Elevation gain: 2,892m
After a surprisingly rideable day one, day two presented a new challenge. Six climbs between 10-18% gradient, one of which was 6km long. The route planners also decided to put in a climb at the beginning of the stage and at the very end, which really tired you out at the beginning of the day and kills you off at the finish.
Today was a lot less flowing with plenty of hidden mud traps and some difficult Roman roads to deal with. This slowed down the majority of the field, but by the looks of things not the winner of the stage. The scenery today was very different. Still remote but we rode through more developed areas – compared to only seeing donkeys yesterday, today we saw the odd tractor!
Another highlight of the day to mention was a steep descent to the River Douro after 10km, with very technical trails and any error would mean a drop of 100ft. A large proportion of the field pushed this section to ensure they finished the stage in one piece.
Today was another great days racing, although I felt that now I am in a stage race whereas yesterday was less strenuous for me. Tomorrow is a big day even though it is only 90km long. I need to get good rest and food and let’s see what tomorrow brings.
1st: Luis Leao Pinto (POR) 4:40:16
2nd: Milan Spolc (CZE) 4:55:33
3rd: Tiago Silva (POR) 5:20:45