Damien Shaw looks back on what was his first ever pro victory and the days that followed in yellow.
He won the stage and with that took the jersey of the Tour du Loir et Cher last Wednesday. It was his first race of 2017 after a broken wrist whilst training back home put him back a few weeks. But he proved any doubters wrong with an assured display against some very strong teams.
"I still thought there was a chance to hold the jersey on Saturday, I was in a big group with guys who had stuff to ride for. But obviously they were too far ahead," he added of the break that slipped away late on.
"There was quality in that break and they were just waiting for their chance and they took it."
Shaw's team mates all rode themselves into the ground trying to bring things back for him.
So much so that Sean McKenna lost 20 minute and Conor Hennebry was outside the time limit.
The nearest team mate to Damien Shaw at the finish was almost eight minutes back. It was clear they had emptied themselves.
"They worked like dogs out there and they paid the price for it on Saturday, they did a great job, put me in great position at the start. And up until 110k it was all going Dandy. Then the last man dropped and I was on my own. They did absolutely everything they could and so did I."
Shaw felt that sinking feeling when the break containing stage and eventual winner Alexander Kamp got away. And they were not seen again before the finish.
"There were risks I had to take going into the stage; what to follow and who to follow. It's easy to be wise now but the legs were not responding at the time. It's a fair result and I can't deny that I'm not going uphill with a 65kg guys after riding for three days.
After the disappointment sunk in you have to look at what he has achieved.
"But look, you couldn't ask for any more... we won't get above our station here. We got a bonus the first day when I won. And we had our days in the sun and it's a great experience for the guys. It's easy for heads to drop if you take a beating every day. But it's a good reflection that we can ride on the front for two days. It shows our ability. I got a huge bonus on the first day, it couldn't have went any better. I tried my hardest the last few days and maybe more racing would have brought me on. But look... horses for courses. And those really steep climbs are just probably beyond my capabilities."
Thanks to Sticky Bottle for quotes.