Stage/Finish: Tortoreto Lido › Pesaro
Distance: 239 kilometers (flat)
Describing Stage 8 as another long one is getting redundant, but at 240 kilometers and six hours, the distance was influential in how we raced and the day’s outcome. It’s not every day that the entire peloton echoes my mood, but after yesterday’s rock ‘em sock ‘em, it seemed everyone was on the same page to not spend all six hours smashing each other.
A break of three quickly rolled away and was soon down to two as fellow American Nate brown realized a three-up break with sprinter’s teams controlling behind was futile. We rolled along the coast with low effort and relatively high speed for a couple of hours thanks to a nice tailwind. Around 140 km, we turned off onto more undulating and narrow roads, and things began to heat up and continued to crescendo all the way to the line.
I was back on duty with Jack B to keep Simon out of the scrum with a focus of doing it as effortlessly as possible ahead of tomorrow’s TT. The course became physically and technically more demanding in the final hour and thanks to some intermittent rain, we had some slick roads.
With a much-hyped downhill to the line, all the sprinter and GC teams were pushing for position and we spent a fair bit of time posted up on the left side next to whatever sprint teams were chasing. This cost a fair bit of energy but was the only way to ensure Simon was up front and not getting knocked around in the bunch. These Grand Tour fields require a huge amount of anticipation when it comes to positioning and today’s decisive point at 6-km to go where the downhill started would be about 40-50 km in the making in terms of positioning.
Once again, our team depth showed as we still had three good guys next to Simon as the downhill began and he safely crossed the line with the reduced bunch.
I’ve had my fill of six-hour and 4000-5000 calorie rides this week, so I’m definitely looking forward to tomorrow’s TT. I’ll still have to push a bit to stay safely in the time cut but will look to the day as a chance to hopefully let the body rebound from the past eight days.