The forth and fifth stages – A fresh start for a new day.
The stage on Tuesday saw Alban Lakata (Austria) and Thomas Nicke (Germany) freed from the frustration of the previous days.  Without problem, the riders covered the 73km and 2000m of climbing.  No punctures, no issues.  “We finished 16th, and for me, that is a good result –  this race is so tough.”

The stage on Tuesday was short, at only 73km, but not a shred easier.  The course followed a path over sun baked and dusty terrain.  The whole day is about dust – lots of dust.  Another key feature is the kilometres of hike-a-bike.  The weather however has cooled off slightly, and the days 25 degrees allowed the riders some respite.

Rock n Roll
The team has not yet achieved what it set out to do, but it is getting there.  The finish today saw them take seventh, their best result yet.  In the overall classification they are in 12th place, just 13minutes off 10th position.  A top ten is still in their sights.  “Everyday it seems to get a little better, but also a little worse!  Tomorrow we will attack once more.  Top ten is our aim!” Nicke admitted, having been told about the classification.  That the course conditions cannot be predicted is the challenge for Alban “You are riding in a large group in really difficult terrain.  The rocks, the size of baby heads, are what you have to avoid.  If you hit one it most likely means a flat”.  That said, the problems of the first few days seem to be behind them, and the team is in good spirits.  “We have kind of got used to the relentlessness of it” Thomas said “I have found my race rhythm.  It is a good thing too.  There are still three stages to go.


Tomorrow will see the riders taking on 111km and 2233m of climbing – another difficult day.  30km before the finish there are three long climbs awaiting the guys in green.  It will be here that their top ten in the overall will be decided.


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