Stage 7 - Tour of California

What a crazy exit out of CA!

I went to Santa Cruz for a sponsor event and managed to make it to the airport with very little time to spare.

I’m already heading back to Spain and it is incredible to think back on how quickly the past two weeks flew by. The racing was as heated as ever, and clearly, the most deserving riders won each stage and the overall.

This year was different for me heading there straight from Tour de Yorkshire with only a few short days in between. While they were short, those were some great pre-race days with the BMC Racing Team guys. We enjoyed some good California rides on our way down to Long Beach.

Once the race started, I sometimes forgot I was in the USA with the peloton so international and likely stronger than ever before. I also noticed the cultural shift with the A.S.O. (Amaury Sport Organisation), who also handles the Le Tour de France, now running the race. What hasn’t changed was the spectacular showcase of the beautiful state of California.

It was a pleasure and honor to make our way from Long Beach up to Sacramento and to be cheered on by the American fans the whole way. I loved hearing my name shouted each day when I went for sign on. My dad and stepmom came in for the final stages, which was a personal highlight.

We’ve come to expect long transfers with traffic during this race but knowing there would an American-sized bed waiting for me and a breakfast box stocked with the amazing produce from places like Whole Foods added that touch of American convenience and comfort that I miss when I’m In Europe.

And the burritos!

I had a solid dose of post-race burritos, which hopefully will keep me going until my next trip back to the States.

Personally, it was a week of ups and downs. Despite being frustrated for not improving on my third and fourth overall finishes from the past two years, I’m taking a more long-term perspective. While I wasn’t able to continue my top five trend, I believe I still have it in me.

I came into the week with high ambitions of riding a strong overall race but was disappointed to be off the mark on Stage 2. From there, it was a matter of shifting focus and returning to teammate mode in support of Tejay and his bid for the overall. I was proud to be in the fight with a group of fast finishers in Stage 3, in contention with my TT ride compared to the other GC players, and that I was able to fill the role of valuable teammate.

It’s nice to have the ATOC as a way to assess my progress as an athlete and as a person over the years. When I think back to Tejay’s overall win in 2013, I can see how far I’ve come and how much harder this race has gotten. Back then, I was purely a teammate and never considered being at this race as a GC contender. The race has grown tremendously in its demand and depth since then. Similarly, I feel I have also developed.

The changes aren’t just on the bike; I’ve worked to become a leader, and it is satisfying to have a race where I can see this work translate into results. I am still inspired to work and achieve. Maybe the best news of the week was that we learned the Tour of California will continue and I hope to be there 12 months from now.

As for today, I’m looking forward to getting back to Jamie over in Girona and catching a little rest before getting back at it in the Dauphine in a couple of short weeks.

📷 VeloImages

Stage 5 - Tour of California

At today’s sign-in, the announcers were already asking about Stage 6 of the Amgen Tour of California. I reminded them Stage 5 was still ahead and we had a lot to deal with. While it had a flatter profile and less technical, it was still a day where we needed to be heads up and switched on.

Heading into the race, wind was the main topic of discussion along with how it would play out with the world-class sprinters we have here.

We were fortunate that some of the sprinters’ teams immediately showed their muscle up front and helped us encourage a good small group to get away. The sprinters’ teams quickly got to work controlling their gap, and BMC Racing Team posted up behind them as we navigated some slightly more technical roads through the middle section of the stage.

There were a few crashes behind, so we were happy to be up front and clean. On these “sprint” days where we race on wider roads with fewer corners, the group typically gets nervous sooner than it needs to. Today was the perfect example of that.

The wind was never strong enough to cause major echelons, but there was plenty of nervous position fighting from corner to corner in the final 50 kilometers. Sometimes it feels like a waste of energy to be pushing up front during those moments, but then a big crash happens and the effort is obviously well spent.

We were happy to defend the jersey and head into tomorrow’s epic high-altitude climbing slog with as much banked energy as we can expect after five solid days of racing. I fully expect to have everything thrown at us, but I’m also confident in our group and looking forward to the challenge.

📷 Chris Graythen/Getty Images for AEG

Stage 4 - Tour of California

As expected, today’s time trial provided a big shake up and was a great balance after the more pure climber focused Stage 2 of the Amgen Tour of California.

Thanks to the excellent prep work of our Californian director Jackson Stewart, we had some good virtual recon ahead of time. This morning was our first chance to see the course. It was fairly straightforward and required a relatively steady rhythm and supreme aerodynamics. There were a couple of small handling sections, but I never had to touch the breaks. This meant the speed was always up and the power profile would be constant.

