The last stage of TOUR Transalp went from Valle del Chiese to Arco. At 70 kilometers, the shortest stage of this week. The shortest but not the easiest.
The finish was at 52.8 kilometers at the top of the Passo del Ballino. After that the riders could calmly descend towards Arco and enjoy the view. On paper it looked like an easy stage with the peloton able to warm up 20 kilometers after the start before the first climb.
However, appearances can be deceptive. Passo Daone was the first climb today and it was a tough one. 5 kilometers long with an average gradient of 11% with peaks of 15%, a kind of mini-Mortirolo. My legs felt good and yesterday's podium place gave a lot of morale. Team CycloWorld climbed hard and one by one we overtook our Belgian competitors. At the top of the Passo Daone we had a small lead with only the Danish team, the leaders in the standings, in front of us. After a wonderful descent, the Passo Duron immediately followed.
I was already dreaming of a second podium finish but that turned out to be a bit too early. In the descent the Belgians came back and from the foot of the climb five Belgians started to ride at a murderous pace. We had to do everything we could to stay with them until the last one dropped a small gap. We rode around it to catch the other four but it didn't work. We had to let them go. We went over the top into the descent and at the foot of the last short climb, Passo del Ballino, we could have reduced the gap again. However, the Belgians had noticed us. In the 2 kilometers to the top they rode away from us again. On the finish line they became two and three and we had to settle for fourth place with a gap of fifty seconds.
In a wonderful easy descent along the Lago di Tenno we let ourselves roll down towards Arco. In the general classification of the Grand Masters we finished in fourth place. This is above our expectations. It was a fantastic week with perfect organization. The food, the transportation of our luggage, the care, everything was arranged down to the last detail. In short, a wonderful event. Many thanks to our sponsor CycloWorld.cc who made it possible for us to participate in this TOUR.
Our CycloWorld colleague Luc Nouwen also put in a super performance. Despite a crash he became 9th in the Grand Senior category. By the way, you can find all the results here.
On to the next adventure!