Distance : 132km
Elevation gain: 2,605m
Whilst today was by no means an easy day, following the last three days it was quicker and more manageable. We ended yesterday’s ride at the top of a ski resort which meant that to get to Ladoeiro, today’s destination, we would need to ascend the mountain – all 20km of trails meandering through forests with the occasional switchback and small climbs to deal with.
Once at the bottom of the mountain it was all about preserving energy and keeping the momentum going so that the riders could get to the end to begin the recovery process. There were four climbs today, only one that was complex and very steep. This climb was on an old Roman road again with big rocks, small steps and a gradient of between 15-20%.
Once at the top we were in Monsanto it was spectacular – 360 degree views, a cool breeze and a beautiful cobblestone village that attracts thousands of tourists a year. The decent out of Monsanto was the reverse of the climb into it, steep, rocky and quite technical. The first real casualty of this year’s race happened on this section, with one rider falling off and fracturing his wrist multiple times!
The 30km after Monsanto provided us with more amazing vistas of fields of blossoming flowers, small remote villages where locals pointed us in the right direction and mountain ranges in the distant – this is truly a stunning country and I will be returning to visit a few places we have been through.
The end of the stage (20km) was mostly on tar road with a tail wind, which was welcomed by all of us. Finally we ended up in Lodoeiro and again our bags were waiting in our rooms, post ride food was provided and the mechanics were hard at work.
I had a good start to the day but at about 40km I was searching for my second wind, which never came. That aside I still managed to finish strong and am now dealing with saddles sores that I have never seen before (even after using tubs of chamois cream)! Tomorrow is classified as one of the easier days as we make our way to Castelo De Vide – 103km and 2211m climbing.
1st: Luis Leao Pinto (POR) 5:08:40
2nd: Ricardo Melo (POR) 5:38:45
3rd: Marco Almeida (POR) 5:38:45
4th: Tiago Silva (POR) 5:38:45