“Move up, move up”. The team’s radio can be a fascinating tool to get inside the team’s beating heart during a race. And today, the frequency quite often landed on stressed.
There, on the radio, you could hear the team’s Head Sports Director Oscar Guerrero, warning the riders to get into an ALERT MODE before a stretch of high crosswinds. He was anticipating every one of the attacks that were coming from teams Movistar and Ineos in their attempts break the peloton to pieces. Especially for our Dan Martin, who was sitting in his well-deserved but highly uncomfortable second place overall.
In theory, it was supposed to be an easy stage; but practice, it was far from it, as Dan Martin attested later:
“The threat of wind made the whole day stressful. I hate using my teammate’s energy like that, but today they did an amazing job, and I got to the finish feeling good – I felt safe with them all day. I was really nervous in the last 35 km, but we were always in the front.”
When the DS felt some riders need to wake up, he never hesitated to push them: “Where are you, OMER?” he called to the Israeli Omer Goldstein. “I know it’s not easy, but we need you up there, so give everything you have and move up to Dan!”
“It was quite stressful at times,” admitted the Israeli. “The speed was mind-boggling at times, and the stress takes a lot from you. But I was able to stay in control and help when needed.” Later, he showed us his data: he maintained an average of 48 km/h – with a max speed of 101km/h.
Dan was relieved that all went well in the end. “We achieved the goal of the day,” he said and credited Reto Hollenstein and the young Frenchman Alexis Renard, who stayed with him until the finish.
In the last kilometer, we were pleased to see our Estonian Mihkel Raim going for the sprint, sticking to rival sprinters’ wheels as the team could not use any resources to lead him out. He finished with an impressive 8th place.