Today Andalucía Bike Race passed its halfway point, celebrated with one of the hardest stages.
75 kilometers and 3.071 meters of climbing challenged the 704 participants. Today was the last start from Jaen, as tomorrow the stage will take its start and finish in Mancha Real.
Tiago Oliveira and David Rosa, from the Selección Portuguesa Team, are taking part in this race for the first time as a pair and after having demonstrated their good form in the two previous stages with two second places, today they finally clinched stage victory, and took over the leaders jersey.
Extremadura MTB, Pedro Romero and Luis Leao Pinto, who were leaders until today, had a wheel broken and lost some time, but confessed they will “not surrender” and will “fight even more”. Second position today went to the Swiss Stöckli team, while Alban Lakata and Kristian Hynek of Topeak Ergon were third.
Milena Landtwing and Ester Süss got another stage victory today, ahead Claudia Galicia and Tanja Zakelj. After them, Belgians Michiels and Girard were third.
We are very lucky to have John Newport from photography company Vermont Images travel with us to many events. He does all that he can including rallying the Vauxhall Vivaro van to as many feed zones as possible. Having guest ridden for the Topeak Ergon Team last year I know the difference having a large support crew makes, for the riders to recover as best as possible all they should be doing is racing. At this event Topeak Ergon have 4 members of staff to look after 4 riders. We caught up with Torsten Walter to see what his day consists of. Hopefully the team remembered it was Torsten’s birthday and bought him a cake.
The Mountain Trax – Vauxhall Motors Cycling Team had a much better day today finishing up in 20th place which should move us up in the general classification several places. Moving from a 34 tooth chainring to a 32 certainly helped, it allowed me to find my rhythm, something i’ve missed on the steeper climbs the last few days. As usual Dylan was still stronger at times but we were much better matched today and this allowed us to work better as a pair. Hopefully this will continue on stage 4.
Yesterday’s leaders from the Extremadura MTB Team werent the only riders to run into trouble today. Swiss Stockli team dropped a chain very early on which left Mathias Fluckiger at a stand still whilst the race stormed on by, they recovered well to still finish on the podium. Both Multivan Merida punctured on the same descent, are light weight inner tubes really a better idea than tubeless? Hermida and Van-Houts caught us with just 10 kilometres to go, we latched on to the fast moving train until 1km to go when the legs couldn’t take the pace anymore. Was good fun whilst it lasted.
Tomorrow’s stage is a transition stage starting and finishing in Mancha Real before moving to Cordoba for the final 2 days. Tomorrow is a short 50 kilometre stage with 2017 metres of climbing.