Rider Diary

Rider diaries with Chris Hamilton

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Starting the sixth Grand Tour of his career, Chris Hamilton sat down and penned his thoughts from what has been a brilliant Vuelta a España for him and the team so far, including some insider tips on the art of the breakaway…

It’s my first time doing two Grand Tours in one year and so far it’s been pretty good, I would say – the more you do the more you get used to it and the racing! I came into the race to replace Jai so that meant I had less stress than I did for the Giro, as we were planning for that since January and I was really thinking about it a lot, whereas for the Vuelta it has been a more relaxed approach for me personally.

The atmosphere in the team is really nice here. Even without the wins I think it would still be the same.

Everyone is really motivated which is cool to be a part of. We’re all happy and organised during the stages, hunting those good results, and it’s all been good fun so far. The racing has been hard and the fights for the breakaways have notoriously been pretty intense. We’ve had some days where its taken 90 kilometres for it to go which hurts.

When there are a few of us that are targeting a day or really aiming to be in the break, then you have to be really careful with how you measure your energy and focusing the right moves. It’s all about being smart otherwise you end up burning yourself. If not you can be cooked by the time you get there.

I would say making the break can be a bit of an art form and I would say I’m still learning about how to do it smartly and efficiently. Some days it’s luck, some days it’s positioning, some days it goes straight away where other days it takes a few hours for it to go.

I think you just have to sometimes sit back a bit and watch the pattern of the bunch and see what riders and teams are trying to go in, or block the road and control the day, so it can take a bit of inside knowledge some days as well.

Personally I was really happy to get the podium on Sunday. Obviously the win is the ultimate goal but to get another podium in a Grand Tour for me is always going to be pretty special.

It gives me a bit more confidence because you can spend a lot of time trying to get into the break and not making it, or you sometimes have a bad day, so when you’re really in the race like that and able to make something out of it then it’s good for the head. Looking ahead, I’m expecting the final week to be pretty hard. In the region of Spain we’re in just now, there aren’t many flat or straight roads so it’s going to be a big battle to make the breakaways. I also think the GC teams will start trying a few things to try and crack each other.

There won’t be an easy day left now, especially with all of the steep climbs – anything can happen.

I hope you all enjoy watching the rest of the race,

Until next time,
Chris!