This week we headed to Motilla de Palancar with a 2 ½ hour drive, for the Trofeo San Gil Abad. I had to get up at 5.30am to catch the 6am train to meet my team 10 minutes away. I slept for 30 minutes more in the car just to make sure that I had enough energy for the race. The course was 140km long with mostly on the flat and 2 climbs.
I knew that I had to be good after a 3 week break with no race. I was also praying that my bike would be perfect for the race, especially after all the recent mechanical problems. I totally tuned it up and made sure that it was all spot-on. In my last race I could have potentially finished in the top 10, but a loose saddle in the latter part of the race caused me problems, so I double-checked that there would be no repeat this week!
At the beginning of the race, it was all about gambling and perfect timing. We were constantly attacking to attempt to make a winning breakaway group. At one point I attacked and made a group which I thought would make it, but things didn’t work out, so when the peloton caught us, my teammate Ignacio and some other riders attacked, and they got away and made the winning group. I wanted to try and catch the group but it was pretty risky, as I didn’t want other riders to follow me when my team mate was already ahead in the break.
I stayed in the peloton to save my legs for later. When we reached the first 2km climb, the road surface was so bad that it felt like we were riding over cobblestones (pave), but it did suit me. I attacked from the bottom of the climb, and some other riders followed me. I looked back at the peloton and it was scattered apart. My team mate Pepe also attacked. I was up near the front when we reached the top, and I could feel that my legs were doing great, but I still had to stay smart for later.
When we got on the smooth tarmac, the road was so damn straight that you could see a breakaway group ahead, and also a killer drag climb. As I put in some more digs, I noticed that some of the other riders were tiring. Finally, I managed to breakaway with my team mate Pablo, and then we made a small group with 5 other riders. We were creating a gap and moving further away from the peloton, and it was all going well, but I was thinking ahead, so I shouted ‘Rapido! Rapido!’ to my companions, telling them to ride faster. In this situation on the flat straight, I knew that I was the strongest and I wanted them to suffer more!
In less than 10km in this chase break, one rider in our group attacked, so I joined him and we were working together well. The group behind us were running out of steam and were too tired to chase. With 3 km to go, we could see the lead group ahead of us, we were catching them, but there wasn’t enough time.
I went for the sprint in the last 500 metres to beat my breakaway companion and finished 12th, less than a minute behind the first group. Even though I was 12th, I wanted to punch the air when I crossed the line, as I was very happy with myself as I felt especially strong out there. After two months of frustration, now finding my performance again, I’m finally back in business!
Also a big congratulations to my team mate Ignancio who came 3rd, a fantastic result and a great day for the team. Also, after my successful result, I am now on the rider list for the next tour, the Vuelta a Galicia, with 5 days of racing huge mountains. It will be damn tough! But I’m looking forward to it!
Super happy with my result today, came 12th after having problem finding my performance since the crash. This is why I don't give up, I keep on fighting and fighting knowing I will succeed one day. Don't let anything let you down! By the way, a huge congrats to my teammate Ignacio who came 3rd, what a machine he is! #cycling #sport #competition #dontgiveup #awesome #race #suffer #race #Spain #friends #lucky #happy #lovinglife
Podium de la carrera, con Ignacio Zamanillo en tercera posición. pic.twitter.com/2sang6H8rC
— Pizzería Española (@EquipoPizzeria) September 4, 2016