The wind was definitely a factor with a brutal headwind for the first half and a ripping tailwind for the final 12 kilometers, at least for anyone who began later in the start order because the wind shifted from morning to afternoon.

In the first half, I struggled to find a good rhythm thanks to the headwind. Our follow cars with director feedback were placed behind stage favorites Patrick Bevin and Tejay, so I was flying in the dark out. I just tried to stay focused on my breathing, position and pedal stroke.

Forty-five minutes is a long time to be riding at your limit, all alone, and stuck in the TT position. Time trialing still isn’t my strongest ability, but I’ve been working hard on improving. I felt l did a decent job staying focused and not letting those negative thoughts (which were telling me that I was c.r.e.e.p.i.n.g) get into my mind.

To my surprise, my strongest section was the dead flat, straight final 12 km. Over this section, I was very close to the pace of the top finishers, but my poor first half left me with too much time to make up. This put me just out of the top 10 on the stage but bumped me up to 10th overall.

The day was a very happy one for BMC Racing Team because we all know how badly Tejay wanted this and how hard he worked for it. It is a true testament to commitment and persistence, and it’s nice to see Tejay being rewarded after a challenging spring season. We will do everything we can to bring him to Sacramento in that jersey.

📷 VeloImages

 

Stage 3 - Tour of California

Stage 3 took us on some fresh roads we’ve never raced before at the Amgen Tour of California and then brought us back to the finish from 2016 on the Laguna Seca Raceway.

The new sections were those roads you love to ride but are super challenging to race. Think bumpy, broken surface roads that are narrow with steep ups and downs; it almost feels like mountain biking on a road bike.

Once again the depth of the field showed itself over those sections. The pace was high, but not high enough to prevent a few brave souls from attacking.

We did our best to stay around Tejay and keep him protected and well positioned, which was essential because there were a few crashes and plenty of sketchy moments.

The final kilometers on WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca were an explosive sufferer fest! I was digging deep to stay up front and in position for what we thought would be a small bunch sprint. Yet an inspired late surge from the break and some super gusty wind conditions played a role.

You hear it over and over--only the podium or winning matters. Yet judging by the aggressiveness in the sprint for third, that cliché is far from the truth. I did my best to time my surge and put myself into good position heading into the last corner, but a few guys still swiped me on the inside.

Overall, I was pleased to be up there in the mix, feel that finish line fire and get into the top 10 in a stacked field of fast guys.

📷 Chris Graythen/Getty Images for AEG

 

Stage 2 - Tour of California

Today was a tough day.

Not tough like we suffered and battled all day, but tough because I didn’t deliver the performance I expected of myself. I have been working so hard towards today.

The unpredictability of this sport is what makes it interesting and what gives me personally a lot of hope and ambition, but it is also cruel and so challenging to exist in this as your job, your livelihood.

Stage 2 of the Amgen Tour of California was a fairly mellow and uneventful day for the first 140 kilometers leading into the final climb. The pace and position fighting ramped up pretty hard as we approached the final climb, but the BMC Racing Team guys were always up front. I went into the start of the final climb in the first five positions.

The depth of this field began to show as each team had a number of strong guys who all wanted to do an all-out max effort pull to show themselves. If anything, I was maybe too far upfront during this phase. As I followed the acceleration of guys doing their final pulls, I already felt like I was nearing my max. Looking back it’s easy to say that sitting back a bit could have saved me a few accelerations, but being upfront kept me out of the mayhem….so it’s hard to say what would have been the best move.

In the end, Tejay did a solid climb to keep himself within striking distance. I’ll have to go back to the drawing board and get creative with how I can get myself back in the mix and hopefully apply some pressure to the teams ahead of us.

📷 Chris Graythen/Getty Images for AEG

 

 

 

Stage 1 - Tour of California

The turnaround from last week racing at Tour de Yorkshire to kicking off the Amgen Tour of California today was short, but after being in a hotel the whole time and having a long build-up of pre-race activities, everyone was eager to get the race going.

Stage 1 played out exactly as we expected with a small break getting caught before a fast bunch sprint. It was a fairly straightforward day, except for a few orange traffic cones keeping us on our toes. The wide American roads meant there was constant reshuffling and my legs felt a little stale, but the speed and acceleration out of the corners helped open them up a bit.

Hopefully, they are primed for tomorrow’s big day. It’s the highly anticipated summit finish showdown on Gibraltar…..

