My welcome back to racing was nothing short of painful. It began immediately at KM 0 as we started directly up a climb. I followed the first wheels, trying to catch the day's breakaway. Several ups, downs, and turns later I was not in the breakaway, but my legs and lungs were burning. A very brief respite and then Movistar went to work. They made the race very hard. We rode in the front as much as possible to keep Bauke and Fabio safe on the twisty coast road. I wish I had a moment to take in the beauty, but I never got a chance! It probably wasn't so good today under the overcast skies anyway. I'm not going to complain about that though because we got lucky and didn't have rain! Actually as we pulled away in the bus the first drops hit the windshield. But back to the race: there wasn't much raising of the pace/tempo to do as we made the approach into the base of the Puigmajor, but the stress definitely went up. I can admit that I wasn't very keen on the stress and came to the base of the climb a little far back. Thankfully the road is wide and as the peloton fanned out, I was able to make up some good ground pretty quickly. I found Fabio a little bit back and helped move him forward. Then I tried to settle into a rhythm, but the tempo being set by Movistar was very hard. I fought but ultimately my legs didn't have it in them. Being dropped was not the start to the season I'd hoped for, but I can only get better from here, right?! In all seriousness though, my legs didn't feel super bad throughout the day, but I was always pushing and felt on my limit on many occasions. I don't know exactly how to assess that, but the bottom line is that I'm not panicking. Like I said, the good news is that I can only go up from here, which is what I want to do, especially given the fact that my goals are 3+ months from now.
Regarding the finish of today, I'm not sure of the details, but Bauke did a good race to get 4th. He was disappointed, but I was happy to hear it! Tomorrow is another hard day, hopefully with the same weather, and hopefully with better results. Come back to find out!