The morning of the 3rd stage I woke exhausted and was pretty sure today would be a long one. My goal was to defend my third place on the climber classification and try to gain time on the third place in the general classification.
Today the first timed climb was a small col de la madone climb in Italy of 6k at 10%. We attacked it completely cold with virtually no warm up. The rider directly behind me in the classification went hard so I did too. I ended up gaining another 20 seconds on him, but I definitely went too far into the red for it.
After a short descent and some valley we came to the green jersey sprint section. During the first couple of stages we all became friends with Nicolai from Denmark. As he was now wearing the green jersey we decided to help him keep it.
The sprint section is basically a flat or rolling hill section of around 1.5k. I decided to do initial lead out as I was certainly the weakest sprint. I reached max speed just before the start and held it for a whopping 300 m or so. Then it was up to Benoit to ride with him until the final uphill finish. Result was good he won by several second over the 2nd place. That was great, but I could also tell the legs were getting worse.
In just another 10k we reached the start of col de la Lombard which would take us to 2300m and into France. Within the first kilometer I knew it would be a terrible climb for me. I could only watch as my closest competitors rode away from and out of sight. I lost 10 minutes to the rider behind me in gc and dropped from 4th to 5th on the gc. In the end I was just glad it was over. And one can only hope that this slightly shorter stage of 100k would allow me to recover better for tomorrow’s time trial up to the highest paved road in Europe le col de la bonette