📷 VeloImages

 

 

Stage 4 - Tour de Yorkshire

We knew heading into the final stage of the Tour de Yorkshire that we had a good chance of getting Greg the overall win. But this was only possible if we all rode to our potential and laid it on the line for the team.

(Personally, I was also thinking about how I could make that happen while also going for the win myself…)

I was hoping to play my chances late in the race, but after a fast start and a solid 7-kilometer climb following neutral, the race opened up. With only four BMC Racing Team guys supporting Greg, I was on duty to look for early moves and find opportunities to apply pressure on other teams. This chance came sooner than I expected and before I knew it, I was away in a strong group of 10 riders. There were multiple guys in the group within a minute of the lead, but I was the highest-placed rider at ~ 20 seconds back. This would definitely put pressure on Astana, and we hoped it would isolate their leader later in the race.

Our group worked fairly well together, at least for the first half but being the highest placed rider GC rider meant I was a threat and could win the whole race.

This put me in a position of extra pressure and responsibility and I had to figure out how to keep the group moving and working together as long as possible. This would give us the best chance on a physically and technically demanding stage. I had to put in some extra pulls and heavily mark the others as guys tired, shirked pulls and eventually became frustrated and started attacking.

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Back in the peloton, the race leader was under pressure and showing weakness. Greg came over the radio and said he had super legs and no one could beat him. I knew this likely meant my chances to go for it were over, but I still had a crucial role to play. As Greg’s group caught us, I battled to stay with the best riders as they attacked on the final classified climb. Cort Neilson had been dropped, and now it was up to Danilo Wyss and me to go all-in, sell out for Greg, keep the pace up, and hold the front group together.

After a long day out front, I buried myself heading into the finish. I would have loved to hang onto a nice top 10 result by staying in the group, but we raced 100 percent to get the overall win for Greg. It feels good to help make that happen. That ride gave me a lot of confidence heading into Amgen Tour of California. It was also refreshing to have great legs on such a demanding stage and drive a strong break through my favorite type of roads for riding a bike.

📷 Chris Auld Photography

 

Stage 3 - Tour de Yorkshire

Stage 3 was the final chance for the sprinters to grab a win at Tour de Yorkshire. While today’s profile was the most demanding so far, we were hoping to mix things up, put other teams under pressure, and create some opportunities for ourselves.

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Starting with only five guys and obviously wanting to protect Greg made this a tall order, but we gave it a good go. We started our effort with Danilo Wyss and Patrick Bevin setting a stiff pace on a short steep climb with about 50 kilometers to go, which caused some splits in the bunch.

From there, we caught the early break and once the race reset, attacks started flying. With around 25 km to go, I jumped in a move with five guys. We snaked through the outskirts of Scarborough and bounced through some of the city’s cobblestone streets. 

I hoped that without a full contingent of sprinter’s teams in the main bunch due to the earlier split, there would be a greater chance for us to get a little gap. Despite a big effort from the five of us, they kept us pretty close and brought us back inside the final 10 km. 

Then Paddy tried a nice move with about 4 km to go, but he also got caught in the closing kilometers. 

While the bunch sprint was tactical and chaotic, I appreciated the amazing crowds, stunning coastline and breathtaking finish line scene and was pleased that Greg was able to sprint to eighth.

Tomorrow will be without a doubt the most demanding day of this race. It features a jagged profile and total altitude gain of a full-on mountain stage, so I think the strongest guys will end up in the front. Hopefully, that means a few of us BMC Racing Team guys are in there going for it.

📷 Chris Auld Photography

Stage 2 - Tour de Yorkshire

Stage 2 of Tour de Yorkshire was a full-on day of racing, and it was back into hillier and more technical terrain.

After the break stuck yesterday, there was a major battle to get off the front and it took around 50-60 kilometers before things settled down.

The race was downright chaotic and we were on rollercoaster roads when we lost my roomie at this race, Tom Bohli, to a crash. He got tangled up with a few riders who overcooked a corner while going on the attack.

Considering we were already starting one-man down, we immediately felt the loss of Tom. It meant the rest of us BMC Racing Team had to step up and spend a little more energy than was ideal.

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Fortunately, Paddy Bevin was up there with a key early move and then Nathan Van Hooydonck contributed to the pace making once the break went.

Things heated up in the final 25 km and we took the lead for the final approach into the uphill finish. I felt strong, but when the best guys including Greg, made an explosive acceleration with around 700 meters to go, I couldn’t muster much more than a hard steady pace. Greg fought hard for the win and came up just a bit short with a nice second place, while I just snuck into the top 10.

