fought to find a good position in the field and then rode as best I could. I was in the final group until the last 300m kick to the finish, but then my legs exploded as the others charged up the last pitch to the finish. Unfortunately I lost almost 30 seconds to the stage winner, but probably more importantly lost time to some of the closer gc rivals. I'm definitely disappointed in that, but I will certainly keep fighting and know that anything can happen. There's lots of racing left and we'll see what we can do!