This worked well for us as they took the next 20-30km to bring back the break and definitely eating into there strength as they lost two of the riders in doing so. After the break was caught the attacks kept coming. After some encouragement to " GET OFF THE FRONT" by some team mates I sat around 3rd or 4th wheel just managing moves, keeping them under control and didn't allow anything to get way. This stage became taxing over the hills and I found myself dropping off each lap over both of them and constantly working to catch the bunch on the descents and across the flats.
There were moments I saw expressions on faces that are not natural, I recall one of these, it was during an attack by another one of the teams, I looked across at Matt and his expression painted a dark picture, the hurt I was feeling was about to increase he wanted that attacked squashed so back to the front I go keeping the bunch all together.
Final lap, Matt and I knew what had to be done, but knowing and doing are sometimes polar opposites and with approx 10ks to go there was a hill that broke the bunch up, my main concern was two fold, Chris in 2nd and Steve in 3rd . We are approaching the final KOM both Matt and are pretty spent, I recall saying to Chris as he rolled past me " Sorry mate see ya at the end" Chris responded "keep pushing we need you guys there at the end". Well as the bunch splintered on the climb Matt and I were spat out the back, this is not good and Chris's comment is ringing around in my head. As we crest the climb we can see the bunch about 1k off in the distance, fortunately the downhill favours me alot better and Matt and I work hard to catch the vehicle convoy and start jumping from car to car and then eventually onto the back of the bunch, but we are so close to the finish line there is no time to recover. Matt goes straight to Chris and supports him while I head up to the front and slot in front of Steve to provide some cover for him.The pace is now heating up and individual attacks come thick and fast, its nearly over I just have to hold these wheel for another 1k and then give Steve a lead out.I manage somewhat of a lead out for Steve but it ends up being a little early and Steve gets caught just before the line, this gives him second for the stage.
Congrats to Chris capitalising on all opportunities and Team Mainline Racing
"Opportunity is missed by most because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."
2nd and 3rd on GC for the overall tour - 1 stage win , 2 seconds , a number of sprint points and a great weekend away racing with the boys.