By Antonio Cruz, U.S. Postal Service professional cycling team
My apologies for not having any reports for the last few days. Due to the tragedy in New York and the spotty phone and Internet service that followed, my agent – who lives about a mile away from the World Trade Center – was unable to consistently reach me.
I will be filing a catch up report tomorrow along with the daily report.
Yesterday was the last day before the rest day. The peloton was definitely not ready to rest quite yet. We set a record time of around 55km an hour!
The day was extremely windy and everyone — including our team — seemed to be on the attack, hoping to split up the field. Johan wanted us to attack at a certain point going through a village. There was a small problem in execution, as some of the team went to the front and threw it in the gutter, while some of us were stuck in the back.
Most of the team made the split including Levi and Roberto but I got stuck in the second group. Johan was screaming at us on the radio but at that point there was not much anyone could do. We were not the only ones with this idea, as several teams kept the pressure on causing dozens of riders to come off the back of the first group.
The pressure was non-stop and the pace blistering. Fortunately by the end of the stage I lost less than a minute and Levi and Roberto both stayed in the first group and didn’t lose any time.
The next few days in the Pyrenees should be very challenging but I am feeling stronger with every day of racing. The team still feels that Roberto can win this race. At this point, everyone knows the Vuelta is still wide open.