Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Bye Bye UK, Bonjour France

After three pretty incredible days of racing in the UK, we hopped on a plane across the English Channel to begin racing in France. Stage three was relatively calm and easy compared to the first two stages. There were some narrow roads that made things a bit tricky during the first part of the stage, but they opened up in the last 40km to give a little more room for us in the finale. Unfortunately the rain came at about 30km to go and made things a little dicey. The roads felt incredibly slick and it was a miracle there weren't more crashes. Andy was involved in a crash due to spectators crowding the road and unfortunately it ended his Tour because he was unable to take the start today. He had a lot of swelling and damage to his knee and was barely able to pedal the bike. It's a real shame that we've lost him because he's always great to have around and he obviously will be missed on the road helping in the mountain stages. Other than Andy crashing, the rest of us stayed upright, but Frank lost valuable gc time with a late split in the field as we raced full speed into the finish. I'm not sure I've ever been in a final as fast as yesterday or today's. It's pretty incredible how fast these sprinter trains can go. So on the whole, yesterday's stage was kind of a bummer, although Danny did have a good finish in the final sprint, taking 6th.

The fourth stage today was about the same as yesterday's stage three: fairly calm and collected until the rain and final run in began. I'm quickly learning that even an "easy" day at the Tour is not easy. There is something about this race that makes it harder. I haven't put my finger on it yet, but I will hopefully find the answer by the end of the race. As for the team, Danny put up another solid result getting 8th, while Haimar and Frank remained in the field and stayed on the same time. For myself, I am taking the advice of some of my teammates and trying to avoid risks/crashes (especially in the first week) and save a little bit of energy and was content to sit up a bit in the last few kilometers. It's a long race and I have more important work to do in the coming weeks.

Tomorrow's stage is the well-hyped cobbled stage. It will be my first experience with real cobblestones and I'm obviously a bit anxious. I have no idea what to expect. I will fight my best to help the team, but I also know it isn't my job at this point. I will take the situation as it comes and I just hope to survive the day and maybe even enjoy the experience a little bit. I've seen that they are predicting rain showers all day, so that is definitely going to add a whole new element to it. I just really hope things can go safely and we can get through it without problems. Wish us luck!

9 comments:

Cindy said...

Good luck!

Debbie said...

Thanks, Matthew, for your diligence in updating your blog and "good luck" with those cobblestones!

Scott K said...

Wishing you luck over the cobbles and hoping Cancellara can drive the train for you guys. We will be watching for sure. Ride hard and safe!

Cianciola said...

Flip....Cobbles just like the potholes on the roads in Tosa!

Anonymous said...

good luck. it's just cobbles you can get through it.

Hillbilly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eric said...


Thanks for taking the time to post these blogs, I'm sure that you are exhausted at the end of the day. Your posts are appreciated! Sucks that Andy had to leave. You've got an amazing team still. Good luck tomorrow, living in Brevard, I'm sure you've put in some mountain bike miles in Pisgah, you'll be fine. As a bonus you've got Cancellara!
-Austin, Texas

Brandon said...

Your neighbors are pulling for you!
Wishing you all the best on the next few days!!!

-Brandon and Sara

Unknown said...

best of luck and know that we are all cheering for your successful completion of each stage. Looking for you on the TV each day, even during the post-race interviews as you pass by. daveR