The following is a blog entry from OPQS rider Carlos Verona about La Vuelta!
Good evening, my friends!
First of all let me apologize for not being able to update my blog yesterday. I planned to do it but the rest day went faster than expected and finished before I could do it. We had breakfast a little bit later than usual, covered about sixty kilometers on the bike and stopped for a while to have coffee, had lunch, massage and later in the afternoon we relaxed. We had dinner aligned with European schedule, chatted for a while with the staff and went to bed to have a good rest before today time trial.
You can imagine how happy we are today. The team's goal was to win the stage thanks to Tony Martin and also to have Rigoberto Urán gaining time in the overall ranking with respect to his rivals. The other riders had to take it easy because the Vuelta is far from being finished and a lot of job is waiting for us in the next days. Considering today result I believe it is impossible to wish something more. To take the first and the second place with Tony and Rigo and see our Colombian team-mate on the third place of the GC at less than one minute from the leader, that's just great!
And that's not all! We are lodged in a wonderful hotel located in Gorraiz, Pamplona. For sure we will drink a glass of champagne after dinner to celebrate the team double success. I believe a cake will also be on the menu to celebrate our sport director Tom Steels' birthday and who came here today to spend the day with us. The brilliant results we got today are no accident. In this team we really care for every detail. Each second is important. Just for today ITT, three more people came from Germany and Belgium to Borja to take special care of every aspect of the race. Staff working for our bike partner Specialized also travelled. Those people are incredible, taking care of everything. To work with them is a real luxury. Yesterday morning Tony Martin and our team managers took advantage of the rest day to go and see the course of the time trial and made a very detailed video so that all the other riders had an idea of the course. Yesterday night I and Rigoberto, instead of watching TV, watched the video the staff prepared so carefully.
This morning when we opened our mailbox we received a program detailed to the millimeter with meal times, training times, a list indicating which team manager and mechanic would follow every rider, and so on. We arrived in Borja at 11 AM because even if the majority of us did not start with the intention of getting a big result, we all went to inspect the course on the bike. It is a good thing for the body to train a little bit in the morning before a time trial and for sure to know how the course looks like is also very helpful. We were all in good spirits while coming back to the bus after training. We knew Tony and Rigoberto were both favourites for the race! We took a shower, had a light meal -rice and omelet- and focused on our race. To relax, to warm up and to give it all!
Personnally I took it rather easy today because I knew I had to save energy to be able to help Uran the next days when he will require my support; we can indeed say that we will be fighting for the very first position. It is not a secret that I am feeling very happy for Rigoberto because things did not go as smoothly as expected for him in the first week but he never lost faith and remained focused on the time trial. And there he is! It is one more proof that if you want to win the first thing you have to do is to trust yourself. Rigo does and we also trust him.
Impossible to feel more motivated in this Vuelta and tomorrow we will try to storm San Miguel de Aralar!
Greetings from one of my favourite cities in the world!