Don Benito- Copa de Espana

51st Del Curcuito Guadiana Don Benito

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On Saturday we took the 3 hour drive down to Don Benito for the first Copa de Espana (Cup of Spain) race of the season, the 51st Curcuit Guadiana Don Benito, a 170km flat race across the plains, on a circuit of 4 laps, with a climb of 15% on each lap.


I was pumping myself up when I woke up this morning – I was ready to race! The race was long and the climb was insane, incredibly steep… taking about 4 minutes from the bottom to the top..


The first lap was very fast, with a breakaway ahead already. I got caught behind the first big crash, with around 15 riders down and probably 40 riders at a standstill, but for me it was nothing serious, and I made my way back to the peloton.
The hardest part of the race was positioning. Every time when I went to the front, I quickly ended moving backwards, when all the riders wanted to get to the front. In the first 3 laps, the pace on the climb wasn’t that hard, we were going at a fairly steady pace. But on that climb there was a really narrow section where we almost came to a standstill, due to the many riders trying to squeeze into the gap!
The worst part of the climb was the false-flat at the top, before the start of the descent, where we had to give it all, basically sprinting to stay with the peloton.
The repetition goes on like this on every lap… easy on the flat, nothing happening, just re-hydrating (drinking) and carb-loading (eating food), then it was full-gas like hell on the climb and descent. Totally normal, and typical Spanish racing!


On the last lap I was fighting hard to get in a good position for the climb. It was as messy as hell, with everyone wanting to do the same thing. This time, I was giving out extra power on the climb to make sure that I stayed with the peloton. Brutal and ugly the climb was. The worst feeling is when you look up the hill ahead to see a much steeper climb, as it really ramps up, very much like going trough the torture chamber I think! I was pushing and grinding the gear as hard as I could.


When we reached the top where the false-flat section was, my legs were completely gone. I didn’t have any more power to produce! I was at the back of the first group (the peloton had split in two), and first there was a tiny gap, then it started to widen.

The gap wasn’t even that big when we were descending, I still believed I could catch the group, but the speed was fast. Then on the flat, as the teams put the hammer down, the group was hitting high speed, getting ready for the sprint. I was losing them, and then I got caught by the group of about 30 riders behind me, and we started to work together to catch the first group, but we didn’t catch them.


As we were getting nearer to the finish line it became obvious that there had been another crash, we could see a few of the riders lying on the floor in pain (One of Zappi’s riders looked like he was injured). I imagined it was a chaotic final 3km in the first group. I tried to compete in the sprint in the second group, but didn’t have legs for it, so I finished in the middle of the group of 30 riders, in 126th place, with all of the group coming in at the same time of 02.18 seconds behind the winning break, and 1.50 seconds behind the large first group of 90 riders. Total race distance: 170km, at an average speed of 42.5KM/h (26.5mph).

Obviously, it was a disappointing end to the race, as keeping contact with the first group near the end of the race would have produced a much different result for me. But nevertheless, it’s still very early season, so I’m still happy with my performance – and now I know which area of my ability that I need to improve in training. I’m already looking ahead for success.
Thanks for reading!



Race Results & Classification Sheet >>















































































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