As riders enjoy the sea breeze on their rest day some might be nervous if it blows tomorrow. It’s been a lively opening week to the race with the weather a dominant factor and despite both the Alps and the Pyrenees in the opening week there’s little to separate the main contenders.
The second day in the Pyrenees, today’s stage saves the best for last with the steep ascent of the Marie Blanque. The GC contenders have started to trade blows, today’s final climb is ideal for someone to go clear and stay away. If you plan to watch, note the finish is an hour earlier than usual so far.
The Pyrenees and short and intense stage with three climbs and a fast descent to the finish.
A likely sprint stage but watch out for the wind, the forecast says a breeze for the course but they’ll be stronger gusts not far away from the route so if things change just a touch it might be worth tuning in for the final 90 minutes rather than just the sprint at the end.
Stage 5 of the Tour de France from Gap to Privas was remarkable because nothing happened. The riders reached the KM0 point, race director Christian Prudhomme waved his flag but nobody attacked. It was down to some particular circumstances so some notes on this…
A summit finish and via the Col de la Lusette, one of the hardest climbs of this year’s Tour de France. Legend has it that even Bernard Hinault had to walk up. Today the question is more who’ll lose a few seconds on the climb because the risk seeing the race run away.
Socrate à Vélo by Guillaume Martin
Two unusual teams ride the Tour de France, one Greek and one German, made up of thinkers like Socrates, Nietzsche, Epictetus and Machiavelli. That’s the premise “Socrates on a Bike” but it’s also an autobiographical account from Guillaume Martin, 12th overall in the last Tour de France and with a masters degree in philosophy in his back pocket. It all makes for one of the most original cycling books going and one written by an active rider too, so much so that even if it’s in French it’s still worth exploring in an English-language blog.
A day for the sprinters, the profile shows an uphill finish but it’s a gentle rise into Privas. The trouble instead could come from the wind, watch out for le Mistral in the final 40km.
The first summit finish of the Tour de France and in a ski resort with its place in sporting history thanks to the stage in 1971 where Luis Ocaña got the better of Eddy Merckx for once, and by eight minutes. Only that day Ocaña did the damage long before he reached the final climb and today’s stage is likely to be a more controlled race. We’ll get some answers about form and injuries.
You probably know the 2021 Tour de France won’t start in Copenhagen any more, instead it’s been switched to Brest, on the western tip of Brittany. Behind this there’s been politicking as the city of Rennes was also a candidate but rejected the Tour, the new local government said non on environmental grounds and this is likely to be a trend in France, the race is going to change to meet new environmental demands.