Stage 3: 143 km
Expect anything called the Grossglockner to be brutal. That was the second climb
we hit, but it didn’t take that long for Team RadioShack (is that like referring
to yourself in the 3rd person?) to blow the race to pieces. I made the first
attack. Zaugg and Bennett countered.
Like 4th of July fireworks, the peloton exploded. That’s the last I saw of the
30 riders, including 5 from Radioshack, leaving us behind. They never looked
back. Soon the yellow jersey, Danilo Di Luca, showed signs of pressure. Didier
attacked and broke Di Luca’s only remaining teammate. Busche set an inimical
pace. Before anyone could recover, Fuglsang lunged ahead on the 8,500 ft ascent.
He cracked his lone follower in route to a stage victory and the yellow jersey.
Behind, 110 of us finished just within the elimination time, a percentage of the
leader’s finishing time. A fist fight between two short-tempered riders animated
Stage 4: 243 km
Markel, Bennett, and I muscled to protect Jakob from the 28 riders within
striking distance. We tried to assert our presence, but everyone knew that with
our GC ambitions we wouldn’t chase the break for a stage win. For two hours
those who’s GC hopes had disappeared, attacked relentlessly for a chance at the
Our difficulty was to reel in every rider who hadn’t lost 34 minutes on the
Grossglockner. When twelve harmless riders finally established a break, we
waited until they had 10 minutes before taking control to discourage anyone from
trying to cross the gap.
For the next 150 km, Bennett , Markel, and I kept the gap within 11 minutes. We
defended the yellow jersey and our lead in the Team Classification.