Stage 1: Santander - Maliano172km, ascent: 9.4km@27k - Cat 3, 2.2km email@example.com - Cat 3, 3km climb@117k - Cat 3, 4.2km climb
Well this was to be “flat”and easiest stage of the tour. After climbing 1500m and averaging 41km/hr for our 172km, excluding the 8km neutral zone, it was anything but a walk in the park.
Our biggest concern for the day was to watch out for combination moves, a break that goes away with the right teams represented and the tour is then potentially over for GC. I followed many moves early on, as did the rest of the team but for most of the day it stayed together except for one or two solo efforts.
I felt good on the climbs, but one can sense that the climbing specialists were taking it relatively easy. Arran Brown managed to take the second hotspot although with a lone rider away, it gave him second place points. The last categorized climb was really hard as the Café/Colombian team and the CK/CP Cyclocross team went hard from the bottom but I managed to stay with and just take the 2nd place points behind a solo rider that was away.
It was 58km from there to the finish, and then the rain came down, making the conditions extreme. To add to this there were a few “uncategorized” climbs and the pace was high enough to split the bunch. As the bunch came back, a move had gone with 10riders, and the right combination, and in the very wet and slippery conditions, the break got a minute on us very quickly. At this stage I was marking one or two other riders and also not knowing who was left in our squad, I was hanging back to try get bottles for Jaco and I and was a bit disappointed that we missed the break.
However we are both just inside the top30 on GC, 1min20 down on the leader, and I’m fairly sure after today’s stage, there will be a different picture.
I just hope the climbing legs are firing today as we hit the mountains, facing 3 cat2 climbs, one cat3 and finish with a cat1 climb, totaling 30km!
www.circuitomontanes.com for foull results.