Volta a La Comunitat Valenciana

Stage 5 - Volta a La Comunitat Valenciana

Final stage and it started out wet, nasty and cold. The rain stopped falling from the sky, but the road spray made it feel like it was raining from the ground up.

As expected, there was the usual final stage desperation from teams with riders who were empty-handed so far at Volta a La Comunitat Valenciana - VCV.

My teammate Stefan Küng did a great job forcing a strong break of six. Towards the end, the roads proved to be very fast and open, and despite an awesome effort, Küng was caught heading into the final kilometers. We quickly switched to setting things up for my roommate this week, Jurgen.

We did the best we could to position him into the final kms, and he ultimately did some amazing self-positioning and technically savvy riding to launch a boss sprint to take the win.

From my end, I was happy to limit the shivering and wrap up this two-week block of training and racing with BMC Racing Team. It was fun to race with some of these classics guys, who I won’t see again for a few weeks.

I’m heading back to Girona tonight, which is a nice change. This is one of the very few races where I can travel by car! Next up--some recovery, training, and then back at it for the Abu Dhabi Tour in a couple of weeks.

📷 GettyImages/TDWSport

Stage 4 - Volta a La Comunitat Valenciana

Today was brutal. We had a super early start after a few late starts. I’d adjusted to the Spanish schedule, and then they threw a junior race start time at us!

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After yesterday’s stage win in the TTT, we were feeling good and ready to tackle the most demanding stage of this year’s Volta a La Comunitat Valenciana - VCV. We were met with windy conditions that yielded an especially aggressive and fast race for the first couple of hours. It was a nonstop fight to stay at the front and out of trouble.

When we reached the more mountainous portion of the stage, the pace was relentless in the group, which caused numerous splits and regroupings.

As we reached the base of the final climb, we had a fairly large field. BMC Racing Team’s powerhouses did an awesome job taking the front, but I was in 5th or 6th position and lost them in a roundabout. On the climb, the pace was ballistic, and I could tell right away that I didn't have the legs to go with the best climbers.

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I dug deep and gave everything I had. I committed a full effort all the way to the top. This race has a stacked field of great climbers, and after an extended period off, I'm satisfied with my effort and performance. I don't think I've done a day like today since June 2017 (Dauphine). There's no way to simulate an all-out effort on a final climb after 4.5 hours of demanding racing, so hopefully this will return benefits later this season.

We finished the day with Killian Frankiny taking the best young rider jersey, so massive congrats to my young teammate. He fought his way to a top 10 on an incredibly demanding day.

📷 Photo Gomez Sport/Velon

Stage 3 - Volta a La Comunitat Valenciana

We came to the Volta a La Comunitat Valenciana - VCV with today’s team time trial stage as a primary objective. We prepared well. We were focused and knew this effort set us up not only for this race but also for other goals later this season.

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When we woke up, the weather was super nasty and I’ll admit that the thought of doing an “all-in” TTT effort on an already technical course was extremely daunting. But a TTT is a controllable environment and the team decides where to take risks, which is different from a road stage when you are subject to the decisions of the 150 other riders around you.

On the bus and at the start, rumors were flying. As someone who has spent quite a bit of my career being a loud and public voice for safer race conditions, I respect the decision to not count today’s stage towards the GC, but I was very disappointed with how this decision was reached.

From what I know (again…could be rumors), it was a very limited number of riders who were asked to neutralize the race. In my opinion, it was a biased sample and only the riders with something to lose were consulted. In the future, I’d like the peloton to be better represented in decisions like this.

As we approached our start time, the roads started to dry up. We went into the stage aiming for our best ride possible but knew we didn’t want to take any unnecessary risks. I’m so proud of how our group executed our ride in those conditions, especially with all the added distractions. The effort was intense and we all definitely suffered, but it’s an honor to do it alongside this group of guys. They inspire me to contribute everything I can. It’s satisfying to be part of this win and a great way to start the season.

📷 Photo Gomez Sport

Stage 2 - Volta a La Comunitat Valenciana

Around 40 kilometers from the finish, today’s stage at the Volta a La Comunitat Valenciana - VCV exploded. There was a tough climb with some extremely steep pitches. It was both technically and physically demanding. I was happy to be in good position. The pace was high and when we were near the top, I looked around and saw there were only 15 or so riders with me. That bolstered me a bit.

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Then those guys took off. It was a really strong and bold move, and I wasn’t in position to follow them. Sky still had around 5 or so riders, so I thought it was a long shot they’d stay away. There was definitely a home court advantage with two Spaniards and the gap opened quick.

When we reached the flatter final 15-20 km, I contributed to the chase with the plan to set Greg up for a shot at the stage win. We had 5-6 guys trading pulls going all-in and we couldn’t shave much off the lead.

I was frustrated we weren’t able to give Greg a chance for the stage. I dug so deep chasing. It feels like so much wasted energy to commit to an effort like that and not have it work out.

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On a positive note, today was the first deep effort I’ve done in 5 months. With the caliber of climbers here, I’m pleased I made a strong selection and still had gas in the tank to chase hard.

Looking to tomorrow’s team time trial, 30 seconds is a lot to bring back on strong teams like Movistar and Astana. It’s a technical TTT, and without a doubt, it will be an extremely physically demanding 24 kilometers. I hope to recover well from today and make a substantial contribution to BMC Racing Team’s ride.

📷GomezSport

Stage 1 - Volta a La Comunitat Valenciana

First day of racing for the 2018 season and it went well. Thankfully the sun was out for Stage 1 of the Volta a La Comunitat Valenciana - VCV and I was excited to race. Being back in a big bunch of riders was definitely an adjustment, but today was about as smooth as it could go.

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The end got pretty messy with strong headwinds, roundabouts and speed bumps. Combine that with nearly 200 fresh, ambitious bike racers (and some that were a little delusional….) and things got sketchy. A few guys hit the deck, but I stayed safe and out of trouble.

As an added bonus, my roomie and new BMC Racing Team Belgian teammate Jürgen Roelandts notched a nice top three!

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Tomorrow will be a less predictable and more demanding day of racing with much more climbing including a tough climb about 30 km from the finish. I expect that will shake up the race and most likely narrow down the finishing group. It’ll be a good test at the end.

📷 credit: GomezSport