26 Lug 2018
The TOURist, Simon Clarke's diary. Ep. 11
Today was a solid day. I think there was a lot more hype and people were a lot more worried about hard it was going to be compared to how hard it actually was. They increased the time limit to higher than normal, so there was no issue with people getting eliminated. It was just a matter of getting through.
Obviously it was a very hard start, especially for anyone that wanted to keep contact with the front group for at least the first climb. It was digging deep there.
It was an interesting test to run this type of race. It will be interesting to see if they thought it was a success or not and if it’s something they’ll continue to do. For me, the whole grid start was a little less influential than they may have thought – starting straight up a climb like that, there was not much chance that the GC would go straight out of the hole anyway.
(About motivation) Just try to make sure you’re in a comfortable position in respect to the time limit. If you can stay in the bunch for as long as possible, that always helps. In terms of mindset, keep telling yourself that everyone else has 16 stages of Tour de France in their legs as well as you. If you’re starting to hurt a little bit, everyone else is probably hurting, too. That’s what goes through my head anyway.
It was a good day with Dani and Pierre having a go up the front. For the rest of us, it was about survival – and we all survived.