Matt Page and Melanie Alexander are racing in the Andalucia Bike Race and representing Bike Magic. Today they not only moved up the ranks in the mixed category but also had a great time riding bikes as the terrain took a turn towards more technical.
In the overall competition, Robert Mennen and Alban Lakata have taken the provisional lead as a team and were 1-2 as individuals today.. Full results from day three here.
Read Matt’s report from day two here and let Mel guide you through a day of fun riding below:
ANDALUCIA BIKE RACE STAGE 3
Words: Melanie Alexander
I am really enjoying Andalucia Bike Race. What I have really liked about the race so far is the varied terrain. Day one and two around Cordoba had interesting climbs and fantastic descents with the descents becoming trickier and the climbing steeper on day two. Definitely a lot of rocks, and plenty of singletrack. Today the terrain changed again and so did the location of the day’s race.
This morning we left Cordoba and drove for an hour to stage three race start and finish in Priego de Cordoba. It was a stunning drive with lots of olive trees and mountainous.Today’s stage
Today we had a great day of racing. We raced in second position for the whole stage and held it till the finish. In the process we managed to get a big enough lead on our main competition, Blue Motors Ponts 3 (who started the day with a four minute lead over us), to move up to 2nd in the overall general classification but with less than a minute separating us.
We started in pen 2 again and had a fantastic start. Today there was not a neutralised 5k around twisty streets instead we headed straight up a short hill and it was what we needed as we were able to hold a good position.The sections
I am not very good at remembering what we rode first and what came next but it went a little like this:
The first 20km was not technical but it was fast, mainly on fire road, a few small sections of single track and a bit of road. We were going well and holding our ground and it felt good. I particularly felt strong and as the weaker rider in the pair this was a huge bonus.
The climbing then started with a 30min stint up a twisty dirt road. I enjoy climbs like that especially when you feel strong; it’s a chance to just find a rhythm. Next we traversed along the top – it was a bit undulating before a long fantastic singletrack descent. Again there were lots of rocks and a few stream crossings. Other than Matt somersaulting over the bars we got down there pretty smoothly. It was so much fun, plus we managed to overtake quite a few riders along the way, gaining more space between us and the chasing mixed teams. I think that could have been the best descent of the race so far. At the bottom of this descent we had ridden 42kms and had another 28 to go yet still felt good.
We had a few more climbs, the next being the toughest at the bottom but it did ease off, and again we traversed along the top before another brilliant descent, which was over all too quickly. Then up and down again a few more times with a nasty climb right in the last 3km – definitely the toughest climb of the day.
On the line
The finish line is always a great sight. We knew we had done well and definitely enjoyed the riding today. I am so pleased with how we rode, we knew we had a chance of getting into second position but we needed everything to go well.
We still have three days of racing and we know the mixed pair Blue Motors Ponts 3 are strong on both the climbs and the descents. With less than a minute separating us it is going to continue to be a tough race to the end.
My bike worked brilliantly today so a huge thanks to Matt for spending 3 hours yesterday evening sorting it out, not the best recovery for him. Today with 10km to go it was Matt’s turn having chain problems, as he struggled to find a gear that the bike was happy to ride in. Luckily it didn’t slow us down too much. The problem was soon solved after the race as a split chain link was discovered (who knows how it was still clinging on together).
After the race we drove from Priego de Cordoba to our next apartment near Jaen – it is brilliant, big enough to sleep six with all the facilities you need and stunning views. I have been eating continuously all evening. I’m definitely fuelled up, just hope the legs want to work tomorrow.
More about Melanie Alexander.
More about Matt Page.
From the organisers (in perfect ‘Spanglish’):
“After two third places and intense fight in the previous stages, Austrian World Champion and teammate Mennen clinched victory today and took provisional leadership. Both Multivan-Merida lost more than 10 minutes.
Battle for victory in Andalucia Bike promises to be intense. After the three first stages, three teams have been turning themselves on top. Today, in Priego´s stage, winners were Austrian Alban Lakata and German Robert Mennen, who were the most regular ones until now and got every day into the podium.
Their hardest rivals, Multivan Merida Team members, suffered a lot of complications that made them to lose a lot of time.
Litscher and Cink, the young ones, suffered the consequences of their extra effort in stages 1 and 2, so they decided to “reserve” themselves a little bit, according to their own words, delaying 13 minutes in overall; while within Hermida and Van Houts couple, the problem was the injury Hermida got in yesterday´s stage, that made him suffer quite a lot during downhills. Their time loss, 19 minutes, might make them pay but “everything can change in Andalucia Bike Race”, according Hermida.
Therefore, today´s second place was for local Trujillo and teammate Fran Pérez who couldn´t get into the podium in their “home” stages (they are from Cordoba), but did so today in Priego de Córdoba.
After them, next Spanish were Milton Ramos and Raúl Serrano, who arrived to the finish before Markus Kaufmann and Jochen Kass, third; and Hannes Genze and Rupert Palmberger, who ended fourth.
In females, Sally Bigham and Milena Landtwing are consolidating leadership with each victory. Today, they signed the third one, and they accumulate a big advantage already ahead their closest rivals, Spanish Sandra Santanyes and Marga Fullana. Danish Rikke Kornvig and Helle Qvortrup were third today.
Annika Langvad and Thomas Bonne also consolidate their control of the Mixed category. Three victories in the three stages already celebrated guarantee it. After them, almost 25 minutes behind, Bikemagic Melanie Alexander and Matt Page, who seem to be adaptating quite well to themselves in their first participation together.
In Master 30, Spaniards Vicente Pla and Javier Cherro won today ahead category leaders, Tomas Misser and Pablo Egeda, also national riders, who crossed finish line with a 5 minutes gap and followed by Bicikultura team members, Carlos Molina y Gonzalo Orozco.
Spanish dominated today also in Master 40, category in which Manuel Gonzalo and Francesc Sabiote finished hardly a minute ahead Rothwell and White.
Tomorrow´s stage, fourth and totally new in Andalucía Bike Race, will take place between Bedmar and Mancha Real, to face 64,85 kilometers with 2.497 meters of total climbing.”