From the peloton....Day Six

An Post Rás Diary – Stage 6

The hilliest of all the stages of the race, with a whopping 7 categorised climbs on the course, and plenty of heated wind to hurt every man in the field. The stage started as every Rás stage does, incredibly fast. Every stage I’ve been in so far there has been a crash, and I saw a real nasty one today, two riders hit against each other, one headed for the ditch, the other into the air and landed on his back side and slid for about 10 meters, it must have felt like an eternity for him. I saw the crash on the edge of my eye, about 2 meters away from me, we were going about 60 kmph. Anyway, back to the stage. I felt good during the stage, and when we hit the main climb of the day, the fearsome Glengesh, I felt good and pressed on. I got into a rhythm, and found myself in a strong group of riders.

The Australian team tore the race to pieces on the climb, and Cameron Meyer (winner of grand tour stages and former world champion ) was clearly in good form, dancing away on the peddles. We descended off Glengesh, and I was with some top riders, but on one of the sharp bends, I overcooked it and on the heated, slippery tarmac I lost about 10 meters within seconds. I was marginally behind the leaders but never got back to them. The professional teams were on the front driving the race. I was never going to get them back, as I myself would need to go faster than 2 or 3 pro teams, which was mission impossible.

I missed the small front bunch, and settled into the second group on the day, where I finished. The French rocket Yannis Yssaad won the stage. I was a bit disappointed about where I finished, but happy with how I was climbing. My legs suffered today, the pain you have to endeavour in this sport is brutal. You can be in a phase of the race that it feels like you constantly sprinting, for 3 or 4 hours. Cycling is all about how you handle pain, and if you we’re to give up, your race is over, you just have to delay stopping until the finish line. 4 riders missed the time cut off today and are now out of the race, which highlights its toughness. Stage 7 is a 167 kilometre stage from Donegal town all the way down to Adree. I think wind will be a big factor on this day.

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