We have two unpredictable stages to come, especially Sunday’s final stage, which packs a massive amount of total climbing. We plan to stay heads up and switched on hoping to benefit from our collective depth, even with our reduced team.

📷 Chris Auld Photography

Stage 1 - Tour de Yorkshire

I’ve had one race day in the past six weeks, so t was nice to get some race pace back in my legs at the Tour de Yorkshire. Today was a sunny and dry, which meant many fans were lining the roads. The crowds at the Tour de Yorkshire are absolutely incredible, especially when you consider it’s a Thursday! I can’t wait to see what this weekend will look like...

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Stage 1 was a bit uncharacteristic of what I’ve learned to expect at Yorkshire with mainly flat terrain. It was far less hilly than anything we saw last year.

Regardless, the roads here always seem quite heavy. So mix that with how long it’s been since I raced and I felt a little sluggish, but I could tell my legs were heading in the right direction and I expect I’ll improve over the days to come.

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The big thing at today’s race was the break stayed away. I was surprised that happened, but they earned it. We never slowed down once the sprinter’s teams began to ride. I’m not sure how it looked on TV, but I think the decisive moment came in the final few kilometers when we could see the break. Typically, a break will start to attack itself, play games and look at each other, but this group was committed and went all in. It’s a testament to the mentality of the smaller teams.

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Tomorrow is clearly a big day for the overall GC with the uphill finish. I have never seen this climb, so it’s hard to know how selective it will be. Either way, it looks like a great finish for Greg, so we will look to set him up for a good one.

📷 Photo Chris Auld Photography

Brabantse Pijl

Brabantse Pijl was my first Belgian race of the year, and I don’t know when I’ll be back, so I tried to enjoy the quick two-night trip and demanding race day. There’s nothing like racing in Belgium; the fans here are passionate like no other.

I probably signed more “Brent Bookwalter” rider cards today than my entire season combined. It’s always a trip down memory lane as many fans will have 5 to 10 years worth of rider cards, some of which are homemade!

The start was somber. The tribute and remembrance for Michael Goolaerts and his untimely and tragic passing Sunday was a clear reminder of how fragile life is. For me, it showed how much we all need to embrace every day. I admire the courage his teammates had for riding for him today.

When it came to the race, the real notable part was the 3.5 laps on a 23-kilometer technical and tough circuit. A real Belgian sampler of cobbles, small roads, fast big roads and plenty of punchy climbs and directional changes! The climbs were just short enough that the bunch stayed ahead, but there were also plenty of guys just hanging on that never saw the front.

I was thankful and happy to be up in the mix, supporting BMC Racing Team's Belgian Dylan Teuns, who is in fine form heading into his big goal week of the season.

 

From a personal standpoint, it’s been exciting to see Dylan grow as a rider and leader over the past couple years. I was happy to give everything I had for him by covering attacks on the first couple laps and then going “all in” on the final lap when a dangerous group of eight riders slipped away. Dylan fought for a strong seventh place, and I think that undersells how great he’s currently riding. After today’s race, I have to admit that I’m a little bummed to be missing the Ardennes next week, but I’m looking forward to building for my next objectives--Tour of Yorkshire and Amgen Tour of California.

I know this is long but also of note! Today was my first race on disc brakes and I would say the bike performed well. It’s an interesting adjustment assimilating to a new brake system after years and years on rim brakes in a race scenario. It will take some time, but they definitely inspired confidence in the corners. The only real change we had to make was the plan if I needed a wheel change. Instead, we would swap a bike if it were an intense moment. Otherwise, the plan was to swap the wheel as our mechanics continue getting dialed and making it faster. I think we will see more and more disc brakes in the peloton, but our rim brake bikes are also top notch. Neither of these scenarios leaves a whole lot to be desired!

📷 Photo Sirotti Stefano

Stage 7 - Volta Ciclista a Catalunya

Quick little update on the final stage of the "Volta" Ciclista a Catalunya, A.E. Stage 7 definitely saw me emptying the tank. There were lots of crashes, attacks and exploding legs, including my own!Happy to be on the other end of it! I particularly dig the picture below because it has my ole buddy and teammate Amael Moinard hanging it out there with me. 

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Stage 6 - Volta Ciclista a Catalunya

Stage 6 of the "Volta" Ciclista a Catalunya, A.E. was an interesting one.  We woke up to falling snow with already a few accumulated inches. With the profile immediately going up a seven-kilometer climb where temps were well below freezing and even more snow on the roads, race organizers, teams and rider reps made the tough but safe call to transfer the start farther down the road. 

