In His Own Words: Leigh Howard on Vuelta Burgos Stage Four

Sat 10 Aug 2013

On the heels of his back-to-back wins in Burgos, Jens Keukeleire withdrew from the Spanish tour, leaving Leigh Howard as the last wheel in the ORICA-GreenEDGE sprint train. Although Howard called the day one of the easier stages of the five day race, the finish was full of obstacles. Howard was the first to open the sprint into Santa Domingo de Silos and the eighth rider across the line. In his own words, he describes his day.

It was a pretty easy day for the most of the stage. A break of four guys went early, and we sent Christian Meier to the front to help with the chase work after the first hour of racing. That was his main job today.

Fumy [Beppu] looked after Mitch and me and in the last 30-40km after the break was coming back to the bunch. Alby [Allan Davis] took over from Fumy at the finish. We saved Daniel Teklehaimanot for tomorrow as much as we possibly could. Everyone had their bit, and they all followed through perfectly.

Mitch and Allan gave me an unbelievable lead-out in the bunch sprint. It was really disappointing not to have the legs in the final. It was one of the sprints where if it had been flat, I would have been across the line first, but with the uphill kick at the end, I just ran out of legs.

It was a very technical finish with three turns in the last turns in the last half-kilometre. The finish was uphill out of the last turn. I knew it was the sort of sprint where I wanted to open from a bit further back. Allan started the lead out around 600m, and Mitch took me to 250m. I started the sprint from there. I was the first to open and led the race until I died  50-75m from the line. I got overtaken by a bunch of guys in the end.

I didn’t see what happened with Daniele Ratto (Cannondale). I only heard later that he was relegated and Anthony Roux ( awarded the race. As for me, I was eighth across the line but bumped up to seventh place after Ratto’s relegation.