Tour de France diary; Rest day. July 16th, 2018
Boy was I in need of that day off yesterday!
Like I said in yesterday´s blog, my day would consist of very, very, very little, so if it´s excitement you´re after in this post, you can stop reading now!
90 minutes of easy pedalling is what I did, followed by complete rest at the team hotel.
By easy, I mean VERY easy, just me and the guys and a few of the staff (who were badly in need of some saddle time after a stressful opening week!).
It was as much a physical break as a mental one and that involved having as little stress, noise and distractions as possible.
Racing the Tour is the ultimate test of your cycling ability and it tests you in every way but when I´m wound up, I like to take a step back and look at this life I´m living and say, it ain´t so bad.
Rest days give me that headspace and I tried not to think too much about the week ahead.
Of course, when you´re in the Tour bubble it´s hard to escape and I know a punishing day lies ahead today.
I´ve raced in the Alps before: last year´s Tour and the Dauphine just a few weeks ago.
They´re unforgiving and we know it´s likely Greg will lose the jersey today, so we´re prepared for that.
But saying that, having a GC rider brings a certain responsibility and it means no matter how easy or hard a day it is, you still have to be switched on.
Feeding, watering and keeping Greg out of the wind will be the goal.
Maybe a post-cycling career as a horticulturist is calling?
Today´s stage will be the first real mountain day of this year´s race and we´re going to see the first big GC battle.
We roll out of Annecy and if you´ve not been, you really should check it out. What an awesome spot with a beautiful lake and a wonderfully vibrant atmosphere. I can´t help but notice the mountains soaring skyward from every direction!
Today´s stage to Le Grand Bornard is 158.5k and with a total of 5 categorised climbs, and real climbs for the first time in this year´s race.
I´ve raced in the Alps last year at the Tour and the Dauphine a few weeks ago so I know what to expect.
They´re brutal, no doubt, and if you have a bad day you´re going to lose time.
The first and the smallest categorised climb will be a cat 4 (Col de Bluffy) with an average of 5.6% and a distance of 1.5km, so that will be fine if I can go deep for a few minutes.
The second one is a different story, though. It´s the cat 1 Col de la Croix Fry with an average of 7% and a distance of 11.3k followed by the biggest of the stage, cat HC (Plateau des Glières climb) with an average of 11.2% and a distance of 6k.
By that stage the race will be broken into pieces – though there are still two more climbs to go; the cat. 1 (Col de Romme) with an average of 8.9% and a distance of 8.8k and the fifth cat.1 ( Col de la Colombière) with an average of 8.5% and a distance of 7.5k.
Expect to see a major GC showdown here this afternoon.
Oh, and if that wasn´t hard enough, we´re going to ride a gravel road for the first time since 1991!
Time to get kitted up!