TT today, so nice way to get our engines running again after yesterdays day of leisure. The 38.8km course was pretty straight forward, 18km up and 20.8km down! Like the rest of this years vuelta I don't remember there being much in the way of flat so you always had something to think about. Add to that the wind that was blowing its backside of and what could have been a straight forward course became somewhat challenging. Fabian Cancellara demolished the field as expected not only going downhill but also on the way up. A very dominant display but of no surprise, he has looked in pretty superb nick during the first half of the race. Ivan had a great TT to be inside the top 20 on the day and remain in 7th place on GC. Today was perhaps one he feared so was great to see he handle the pressure exceptionally well and limit his losses to the top few and claw back some precious seconds on the others just above him. Yet again witnessing him perform like today and gives us more motivation for the pyranees next weekend and the stages that suit him the best. Certainly today he could not do anything to win the vuelta but he certainly could have fallen out of the GC race so was really encouraging that at days end he is even more in the thick of the podium battle now. He will certainly be chippa at dinner this evening.
For me today was a day of tranquillity. I need to take every opportunity possible to limit the stress on my body so as I can handle racing with a broken bone for the next 10 days. With that being said todays TT offered the chance to ride a nice steady tempo and have another quiet day. Also its important for me to understand what agitates the rib whilst on the bike to be able to manage as best as possible the situation for the remainder of the vuelta. Firstly I need to take any opportunity like today to go as easily as possible as that helps the recovery process. Secondly maintain a position and avoid movements that increases the pain. And thirdly figure these things out very quickly as come the weekend in the pyranees I will need to be back on deck to do I can to help Ivan!! We don't have any space for passengers in Cannondale pro cycling team. Injured or not if you pin the number on you make a commitment to do all you can to contribute to the success of the team. There are no easy passes handed out for sympathy in cycling, that's for certain!
So my day went like this. Slept in as long as possible, until around 9:30. Had a yummy breakfast, alex our chef makes the most unbelievable omelettes that I don't know how I will start my day without them when the race is over. Next a bit of down time before heading out to the TT. I did not bother riding the course as at the moment avoiding time on the road and its potential hazards is the priority where possible. My warmup was very much just that. A gentle 45minute spin slowly building my heartrate up to 150BPM as after that point my rib started to get agitated and there was no need to do that for today's procession around the TT course. 10min before the start I got off the home trainer, pulled on my Tt helmet and headed of the starting ramp. My only objective today was to finish inside the time limit and to do this figured so long as I kept my heart rate between 140-160beats and no higher or lower I would be just fine. Also the TT bike position takes a lot of weight of your upper body so I knew if I could stay in the TT position for as much of the TT as possible I would limit any hits of pain. When I stand and don't brace myself I grind my teeth so this was a very important thing to remember for today. As it turned out I stood only twice and very briefly. Combine this with keeping my heartrate no higher than 160 beats and it was honestly about as pain free as I could have wished for.
To be honest I had hoped that the painkillers would have more of an effect. About 30minutes after taking it I asked the doctor how long they take to kick in and dull the pain?? I was on the home trainer and noticed that real deep breaths were still causing me discomfort. The doctor simply replied that they have taken effect and they are the strongest pain killers he has. I said yeah doc but I still feel pain!! He said "cameron in case you have forgotten you have a fractured bone in your body, its still going to hurt a lot" so basically just shut up and deal with it!! Dealing with it was not my concern I just wanted to understand how much I will need to deal with. Know I know so as they say, better the devil you know than the one you don't!
My 38.8km was very enjoyable. I maintained my position and the whole time just wanted to push harder. I stayed controlled however and within my previously stated restrictions and just did the best I could with that. No body had passed me from behind so I knew I was safely inside the time limit so had no need to stress at any point. I went at absolute pedestrian pace down the 10km plunge to the finish, I was not taking any risks on crashing today. All of a sudden 6km from the finish Dario flew passed which I assumed was in protest at how slow I was going. Infact it was his fatherly instincts kicking in as he had heard on the radio about a crash ahead and knew he was one of the closest team to it. When I next saw him he was out of the care telling me to slow down but I had no idea why, I just slowed down even more if that was possible! As it turned out the quickstep rider ahead of me had a horrible accident 5km from the finish and by the sounds of it busted every bone in his body. My thoughts are with him and hope he is getting some good care whichever hospital he is in. After hereing that news I am, A) fortunate to have got away with a little fracture, & B) I am pleased I rode so slow down the hill I was in danger of getting a parking ticket!
At the finish fabian as expected gave me an absolute hiding but while he may have put me to the sword today I had a wry smile when I saw the GC following todays stage with him 1 place behind me!! He may won todays battle but I am winning the war!! Just joking, GC has no significance what so ever for guys like him a grand tour, basically he either is leading them or destroying the peleton for his team mates and they are more often than not leading! He really is a class act.
So that's the TT for this years vuelta done and dusted. Was another positive day for the team with regard to Ivan's GC position defence, and from my perspective a positive day of active continuation in the race with my little niggle that will now follow me around for the remainder of the vuelta. Tomorrow sees a day that will either favour a break away or a hard bunch sprint, either way it look on paper like a great day for Ratto so looking forward to seeing what he does on the road Taragona.
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