200.8km, 2800m Ascent.

The day started with a long transfer from our hotel in the magnificent town of Covilhã situated at the foot of Serra da Estrella. We’ve been run of our feet with with reconaisance, various signings on and parading around the palce…

It’s been a tough few days just for the fact we haven’t had any proper rest, or training since last Saturday, our last day at home.

Today’s stage was terrible, it felt like I had no extra ‘oomph’ I did my job okay, but didn’t manage anything special. I think this was mainly due to the hectic days spent mostly seated in a car.

It’s hot!

We controlled the race more or less for the first 40km, letting a small group escape. Then in a stare off with the rest of the peloton we let the break gain 15min. I saw the time increase above 5min I started getting nervous and wanting to put a steady rhythm going on the front of the pack…

I knew I’d have to pick up the bill eventually.

Alas I was told to pick up the bill when the break had 15min… I wasn’t alone in the job though, our sprinter Samuel Caldeira and the two sprinters of Efapel/Glassdrive were there with me It was a bit of a nightmare pulling through with these guys as they’d accelerate fast for 50m and then look back at me as if I was supposed to carry this pace for the following 1000m.

It was a tough stage, it was awful to be put to work at such an early stage in the race, but heh, that’s the job and I did it well; when I left the front of the bunch at the foot of this tough 2nd cat climb, the break only had 6 min.

It was swiftly reduced to only three by the end of the climb.

Jay Thomson won the stage, holding on at the front of the race for all that time. It was impressive considering everyone in the peloton was cramping up towards the end of the race.

Check out the video report (Portuguese):