It started out as a very relaxed peleoton of about 20 cyclists..,.

going into Tupiza along riverbed
going into Tupiza along riverbed
maintenace in Tupiza
maintenace in Tupiza
I had just remarked to the cyclist next to me that I was curious as what would happen since it was a timed stage to the lunch truck between 50 and 60 km away.

At about 20 Km Patrick shot by, someone else broke away and I followed the chase. I ended up in front and split off but the line and they sped up causing me to miss the draft. The same thing happened to Alfred. I later learned that the group from the Netherlands had planned it that way so that Patrick was uld have a better chance of winning. That’s racing. And it worked.

From blogs of Michelle and Terry:

Michelle’s and Terry’s blog which ties into your post. Love the racing tactics – just like the tour…
I know the internet is slow there, so I don’t know if you see their postings or not

Michelle –
Patrick is leaving us in a few days time in Salta and there is whispers in the peloton that they are going to try and let Patrick win the stage today but this will be getting the better of James. Much to my surprise, James is riding in the pack today, he is tired. I have never seen in him in the pack (but that doesn’t mean much as normally not with this group anyway). I find the tactics amusing and interesting as I have never been exposed to such things before. Patrick drops right back to the very back of the twenty odd person group. Rein, James, Alfred, the strong riders are at the front. Deidrick who only cares about winning is in the middle. Joost moves to the outside and blocks Deidrick in so he can’t chase when Patrick makes a break for it (I only figure this out in hindsight). 20km in and 40km to lunch Patrick launches and makes a break for it. Joost stays where he is for a few minutes before chasing to help Patrick. James sees Patrick powering off and he chases. Alfred and Rein who don’t know what the plan is, also make a break for it to chase down James. These guys love this stuff. Terry also goes after them to help Patrick win. I ask Diedrick why he isn’t chasing and he responds with they won’t let me win so why would I help. I shouldn’t be shocked that he says such a thing but I think Diedrick is still holding a grudge from the day they crashed. It’s a farewell present to Patrick to which I get silence.
I spot the lunch truck five kilometres earlier than I thought it would be and learn that Patrick did indeed win the stage. I apologise to James that he was out strategised and James as always, takes it with such admirable dignity and with a good hearted response. I do hope he realises that these guys love to chase him down because he is such a dedicated, strong, passionate cyclist. The guy is an ultra marathon runner and is 63 years old. Truly inspirational James is. It also makes me smile that a 34 year old needs a whole support team to catch him on the bike.

Terry’ blog
In any event, we packed the fire engine and headed out of town at 9.15 am. There was huge bunch of riders at the start which is a pretty cool sight to see rolling along the flat roads of Argentina. As I was riding along Joost came up to me and said he wanted Patrick to win the stage. As an old professional cyclist I knew how to do the job and try and help out. I spoke to Rien and Patrick and decided that us 4 would work together and get Patrick the victory before he leaves the tour in 2 days time.
At the end of the ride I spoke to James and Elizabeth who were riding together and both wandering why the group was rolling along without any aggression for the first 20 kms. Both of them thought something was going on. How correct they were. Patrick attacked from the back of the bunch and Joost quickly followed. I sat back as it was my role to keep both James and Alfred in check and follow their moves.
James then jumped out of the bunch and I quickly got on his wheel. He chased really hard and there was no way I was going to come around him and give him a hand in the chase. Alfred the other danger man chased us down and Rien followed him. For the next 5 kms James and Alfred chased as hard as they could to pull Patrick and Joost back into the peleton. Eventually we all regrouped and then there was Patrick, Joost, Rien, myself (the people all working for Patrick) Alfred, Hartmud who was working for Alfred, and James.
With Patrick being protected from the wind and not having to work in the bunch, I decided to do what all cyclists hate and that was when James did a turn and to the back of the bunch I rode really slow as Joost, Rien and Patrick accelerated. This caused myself, James and Alfred to go backwards and be dropped. With James tiring, Alfred took off with me right on his wheel in the chase for the boys ahead. I told Alfred I couldn’t help him and that if he wanted to catch them he would have to do it on his own. James was now disappearing behind us.
After about 20 kms of chasing James came back to Alfred and myself and they both worked hard to peg them back all to no avail. With the fire engine in the distance I knew that we had done our job and Patrick won the stage. It was fantastic to see him with that huge smile on his face. He was grateful for all the work we did for him today but still he had to stick with Joost and Rien who are the 2 strongest guys of the tour.

Michelle from another day….
Our group is the second last to get in; I think it is about 4:30pm. I am very happy to get off the bike. I nearly burst into tears when I am greeted by Joost who says he had an easy day. Him and James raced all day and didn’t even stop for lunch

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