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This translated to a long morning with a couple hours in the bus and more waiting around, but that didn’t slow down the racing. These short starts are notorious for creating surprises and there were plenty of attacks from km 0. 

When two riders grabbed a bit of a gap, I think most of us thought they would be easily managed by teams with a sprint interest.  A climb midway through split the bunch and then some crosswind split it again. 

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We stayed up and in good position and were on the good end of all the splits. Most of us thought the two riders would be pulled back just in time, but once again it proved how exciting shorter stages can be. They stayed away for the win. 

It’s always a shame when a break stays away and BMC Racing Team doesn't have someone in there, but with only two riders staying away, obviously, there are a lot of teams feeling this way!  I was happy to stay relatively warm, thanks to a huge pile of great gear. My laundry bag was very full tonight-- winter shorts, knee warmers, shoe covers, base layer, arm warmers, jersey, vest, liberty jacket, Sturm Prinz rain jacket, cycling cap and neoprene gloves!

📷: Photo Gomez Sport

 

Stage 5 - Volta Ciclista a Catalunya

 

At 212 km, Stage 5 was the longest stage of this year's "Volta" Ciclista a Catalunya, A.E. and it was another mountainous day with three big climbs.

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All of BMC Racing Team was given the green light to try for the break after time gaps opened up following Stage 4. I could definitely feel some fatigue from yesterday’s big effort, and although I made a few attempts in the fast downhill start, I was happy to see my teammate Danilo get some daylight between him and the peloton in a strong group to keep him company.

Movistar once again exerted their cyborg-like control and kept the gap around 3 to 4 minutes, but they seemed ok with letting the break stay away if no other team wanted to close it down. There were a few strong teams who had missed the break, but I think many were discouraged knowing that if they closed the gap, Valverde would probably again take the win on the technical downhill finish with the final climb most likely thinning things out.

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There were some attacks over the final climb, which lifted the speed dramatically, and after a bonkers downhill (which included a five-kilometer tunnel where we averaged about 80 km/hour for 5 minutes), we caught Danilo’s group on the line as he sprinted to a solid fifth place.

I did my best to stay up front and find the balance between keeping myself in good position to sprint if it came back together but not taking anything too crazy through those final corners.

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I'm happy to be done with this long stage; another long one at almost 200 km tomorrow and it looks like it’s going to be a wet and cold one. Catalunya always proves to be a relentless week as there is no TT or shorter day to catch your breath. My two other races this season have included TTs and ended after five days, so hoping my body responds well. I am looking forward to bagging the added depth that comes from two more hard stages.

📷: Photo Gomez Sport

 

Stage 4 - Volta Ciclista a Catalunya

Stage 4 of the "Volta" Ciclista a Catalunya, A.E. was full-on racing into the big Pyrenees Mountains, which are still snowcovered. Fortunately, the sun was out, and the roads were mostly dry.

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Tejay and I did a recon of this stage last week, and it was helpful to know all the ups and downs ahead of time. Any stage when the breakaway hasn't gone after the first hour usually becomes an interminable fight. Everyone starts to get the feeling that the next attack could be the one that goes to the line.

I burnt some matches in the second hour making sure we were present in some dangerous splits and bigger groups before my BMC Racing Team teammate Joey finally slipped away with a few others and the home team Movistar calmed things down with their typical stunner stiff tempo.

Climbing the Col de Crueta for over 20 kilometers and into the snowfields was a big effort to stay with the lead group. It’s always mind-blowing how fast and long we can climb and how many guys are still there fighting. It really becomes a battle of wills for most of us while the top contenders comfortably tap away up the climb in relative comfort.

Joey did a big effort to get back to the front group over the top, so we had a full BMC American contingent going into the frantic downhill heading into the final climb. Valverde was up to his usual tricks and got away on the downhill, so Joey and I helped chase to keep Tejay in the game.

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We put Tejay in the best position possible going into the final climb and then it was lights out and game over for me after a ballistic first couple kilometers heading up to La Molina.

As a not so interesting but pretty vivid side note, I got whacked in the face by a musette and now I'm sporting a nice bloody swollen lip....

Tomorrow, we continue the high mountain stages into more unchartered territory. We head into the far northwest corner of Catalunya over a demanding 212 km. The morning will come too fast with an early 10 am start after having a comfy 1 pm roll out over the past few days.

