191.5km, 2400m Ascent from Oliveira do Bairo to Trofa, and today was brilliant! No long transfers this morning and I didn’t have very much to do. It was fantastic, a rest day practically.
United Health Care (UHC), a US pro continental team set the pace and controlled the entire stage expertly. It was great watching them work I got the impression that perhaps they’d be even more effective somewhere like Belgium.
I used to think they were a rubbish team as I had raced with them in San Luis in Argentina and at the Volta ao Algarve and in neither of these races did they go well.
UHC kept the break within 3.5min for the entire stage and still found the energy to reel it in close and then they did something quite clever.
When it was close(ish), at around a minute I think, they abandoned the front gambling that other teams would be interested in reeling in the break to prepare for a sprint finish. It paid off.
The finish was extremely dangerous.
I swear, with so many wide avenues leading into that town I do not see the necessity for having such a dangerous finish if not to actually set the stage for some crashes, which inevitably occurred.
Bad news for us was that Ricardo Mestre, our leader for the race, fell. But luckily he was okay.
I was caught up behind it. I’m not sure if I was awarded the same time or not, not that it actually matters.
The race was won by Franseco Lasca, of Caja Rural won the stage.
That’s the two longest stages out of the way: 394.5km done.