Rioja and Pais Vasco
April 13, 2015  

Supplied by DarylImpey Administrator from DarylImpey

A great week for the team and I
I'd call this a pretty successful week of racing in Spain. It started out with a 1,2 in Rioja with Caleb winning and me placing 2nd after a great lead out from the entire team.  Then with no rest day in between we headed north to Pais Vasco, one of the hardest races on the calendar. I have always had success in this race and it's always special coming back to a race where you have fond memories.

We won a stage (Michael Matthews) and had the lead for 2 days , our youngster Simon Yates won the best young rider and finished a very impressive 5th overall. Now , 5th overall isn't a podium but let me remind you all that he is just 22 years old and this guy is climbing with the best in the world. Now that's something to get excited about . I wouldn't be surprised if he won something big in the next 2 weeks. To be up there with all the big boys , in a race of such importance is a huge achievement.

As far as I am going , I really got the hard work done and got through Pais Vasco better than expected and it is a good sign especially with the racing coming up. This race challenges you in every way and pushes you to your limits and the quality of the field is so high with the best climbers and their domestiques preferring the hilly Basque Country. I had some days where I suffered but then again I had some days that went really well. Unfortunately , our time of winning the stage in Vittoria Gasteiz came to and end this year but next year we will be back for more . 

It's an unwritten rule in the team but after a hard race this , a Chuleton steak is a nice reward at one of our favourite restaurants in Bilbao, and it didn't disappoin and is one of my recommendations should you ever get the chance to visit the Basque Country. What a great week of racing and now let's hope I can put the final touches on my condition for a good result in Amstel Gold and Liege Baston Liege.