I hid from the camera today but here is a glimpse at the day:
📷: ©GettyImages/©DavidRamos

 

Stage 3 - Volta Ciclista a Catalunya

The third stage of the "Volta" Ciclista a Catalunya, A.E. was a cold one, even with the altered route that kept us off the 2000-meter peaks and away from the alleged avalanche zones.

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It didn’t do much to tone down this pack of top-notch climbers who were obviously itching to get into some harder climbs.

I got to take on some of those familiar roads around Girona again, but I can definitely say it was the fastest I’ve ever descended off the Col de Bracons!

I didn’t feel as strong as I’d hoped over the final climb but managed to rejoin the front group a few kilometers before the finish. Then a big crash tossed some chaos into the final moments.

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Tomorrow’s stage will be a couple notches up from today’s regarding climbing and difficulty. Condition-wise, it will be another frigid one as we climb up to almost 2000 meters followed by a long downhill, which will likely include some icy, watery snow melt before a classic Catalunya finish at La Molina where the ski slopes are open and people will be looking at us wondering what in the world we are doing up there.

📷: Photo Gomez Sport

Stage 2 - Volta Ciclista a Catalunya

I have to admit, 11th place is tough. Being that close to top 10 but just outside of it. I keep telling myself that it could be worse....it could be 12th.

We kicked off Stage 2 of the "Volta" Ciclista a Catalunya, A.E. with some strong headwinds. Combine that with the fact we all know there are some extremely difficult mountain stages around the corner, and we kept a pretty slow pace for the first few hours.

Things ramped up and got a bit dicey when we hit the crosswinds in the second half of the stage, but the always bending and undulating roads were never the right combo to cause splits, especially considering the teams here are stacked with climbers.

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The final five-kilometer climb, which peaked 10 km before the finish, was a big effort on a wide sweeping road and I was once again reminded of the depth of the field at World Tour races. I was punching tickets of riders getting dropped for the final couple kilometers of the climb and digging deep to make it over with the front group.

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We planned to help my BMC teammate Danilo Wyss in the sprint, but after seeing he wasn’t there, I thought I could give it a try. A technical final few km had me regretting not studying the roadbook more closely this morning but in my defense, the racebook maps look like they were drawn by a kindergartner, so it ends up being basically virtual recon.

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I did my best to position myself and sprint and finished just outside the top 10 in 11th position. The next three days will be a massive load, especially with the frigid temps up in the Pyrenees. There’s talk of about rerouting some stages, but we haven’t heard any official word yet. Now that Spain’s favorite rider is leading the race, I’d say there is a better chance they'll decide to keep us slightly warmer and hopefully safer, but knowing Tejay is climbing great, I’m not sure how I feel about that.

📷 Photo Gomez Sport

Stage 1 - Volta Ciclista a Catalunya

The opening stage of the "Volta" Ciclista a Catalunya, A.E. was definitely enjoyable because it was a rare opportunity to race on some familiar roads around my European home in Girona. The spectacular coast sections are some of my favorites, and while we didn’t really have a chance to soak up the views, it's always nice to know where you are and what’s coming next.

Physically, the race rhythm took a bit of an adjustment after spending the past three weeks training. Fortunately, the profile and tactics were in line with this transition. But it only gets hillier, harder, and probably a lot colder from here, so I appreciate today as a good way to start.

📷 Photo Gomez Sport

Stage 5 - Abu Dhabi Tour

Today was the final stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour and we are bummed we didn't have Rohan bringing home the overall leader's jersey. Aside from just missing some legs on the final climb, there isn’t much we could have done differently.

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The first 190 kilometers were flat, but the race wasn't that straightforward. There was wind again. Super strong and always changing winds, so despite riding on the front the whole day, we still got swarmed when fighting for position.

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The boys rolling the front did an awesome job, and it was up to Damiano Caruso and me to be there for Rohan on the final climb.

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The pace during the first kilometers of the climb was downright savage and I was quickly over my head. I did my best to close a gap for Rohan when I saw guys in front of us starting to explode and after that, I was pretty much toast. I was disappointed I wasn't there for him longer, but that was the best I could do today.

I’m really looking forward to heading back to Girona, riding in some green mountains and hopefully continuing to build my condition.

But first, I have a brutal trip to get there. Already I've clocked almost five hours in the car and five hours on the bike today and my flight to Brussels leaves at 2:45am. From there, I have to recheck my bags to fly to Spain. ....

I have to say, a place races could improve would be streamlining the travel out so athletes can optimize recovery. Looking ahead, my next race is set to be Volta Catalunya, so check back for more race updates. Thanks for following along through this round!

📷 Photo Getty Images / Tim De Waele