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.
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.
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.
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.