With 3 climbs in the first 20km and in driving rain the bunch splitting to pieces was a certainty. I simply tried to stay as close to the front as possible for the first two short climbs and decents and save as much energy as possible for the longer 3rd climb. On this climb astana forced a pretty tuff pace so sat in behind thinking that behind the group was shrinking, sure enough at the top the group was about 50 strong and this was the peleton for the next 180km. Following the climb attacks went continuously for the next 80km untill finally i broke free with 7 other riders to form a breakaway. At one point we got out to two min but with the rain wind and hard bumby rds we could not break the bunch chasing and were gobbled up 20km from the finish setting up the bunch sprint. Here i led out my team mate francesco belloti whom also made the front group and although he finished 13th which propelled him to 4th on gc he was later penalised 20sec for taking a drink energy gel inside 20km to go so in the end was not as great a day for our team as i could have been. He should have just asked me for a gel as every 5km while i was in the break our director sportif kept handing me gels and food from the car encouraging me to eat more due to the hard stage and as a result i had about 15gels in my pocket by the finish!
All in all i was happy with my performance, i had an objective and got most of the way to accomplishing it. Unfortunately i dont feel as powerfull as i would like on the flat rds in comparison to the long climbs but i guess this is a reflection on my limited racing thus for this season, this should all change over the coming weeks as i race, recover and i hope get stronger and hopfully can start to feel how i want to feel in the races. I will get there.
Tomorrow is another long one so i hope it is as hard as it was today, i seem to enjoy these days more than the regulation sprint days as they are a bit more exciting and you need to stay on your toes. All in all an exciting day in turkey
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device