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By Michael Barry – Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team
My roommate, Tom Danielson had a fantastic ride and moved himself up into the top five overall. He is a great time trialist but an even better climber so he is motivated for the coming days. Both of us have been sweating up a storm the last 24 hours as our hotel has no air conditioning and gets direct sunlight for most of the day. We have the door and the windows open to try and get a breeze through the room but it doesn’t seem to be doing much other than attracting the tourists to our room who have no qualms about coming in and saying “hello.”
The highlight of the time in Lloret has definitely been spending time with Dede and Liam. Dede had her own room last night but the tiles were falling off the ceiling and there was a puddle of water in the center of the room. She asked for another room but there were none available as the town is completely packed with vacationers. The team is happy with the results today as Leif, Tom and Triki were in the first twenty and I was just a few seconds out in 26th. Leif and I both suffered from back pain in the last half of the course from pushing so hard on the pedals in the aero position-it was frustrating as neither of us could pedal with 100 percent of our energy as we were both in pain with discomfort. I caught Lampre’s Gerrit Glomser, my minute man, 13 km into the race and he sat on my wheel the rest of the way around. Now, a lot of riders do this and they are handed time penalties if they are seen drafting but often they are not caught in the act. For the rider in front it is frustrating as it breaks your focus when you sense another rider is right on the wheel, you see him in your draft, hear him shift gears and breathing hard. The most annoying thing for me today was to have the rider sit in for 30 km and then sprint by me at the top of the last ascent completely breaking my rhythm. The organization placed pylons in road blocking half of the lane to the race while leaving the other half open to traffic going in the same direction as the race. This was a bad idea as it was quite easy for riders to draft off of cars that were passing. Also, we were told to stay on the proper side of the pylons but many riders cut the corners by going on the inside gaining significant advantages. This was most evident when Heras was racing as the camera was on him all the time and he virtually cut every corner.
As it turns out, Heras was penalized 10 seconds by the commissaires, which is what I got, too, apparently for taking one of the corners too tight. What bothers me is that Glomser sat like a foot off of my wheel for 35 kilometers and he got 10 seconds, too! I go full gas and get penalized the same amount as a guy who does half the effort. Well, as they say, that’s bike racing and it is, after all, only 10 seconds. I would like to say that I am going to kick back in my room and relax and then have a nice dinner tonight but I just don’t think that is going to happen at this hotel. I hate to complain but when you’re in the middle of a month-long excursion around a country on your bike good hotels and good food are something that becomes a priority and real luxury when they are nice. Thankfully, we can always guarantee we will have some good pasta or risotto, as Chef Willy is the “king of the carbohydrate.