Yesterday’s stage 6 here in Portugal was a typical transition stage from the first mountains of the race to the next. The team took a step back today from trying to represent ourselves in the breakaways to focus on the finish line. With 18 roundabouts in the last 10 km, we knew it would be a tricky finish. Without a full squad here and some of us climbers not being the best lead-out men in the business, we did what we could for Tyler. But the tight finish and barriers kept him from being able to fully launch that vicious sprint of his.
Today it is back to the mountains with the next three stages progressively getting harder with stage 9 packed full of climb after climb after climb. So far the race has been extremely aggressive, and by the looks of the stages, I don’t foresee that changing anytime soon.
Today’s stage 7 includes the race’s second uphill finish. But unlike the first – wait, let me rephrase that – much unlike the first (a 30km grueling pass to Portugal’s highest peak, Alto de Torre), we are presented with a shorter, steeper 7 km long category 2 climb. But no matter how long, steep, gradual, or technical the hill is here in Portugal, if it goes up, there will no doubt be fireworks. Dan is still flaunting the young rider jersey and we will be sure to look after him today, as he will be taking part in the fireworks with full force.
I wish I could give you a little more, but have no fear I will have plenty of stories for you in the next few days. The race has only just begun!