By Antonio Cruz, U.S. Postal Service Cycling Team
Today was an early start to the day by Spanish standards with an 8am wake up and 9am team ride to preview the TT course. I felt a little odd this morning with an upset stomach. I’m not sure if it was from something that I ate last night or just nerves. A lot of people turned out today to watch stage 1 lining the course from start to finish.
The course itself was very technical with a minimum of 15 turns, many of them narrow or tight after the apex. I came off the start ramp ready for a good ride repeating in my head, “Seize the day.” I accelerated quickly with my heart rate at 170, which is where I left of at on the trainer. My first turn was a little to close for comfort nearly catching a pedal on the support rods that hold up the boards along the course.
I immediately thought about stage 2 and making sure I was there and not in the hotel nursing an injury. The first two thirds of the race were going very good and I had Johan (team director), in my ear telling me that I’m doing very well and was about on pace with Victor Pena’s time, which really got me motivated and I started to give the pedals a little more gas. The first climb was a kilometer away and I decided to back off a little and punch it over the climb.
I swept the next roundabout smoothly and started up the next climb. I stood up ready to go but I could feel there was a lack of power. At the midway point of the climb it stair stepped. I tried shifting up and increasing my speed but the power wasn’t there. I spent the next 3.5 kilometers trying to find a gear was comfortable and keep a respectable speed going to finish.
I finished 123rd, 1:33 behind Millar. I’ve hardly been one to come outguns blazing in the first stage of any stage race so I’m not worried. The true objective for me and my teammates in the Vuelta is to help make Roberto a champion here for the second consecutive year. The sight that stands out in my mind today is that of the Americans that cheered for their home team. They really make a difference. Thanks! Weight:64 kilos
Pre race meal: bread, fruit, pasta, and eggs.
Warm up: 1hr. 20 min.
Heart rate :
170 at start