Although I could barely walk down the hotel steps to eat my breakfast, I decided to try and start the stage. Maybe a good warm up would loosen up my hip and make it possible to survive the stage.
As I pedaled in squares through the start on my new bike (Wilier Cento
Air, which is the more aero version of the one I cracked the day
before), I felt better than at the breakfast table, but my hip was still
protesting with every pedal stroke. I still decided to start and some
encouraging words by my teammates made it a lot easier for the first few
Then my gears stopped working, because as it turned out later the
mechanic had put a faulty battery on my bike by accident, when he built
it up the night before.
So spinning like a mad man trying not to get left too far behind I
called for my teamcar, changed the bike and made my way back to the
bunch. Normally this wouldn't have been a problem, but with a hurting
body it wasn't so easy.
A few kilometers later I changed back to my original bike, as it was
fixed in the meantime, but this time it took me a lot longer to get back
to the peloton. Mostly because it was almost all uphill and the draft
doesn't help as much.
Upfront the break still hadn't left and the GC teams were throwing everything they had against each other.
The circuit was similar to the one the day before, except shorter
climbs, but a lot of them. So many indeed that I can't remember a single
piece of flat road anywhere.
I assisted my leader with covering all the dangerous moves and keeping
him out of trouble when I could. However I didn't know for how long I'd
be able to do it.
A teammate was involved in a crash that happened in a crosswind section,
which split the peloton to pieces. It all came back together though and
my teammate wasn't badly hurt either.
Couldn't say the same. All the bumpy roads and ups and downs had taken
their toll on me and I was hurting in places I didn't know I was
injured. My arm for example suddenly seemed unable to maintain a tight
grip on the handlebar. It didn't take long until I was hanging at the
back at each little rise.
Then I hit a nasty bump with my right leg and hip absorbing all the
shock and a numbing pain shot through my leg right up to my fingertips. I
couldn't pedal anymore.
Straight away I was out the back and knew there was no way I would make
it. I put my hand up, waiting for the teamcar to arrive and pulled out.
It went so well for a moment that I actually thought I might make it to
the finish. Unfortunately I had picked the worst stage to be injured on
and it just didn't work out.
The next day I spent in the teamcar watching the team get a solid 4th
and 5th in the stage. It was interesting to see a race from a different
point of view again. However I would've rather been on the bike myself.
Now I'm traveling to Switzerland for a week and hopefully will recover
soon from my injuries. The mountains are calling!
Until next time.