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.