In His Own Words: Leigh Howard on Tour de San Luis Stage 3

Thu 24 Jan 2013

The third stage of the Tour de San Luis was expected to bring the overall contenders to fore. With a category one climb in the middle of the race followed by a summit finish, stage three set the scene for the first uphill battle. Leigh Howard, having shown his strength in the sprints on the first two stages, hoped to support his teammate’s efforts today. He checked in from the race hotel to tell you about his day.

It was a hard start today. There was a large group that got away early on that had about 25 riders in it. Michael Albasini represented ORICA-GreenEDGE in the move. We were happy with the group because Alba is an expert when it comes to riding away from a breakaway. Unfortunately, the peloton was not as happy as we were with move’s composition, and they brought it back after about 40 minutes of racing. Another smaller group went away after that, and those guys were the main break of the day.

We faced a big mountain in the middle of the stage. The climb put a lot of people into difficulties. It was bloody hot out there today, and the heat was draining. Luckily, most of us were feeling fairly reasonable. Christian Meier was having a tough time today. The original plan had been to keep him up on the overall. After today, that’s not an option, so we’re back to focusing on stage wins.

From the mid-stage climb, we took on a fast descent than a flat stretch of road before the summit finish. The peloton chased down the breakaway and caught them just before the final climb. There were counter-attacks up the summit finish, but I had lost contact with the front at that point, so I’m not really sure how things unfolded up ahead. Pieter Weening was our top finisher in 28th place, 1:51 down on stage winner and new race leader Alex Diniz (Funvic Brasilinvest).

We’re looking forward to seeing how Svein Tuft goes on the stage four time trial tomorrow. He’s definitely up for a good race.  Watching him during the stage today, I could tell he’s feeling really good. He was able to climb near the front during the mid-stage mountain, and that’s good indication that he has the condition he needs for a strong results tomorrow. He’s motivated to get a good result, so hopefully we’ll see him on the podium.