The first stage of the Dauphine didn’t provide as big of a bang as I was expecting, but there was plenty of suffering and some good excitement. The neutral, downhill start followed by 3km of racing downhill was the first excitement of the day. After those 3km, it was onto the first KOM of the day, where I expected things to get real crazy, but thankfully everyone was a little subdued today, so the break went away very easy. I guess everyone decided they would be civil today. During the stage, Haimar, who is our leader, provided a couple moments of excitement. He had two flat tires, the second coming on the second last descent, which normally might not be a big deal, but the peleton was going full gas because the breakaway was given too much leash today, so they were trying to limit the damage. Markel did his job by giving Haimar a wheel; then Thomas and Laurent help him get back in to the peleton, crisis averted. The final bit of excitement was hearing/seeing that my old teammate of Kelly Benefits (2009), David Veilleux, was the lone rider the peleton was not going to reel in today. I was happy to see him win.
I should also note that this is a small world! Some new friends of ours from Brevard, Art, Lydia, and their son Brady, are on vacation over here, and I was pleasantly surprised to see them at the start today. Evidently Art was born real close by, and he still has family here, so they’re over for a visit. It’s incredible how you can run into familiar faces on different continents!
We also got lucky today with an improvement in the weather. Let’s just hope it continues to improve! The second stage is much longer than today’s at 191km, and it has what could be a pretty difficult last 70km. There are 5 categorized climbs in those last 70km, not including numerous other rollers that are evident on the course profile in between the KOMs. I’m quickly learning that the saying on the front of our race book, “Du Pur Concentre De Montagne”, must be roughly translated to, “The Pure Concentration of Mountains”. I think it’s appropriate!