After 2 days in the heat we were all hoping for some cool weather for the 159km third stage. Our prayers were answered but not in the politest of ways as it poured rain for the first 120km. Not the showers and sprinkles that we get in Brisbane but full on tropical monsoon rain. Sure it cooled things down, but it also made it impossible to see.
My glasses quickly fogged up so I could only see around ten metres ahead of me but when I took them off, huge drops of rain hitting my eyeballs at 50kph made it hard to keep them open.
Now I am normally a bit of a wuss when riding in the wet. I just don't trust that rock hard 23mm wide tyres are gonna hold onto slippery wet bitumen. Call me crazy. But when you add water with 160 riders going 50kph around corners and I am even worse!
I started well, attacking at the front but as soon as we hit some turns, I was shuffled to the back. It took all my energy and concentration just to fight for my position and and hold my line around the corners. Consequently, I was not in any attacks or chases!
Mart managed to get himself into a good break with the race leader and a few others and it was in his best interest to work together as team Terraganu had already taken the race lead by winning an earlier sprint. Despite this, he did not want to push the break. Meanwhile, in the peleton, Terraganu moved to the front and chased hard to bring the break back. And with 30km to go they succeeded. From here on in, there were a few surges but it was always going to come down to a bunch sprint.
The final km was nasty. At 1km to go there was a sharp right followed by another left turn with 200m to go. Everyone was fighting for position as we approached at full speed. Matthias arrived at the first corner near the front and was 4th wheel as they came out of the last corner. With 100m to go he was in 2nd place but the powerful malaysian sprinters flew past in the final metres to push him back to 6th. A few metres back, I crossed with the bunch, happy to stay upright in the chaotic finish.