I’m not sure what to say about this race. Even with a boatload of bad luck, I managed to hang on to 4th place in the general classification, but the lost opportunity is still weighing on me. I keep asking myself what I could have done differently. I keep going over the different scenarios in my head. I shouldn’t have taken so many risks in the time trial. I should have demanded a teammate give me a wheel on the third stage sooner than I did. I should have trusted my instincts more. Fortunately, I was too tired to allow my mind to keep me up last night.
Here’s what happened. Stage one went well. I had to do a little too much work in the beginning closing gaps to the Russians and Canadians who were being very aggressive, but I still made the final break of four. We got just over two and a half minutes on the field. I cramped in the end, and got 3rd. Then I got to do my first interview in French. Turns out those four years of French in high school weren’t completely worthless. I said what I could about the race and the weather, and then apologized for my bad French. I really tried to slow down for the apology, but I’m still not 100% sure I didn’t say “France is very bad.” Maybe that’s why I was getting the strange looks?
Stage two, the time trial, was where the bad luck began. I crashed in my aerobars, in a chicane, on a downhill, going about 50k an hour. Jackson and the mechanic, Nick, were following me in the team car and were able to help me back up. Somehow, I still manged to still place 10th and hold onto my 3rd place in the GC, but my back got pretty messed up, and bothered me the remaineder of the race. The bush I crashed into had thorns:
It took me awhile to get rolling on stage three. It rained all day too. The team worked well for me and had me protected in the finishing circuits. Then, with just over 5k to go, I flatted. It was raining and chaotic. The wheel change took forever, and I chased like hell to catch back on. I was catching the stragglers when I crossed the finish line, but there were gaps between them and the peleton. I would have held onto third if one of the Canadians, Shaw, hadn’t won the stage and gotten the time bonus.
Because I was only four seconds off third place, my goal on the fourth stage was to get the time bonuses. A break up the road kept me from getting the first one, but I managed to get the second time bonus pretty easily. Three seconds there. One to go. In the end, I didn’t do it. I only got 5th on the stage – no time bonuses there. I keep thinking back to the time trial. If only I hadn’t tried to push it so hard. Or what if I hadn’t flatted? Where would I be now? In a yellow jersey?