The time trial of the Circuit du Méné started at 9 o'clock in the morning for me with a crisp 1 degree Celsius. I had a good warm up though so that was no problem.
Normally I love time trials, however this one wasn't all too good. To keep it short, the 6km just weren't long enough for me and I don't have the kick in my legs to sprint in a big gear over the hard but short climbs. I finished a mediocre 30th, 22 seconds down on the winner.
In the afternoon a road race of 136km awaited us. Having done a 5h training session the Saturday before and including the early wake up before the TT plus the efforts of the morning, I felt empty and powerless.
There was no getting around it though so I tried to make the best of it.
Apparently my teammates weren't feeling great either as a big group left and we had none of our guys in it. However there were many other teams who wanted to keep the pressure on to get the group back so we decided not to chase. After a long exhausting chase we finally caught up with the group and now there were only 3 guys up the road.
I made sure to cover the next moves that were going clear, but nothing stuck.
Strangely the further we rode the better my legs felt and I made sure to stay in the front. On a few tough, short climbs before the finishing circuit I even exited the peloton in a small group but we got caught again due to a strong headwind.
On the finishing circuit only me and Thibault were left and we worked well together, covering attacks and also trying our own luck to break away at times.
As the last lap commenced I was ahead in a small group ahead and the peloton seemed reluctant to chase so we committed. We came close to a 5 man group that were left upfront but unfortunately didn't manage to catch them (plus there were another 3 even further ahead). However I did manage to snatch 4th in the group sprint (as a non sprinter that made me proud) which put me in 12th on the stage and 21st on GC.
I think I'm slowly starting to find my feet in the brittanic races. Race after race improvements are to be seen (tiny baby step improvements, but visible non the less). Maybe the big breakthrough is just around the corner.