Friday, March 4, 2011

Vuelta continued - Stage 3 & 4

Stage 3 saw us going back to Santo Domingo mainly through the countryside and then a bit on the beach-front road with a finish at the Faro a Colon, the monument where part of Christopher Columbus' remains are being stored. It's a giant concrete building which was finished in 1992 as part of the 500-year anniversary of the discovery of the New World. The stage was not too exciting, USA U23 controlled the front and no break got anywhere and it ended up being a field sprint. It was also the longest stage with close to 170km. Nate had a bad wreck and I got to see everything right next to me but that kid just bounces back and back and finished the race just a minute down even though his chin required stitches after landing face first on the tarmac. Zach learned how to pace int he caravan (and behind it) today....well done!

Kolt after Stage 3, Faro a Colon

Stage 4 was a 135km leg from Santo Domingo's Velodrome towards the inner country - to San Francisco de Marcoris to be exact. As far as I remember, that was a stage my teammate Rene Obst won back in 2001. The stage profile was a bit more rolling hills today but nothing spectacular. A group of 5 or 7 got away early and by the time we go to the highest point of the stage we caught them thanks to Venezuela and Colombia driving the pace on the 4-6% steep highway road going 26, 27mph. Wade & I made a front split of about 60(?) guys. Venezuela took it in the gutter for the last 30km of wind-exposed roads into town but it was okay to just sit in there. Ended up 27th or so on the day after a very exciting and dangerous finish with a nice 90degree left turn with 300(!)m to go. Of course, a crash in the last 500m was there, too but luckily that was behind me. After lunch, we rode our bikes on dirt roads to our hotel - trying to avoid 10ft deep manholes...I think someone just stole the steel covers! To our surprise, at the end of the dirt road was a nice resort/hotel!

post-stage 4 housing

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