Josh Ibbett reports from stage three of the Andalucía Bike Race.
The past two days have been a bit chaotic. On stage three on Tuesday was once again based from the hotel in Cordoba. The stage was the best so far.
It basically followed most of stage one backwards. The climbs which we were cursing on the first day turned into amazing descents. Today was the day that I felt Cait and myself really started to gel as a team. Cait was riding very impressively, clearing the technical climbs and riding the technical descents fast. We found that the best way to ride fast was for Cait to ride in front on the climbs and then I gave her a push to keep on the wheels in front when required.
We had set our goal of beating the womens leaders of Sally Bingham Christine Norgard. We kept with them for three-quarters of the stage and were even leading them for a while when Cait saw red on a descent and rode flat out. Unfortunately they were slightly stronger on the flatter sections of the course and pulled away towards the finish. Eventually we were about 5 minutes down but felt we put in a really good performance.
Yesterday was classed as a transfer stage. After a 6am start we were on buses by 7am and were transported to Priego de Cordoba an hour and a half away. At 10am we started the stage with the TV helicopter hovering above us as usual. The stage was not the most exciting stage. It started with a 10km fire road climb.
We rode strongly up the climb and were only 30seconds off the masters leaders at the top and ahead of the womens leaders. Unfortunately there was no technical descent for us to retain our advantage. We dropped down on fire road an onto a disused railway line where it turned into a road race. We were unable to catch the group in front and were stuck in no mans land for a long time.
The headwind was really strong and i was unable to push cait hard enough to keep up with the groups as they caught up with us. Eventually we settled into a group of about 20 riders, who all decided that they couldn’t be bothered to race. I sat on the front for the majority of the 80km of slightly uphill, headwind fire road. Needless to say my sense of humour was at breaking point by the time we hit the last 10km climb.
The final 10km were on really good tough singletrack. We were both shattered from the stage though so took it really easy trying not to crash. 5h30 later we finished, it was a tough day!
More tomorrow from Josh.