There’s nowhere to hide in a time trial – each rider battles alone – there are no tactics; riding as fast as possible from start to finish is all that matters. Starting from the picturesque Famara beach, where perfect lines of blue swell dissipate onto white sand, riders are sent off the start ramp – at one or two minute intervals – up a gravel track which is at times pretty bumpy. At approximately 20 minutes in, just when legs are starting to burn, a narrow, steep, loose singletrail adds an extra sting. A short series of rocky ascents and descents along a ridge overlooking Famara beach leads to the halfway point. From here onwards it’s a case of staying low, minimising the impact of the strong headwind, while climbing steadily towards the church in the distance marking the finish line at the summit.
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Chasing and catching people is what I like to do, it’s motivating and allows access to the last dregs of energy, but today I was the mouse: fast men (from higher in the GC) caught and past me playing with my mind: Am I riding hard enough? Am I going backwards? Was I faster last year? These thoughts must be pushed aside and replaced by positive ones: I feel strong today! Satisfyingly I was faster than last year, despite not having a carrot dangling in front of me – last year I was able to chase a fast female rider who set off ahead of me.
In the men’s race Simon Stiebjahn, the young Bulls rider, lost time to race leader, Sergio Mantecon, and consequently his second place in the GC. With the hardest stage to come – 80km over challenging terrain in the north of Lanzarote - it’ll be interesting to see if anyone can challenge Sergio for the overall lead. For me a comfortable lead doesn’t mean I’ll necessarily take it easier, but I will be aiming to stay out of trouble! Fingers crossed for one final day of good luck.
Sally Bigham 1:03:57
Sandra Santanyes 1:16:39
Mar Franco Penuela 1:20:25
Sergio Montecon Gutierrez 00:51:05
Tiago Ferreira 00:52:19