Without further ado, and the post race party in Argentina followed by a thirty hour trip home was an ado, the conclusion of San Luis.
Stage 4: 170 km
Phil Gaimon still sat firmly in the race lead. Knowing the ten kilometer finishing climb would ask the hard questions of Phil, the rest of us gave him our full support and confidence. Other teams helped control the breakaway today, so despite pulling, I was able to conserve some energy to support Tom and Phil on the first half of the final climb. While other teams attacked the foothills and base of the climb full throttle to weaken Phil, I stayed with him and pulled him back into position when he slipped back. When I dropped, Tom Danielson took over that responsibility and nursed, rather mercilessly dragged Phil at his pain threshold to the finish. The sun radiated off the concrete road surface melting us at 110 degrees. Phil retrained the jersey by just four seconds.
Daily Drama: Argentinian contender taking pushes from an Argentinian cameraman on a motorcycle
Stage 5: 20 km TT
Without equipment to warm up, after four days controlling the pace, on a new unfamiliar bike with guesstimated measurements, and a mechanical issue out the gate, I took today as a recovery day. Still I fell just a minute outside the top ten in 40th place. I followed Phil in the passenger seat of the team car and watched his overall lead fall to Nairo Quintana (2nd in the Tour de France). Phil is still in second.
Daily Drama: The director saw our mechanic give me half of a hamburger five minutes before the start
Stage 6: 190 km
Crosswinds beat us into the gutter all day before the final ten kilometer climb. With the new leader’s team controlling the pace, we focused on sheltering Phil from the crosswinds. The final climb was typical and exciting- every team battling to position their climbers, second group climbers destroying themselves and thinning the front group on the first half of the climb, the big hitters dealing and taking big hits. I secretly enjoyed the team directors seeing me straight-faced in the small front group until under three km to go. Phil and Tom finished with the leaders in 7th and 8th.
Daily Drama: Team car smashing into and crashing Tyler Farrar and the heated and unruly aftermath.
Stage 7: 150 km
After an aggressive start, we settled in for an inevitable sprint finish. With a tailwind everybody felt like superman and riders took unreasonable risks to stay at the front. Handlebars, hips, and helmets bumped at forty-five miles an hour, and then a few tight turns strung out the group. We finished safe and sound with Phil in second overall.
Daily Drama: Off the record post race party
After a successful season start, I’ll spend five days in Virginia and then fly to Mallorca.
Thanks for following,