154.9 km, 4000m ascent

I wasn’t able to update this immediately as we had a nightmare getting to the hotel and only arrived at 12sh.

This race started in the highest city in Portugal, Guarda. It’s the queen stage and one that sees us climb the only hors category climb of the race, Alto da Torre.

We had a similar mission to the day before, which was to get in the break aways and generally make the race hard.

I was feeling pretty rotten from the huge breakaway the day before, but managed to get in the break away after about 30km battling away in the skirmish at the front of the peloton.

The pace was horribly tough and I felt uncomfortable the whole time.

When we got to the first climb I dropped of and just went at my own pace, which was good as I was able to pass it without much of a fuss.

The next climb wasn’t too hard either, but I still had to spend some time at threshold to make sure I passed it in the main peloton so as not to have to chase.

When I got to the foot of Torre I just opened and went up slowly. I knew I’d be well within the control time if I pottered up comfortably.

I really wasn’t in the mood to race up, although it might have been an interesting test!

David Blanco, my ex-teammate won the stage and stepped into the race lead.

David Blanco.

He’s had a very impressive showing, he galvanised his new group into a team and he managed to recover his form after a bad year with Geox.

Hats off to him, I sincerely didn’t think he could do it.

My team under-performed.

After all the bad luck, I wasn’t really surprised. I was really happy to see David Livramento shine a bit. He’s as hard as nails and seems to feel no fear; he’ll get stuck in in a sprint if he’s told to and that’s remarkable given he’s a 55kg climber.

I hope he gets to ride in the top flight some day.