This was the first stage of 4 in the three day tour. Thee laps of a 21km circuit that was half flat and half rolling hills. The course features a 2.3km climb at 5% near the end followed by the finish line around a kilometre later.
The first lap was very quiet, the pace was slow and not much happened, I decided not to contest the uphill climb to gain bonus KOM seconds and just stayed with the bunch instead.
The pace picked up a bit on the second lap but I was still feeling good, I decided this time I would try have a go at grabbing some bonus seconds on the KOM. I was chatting to another rider who indicated that the KOM was coming up soon, which I thought meant in a few hundred metres. So I pushed near the front and started stringing out the bunch before getting to the base of the climb. What I didn't realise is that the KOM was several kilometres away and there was no way I would be able to keep my pace until then. Eventually I crashed as the KOM climb started, dropping off the rear of the pack with one other rider. We worked together and managed to hop back onto the bunch.
The first half of the third lap I tried to shelter as much as I could to recover. I was able to recover from my earlier efforts and felt much better a few kms later. Towards the end of the race I was able to stay near the front for the final KOM climb. A group of 6 riders went off the front and I was unable to hold their pace. I did have a clear gap to the group behind me though. After the climb I was able to gain back some time by pushing hard on the descent to the finish line.
After the stage I'm placed 7th of 23 starters, I finished 16 seconds behind the leaders but with time bonuses am 26 seconds down overall still in 7th.
|Average Speed:||32.71 km/h|