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