11 Juli 2019
The Tourist, Simon Clarke's diary, Ep.4
The plan today was a two-pronged approach – I was tasked with getting in the breakaway and Bettiol would handle the sprint. The idea was that I would get up the road to make sure we were present in the breakaway in the event it went to the line. Obviously it was a slim chance and in the end it didn’t work out, but the plan was to divide the responsibility like that, so that we were covered for either race situation. It would have been quite unfortunate, obviously, if we had banked on the sprint and then the breakaway won. It was good to be in the break, to give myself that opportunity.
It wasn’t easy to get away today. There was quite a fair bit of interest to get into the break. There’s was a lot of jostling for position before the escape finally went. Fortunately I picked the right one, after about 30-kilometers, and we got away. The cooperation was really good. We chatted a bit. The peloton kept us on a very short leash, so we didn’t push too hard. We waited until late in the stage before we really tried to start pulling.
Today wasn’t straightforward at all with the climbs. That puts off certain teams from committing to a sprint, but obviously with the likes of Sagan and Matthews, there was still going to be an interest in bringing us back, especially at this stage in the race. I think we would have seen a different outcome later in the race, in week two or three, but in week one, we always knew our chances for success would be small.
Today was a success because it’s another day ticked off without any mishaps, without any lost time. Rigo is still there, still plugging away. It’s perfect. We’re looking forward to the hilltop finish tomorrow.