The Circuito Montanes UCI 2.2 kicked off yesterday evening in Santander Spain with a hard 5.8km prologue time trial. This race is also known as the “Amateur Veulta a Spana” and is incredibly well organized with lots of prestige.
As Barry Austin, our manager, won the draw to decide on our start order, he was smart enough to do the same as most teams including Rabobank, and split who he thought the two fastest riders would be for GC, because of the possibility of weather conditions changing over the two hour start intervals, so Jaco Venter starting first in the first wave, I’d be off last of the South Africans in around 118th place.
Unlucky for me and about three quarters of the field though was that the rain began to come down and conditions got progressively worse as the evening drew on. On really smooth roads, with 8 roundabouts to negotiate at speed, you had to choose between speed and or control and I decided best to loose a handful of seconds to stay in control rather than a minute or two in a crash.
Jaco was best of the Selection South Africa Team, in 24th place, 24sec behind, myself in 26th place 25sec down on the Rabobank winner. Full results on the website under Classiciones, Etape1.
Most of the “Saffas” are first timers to such a big event and were fairly nervous looking at the infrastructure that the teams have compared to what we are used to. Even the team presentation the evening before makes you aware as to how big the race is and what level we are up against here. Also amazing to see how many spectators came to watch, both the opening evenings of events.
Results and info, although in Spanish can be found at www.circuitomontanes.com
Tomorrows stage is “relatively” flat, Santander to Maliano, 172km featuring only 3 small cat 3 climbs, but looks to be fast and hard.
Till then, Hasta la venga!