Tour of Qinghail Lake, 2012, Stage 12With today's second last stage it was the last chance for the GC contenders to race each other. It made for a very nervous stage and with the distance of 220km and the chance for crosswinds it made people quite edgy on the start line.
After an attacking start from the gun a small group escaped including a rider who was only 1.30min down on GC. As a result the break was never aloud more than 3mins. The bunch was once again controlled by the Iranian TPT team and the Italian Amore and Vita team. Luckily for the bunch it was a direct headwind the whole way, which meant the average speed was only 40km/h today instead of the usual 45km/h+.
It was actually quite a boring stage for a change, not much happened at all until about 20km to go when the yellow jersey was involved in a silly mix up. He didn't crash but he was delayed and that caused a bit of panic with the TPT team. A couple of the other teams tried to seize this opportunity but within 5kms everything was back together again.
But this did awaken the bunch and the attacks started once again. Nothing was going to stick though as the bunch was traveling at 55km/h or more coming into the finish. The team had grouped together for the finish and with 800m to go we were all together in the top 30 positions looking like we might get a nice finish. But with 600m to go there where 2 crashes within the top 20. Unfortunately causing everyone to brake hard to avoid crashing. So at the end of the day we are just happy not to loose skin.
So after a very long day, a 45km transfer to the start, a 220km race and then a 80km transfer to the next town. We can all finally relax a look forward to the 77km circuit race to finish off the tour.
Eddy's Garmin stats, 220km, 5hrs 26mins, average speed 40.3km/h, total ascent 1490m.