By Michael Barry for Soigneur Journal 

As we neared the start area in the team bus, riders had started cutting holes in their jerseys and bib shorts. Outside the air-conditioned sanctuary, the Iberian countryside baked in the inhumane heat. For hundreds of kilometres, groves of olive trees lined the roadside and reached into the horizon. Benoit carved larger vents in his helmet with a paring knife he found in the bus kitchen, spotting his lap and the floor with flakes of Styrofoam. When he was done, we each took our turn; anything to provide some comfort during the five-hour stage. We were ten days into the race, the pace had been fierce, the heat hadn’t relented, fatigue was setting in from trying to control the peloton for our leader, Roberto Heras, and the season had worn us down.

Read the full reflection at Soigneur Journal.