Today was the longest stage of the Dauphine at 228km, plus 5.5km of neutral start, and that more than made up for the lack of climbing. Only two guys made up the break of the day, but they really made it quite difficult on the field to bring them back. I thought at several moments in the last ~50km that they were going to make it because they really were holding their gap despite a pretty heated chase. Once again though the field proved too much and when they got real serious about the chase, the gap came down quickly. We had rain in the middle of the stage, which thankfully stopped for the latter part of the stage; although there were ominous clouds producing lightning and a few rain drops as we raced home. The hardest part of the stage by far was the last 15km as the chase was going full gas and then there was a small KOM with 13km to go where a few guys crashed at the bottom. I unfortunately was behind said crash and had to chase like crazy. At the top of the climb I was about 20 meters off the back. I chased down the descent hoping to regain contact, which I thankfully did as the peloton had to navigate a couple city corners that I could take quicker. The unfortunate part of that was that there was a kicker coming out of the city before the final run to the finish. Despite my previous chase, I managed to remain in contact over the top and then fight for my life on the descent. I'm not sure what was happening in front or who was pulling, but I was doing EVERYTHING within my power to just stay in contact at the back. Happily I crossed the finish line with the group and took a few minutes on the rollers to cool down and spin the junk out of my legs. Tomorrow is the beginning of the gc race and the first of four consecutive uphill finishes. If the race wasn't hard enough so far, it will certainly be difficult for the rest. I'm hoping my legs will stay strong and I can help Bauke and Haimar in the gc quest, and if I have an opportunity for the breakaway and stage, I will definitely take it. Au revoir!